Marge Magner invests herself in the future
Hard to imagine now, but Marge Magner — one of the most powerful women in business and one of the Krannert School of Management’s most celebrated graduates — almost drove her already-packed vehicle and left school on her first day of classes.
Now, 40 years down the road, Magner (MSIA ’74, HDR ’04) says her decision to stay at Krannert and endure its academic rigors was the best decision of her career.
And what a career it’s been: She is a founding member and partner of Brysam Global Partners, a specialized private equity firm that invests in financial services with a focus on consumer opportunities. She was named to the Fortune magazine list of Most Powerful Women in Business from 2001 to 2004, the Forbes magazine list of the World's Most Powerful Women (#19), and U.S. Banker's list of the Most Powerful Women in Banking (#1). And those are just the headlines. The list of her accomplishments continues to grow.
As grueling and hard as the Krannert curriculum was, Magner says her education and experience at Purdue helped shape her ascent in the business world at a time when women had a harder time rising through ranks.
“I believe strongly in public education from grade school on, including my time at Krannert,” she says. "The strength of this country has a lot to do with accessible high-quality education, and it has served me well in my career.”
Today, Magner is on a mission to change the world. Giving back to Krannert is one way she’s accomplishing it.
Bearing witness to the progress made and the progress needed, Magner takes every opportunity to mentor women students to encourage them in their education and career plans. To further ensure that women will have a seat at the table in corporate leadership positions, now and in the future, she has funded an endowed chair — the Magner Professorship in Management — focusing on women’s success in business, gender diversity, and inclusion for underrepresented populations.
The chair is yet to be filled, but the impact of her gift is already being felt. Magner has authorized the revenue accumulated and future earnings from her endowment to support the research efforts of Alok Chaturvedi, professor of management and director of the Institute for Social Empowerment Through Entrepreneurship and Knowledge (iSeek).
“Marge Magner’s gift has been instrumental in allowing us to launch an initiative aimed at teaching entrepreneurship skills to girls and young women, helping lift them out of poverty,” says Krannert Dean David Hummels. “The project meshes perfectly with Marge’s longstanding advocacy for women and youth. She serves as a role model for all of our students in mixing a highly successful business career with her commitment to humanity.”
For Magner, who received the Krannert Business Leadership Award, the highest honor the school can bestow, and the President’s Council Distinguished Pinnacle Award in October 2015, the mission continues.
“I believe it is important for people who have enjoyed success and achievement to give back and think about who’s coming next," she says. "How do we help them? This has been a cornerstone of my life all along and throughout my career, and it still is.”