Graduate ceremony commencement speaker: Nikesh Arora
Doctor of Commerce
Nikesh Arora, senior vice president and chief business officer at Google, is a business leader who brings a rare combination of intellectual depth, marketing savvy, and a visionary’s understanding of the possibilities inherent in technology.
As Google’s chief business officer, Arora is in charge of all revenue and customer operations, as well as marketing and partnerships, and is one of the six executive officers who guide the technology giant’s operations.
Since joining the company in 2004, the man that one business publication referred to as Google’s “persuader-in-chief” has had an outsized impact on Google’s success in global markets.
In addition to his current position, Arora has led Google’s global direct sales operations and developed and managed the company’s operations in the European, Middle Eastern, and African markets. He is widely credited with driving revenues and building Google’s relations with advertisers from international markets.
Nearly all of Google’s revenue derives from advertising, and today more than half of that revenue comes from outside the U.S., compared to just one-third when Arora joined the company.
Google’s success in those new markets reflects the company’s strength in understanding and adapting to change by introducing new features and products, and Arora’s knowledge, experience, and vision is considered integral to the company’s innovation-based culture.
He holds an MBA from Northeastern University and a Master of Science in Finance from Boston College—both awarded with distinction—as well as a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Institute of Technology in Varanasi, India.
He has broad experience working in several different industries. He served as chief marketing officer and a member of the management board at T-Mobile Europe, spearheading all product development, terminals, and marketing activities for the telecommunications firm. Arora is also a chartered financial analyst, and has held management positions at Putnam Investments and Fidelity Investments in Boston.
Perhaps most important, he brings a vision of the Internet’s limitless horizons to his leadership. In a 2011 interview with Northeastern Magazine, he described the Internet as a revolutionary medium that is causing “a fundamental shift in the business world that’s still playing out”—particularly in the realm of marketing and advertising.
As Arora noted in an interview last year with India’s daily newspaper Business Standard, Internet connectivity globally has moved from “nice-to-have” to “must-have” in five years, with a key generation yet to come of age: the generation that does not know a world without Google or Facebook.