CHEAPishi Sunak said going to Stanford Business School in California changed his life. Stanford “teachs you to think bigger,” he told a venture capital podcast last year. Instead of a “more incremental mindset,” research at the heart of Silicon Valley encouraged him to adopt a “slightly larger, more dynamic approach to change,” said the former UK prime minister. .

While Stanford has clearly made his mark on him, it is unclear if Sunak will make much of a mark at Stanford, one of the highest rating business schools around the world. After receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to the US to study, he graduated from a two-year MBA program in 2006.

Stanford is a busy place, and dozens of professors and lecturers from that era told the Guardian they have no recollection of teaching the man vying to be the UK’s next prime minister.

These include teachers in some of the school’s signature courses: Irv Grousbeck, an expert in entrepreneurship; Andy Rachleff, who organizes innovation classes; Charles O’Reilly, who runs leadership courses; and Carole Robin, one of the teachers who teach interpersonal dynamics, a popular elective students called “touched”.

When he gave a presentation at a prestigious business school in London last year, Sunak, now 42 and an Oxford University alum, quote one of his “inspirational” Stanford professors, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer, and describes the impact of Romer’s lectures on innovation. Romer told the Guardian: “I have no recollection of ever coming into contact with him.

Jeffrey Pfeffer, who teaches a popular course called The Path to Strength, Posted on LinkedIn that Sunak was once among his students and he hopes they learn the lessons of power to “rise to positions where they can have the leverage to make a difference in the world.” .

When asked for any recollections of Sunak, Pfeffer said he “didn’t have the bandwidth to answer this question” as he prepared to travel.

Another professor, James Van Horne, initially said he hadn’t taught Sunak but later found records of him signing up for one of his corporate finance classes. Van Horne wrote: “He was a good student and well engaged, but I don’t have many recollections.

Robert Joss, the dean of the business school at the time, said he barely remembers Sunak but vaguely recalls a “very bright and very good student”. Joss, who retired in 2009, said: “My impression of all of our students is that they are great.

With about 400 students in each class graduating from business school, it’s impossible to get to know everyone in depth, and as a manager, “you remember struggling students or students won the grand prize”.

Sunak was not on the list of students in his 2006 MBA class award upon graduation for being among top 10% academically, to serve the university, or to contribute to the school’s social culture and sense of well-being. Dozens of his classmates did not respond to requests to share memories, or declined to comment.

Sign up for First Edition, our free daily newsletter – every weekday morning at 7am BST

Joss said he had a deeper memory of another MBA student in Sunak year: Akshata Murty, his future wife, whom he recalls as “very bright, very intelligent”. The dean knows her parents because NR Narayana Murthy, her father and billionaire founder of Infosys, is a member of the Stanford business school’s advisory board.

His Stanford classmates met and got married, Joss said, a trend he clearly saw in the alumni magazine.

Four years after Murty and Sunak married in Bengaluru in 2009, they made a “generous” donation to Stanford’s business school to fund fellowship in social innovation. A university spokesperson declined to comment on the amount of the donation.

The couple also gave $3 million to Claremont McKenna, a small private liberal arts college outside Los Angeles, where Murty majored in economics and French. She was a member of Claremont McKenna’s board since 2011.

Their 2018 donation funded the school’s Murty Sunak Quantitative and Computing Laboratory. The couple said the gift was partly inspired by a favorite motto of Father Murty: “We trust in God. And everyone else has to bring the data to the table. “