Indra K. Nooyi is a successful businesswoman and is the first female CEO of PepsiCo. Nooyi earned her undergraduate degree in physics, chemistry, and math at Madras Christian College and her M.B.A. at the Indian Institute of Management at Calcutta. After working at a British textile company and working as brand manager at Johnson & Johnson in Bombay, Nooyi moved to the United States to further her education. She continued her studies at Yale’s Graduate School of Management, and then joined Asea Brown Boveri Inc. as head of strategy. At PepsiCo, Nooyi worked as chief dealmaker and successfully executed some of the most important deals in corporate history for the company. She worked her way up and, in 2001, she earned the title of President. This made her the highest ranking Indian woman in all of corporate America. She was later appointed as CEO in 2006 and recently stepped down after 12 years in this role.
Nooyi was born into a conservative, middle class family in India in 1955. She grew up breaking all of the norms at a time when India was still conservative in regards to the behavior of women. Her mother, who did not attend college, instilled in Nooyi that she could do anything she wanted. During her free time, she has been committed to giving back. Her big advice for college students is to go into STEM. She says, “… your scientific disciplines play a very important role, and grounds you very well as you move into positions of higher and higher authority, whatever the job is. It’s very hard to learn science later on in life. One of the pleas I would have for most young people today is, stay with STEM as long as you can.”