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PepsiCo CEO Rallies Entrepreneurs

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

Oct 14, 2015


Indra NooyiBig companies need more of the entrepreneurial spirit that pervades the University of Maryland, PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi said March 25, 2015, during a CEO @ Smith keynote address in College Park, Md.

“People often think that entrepreneurship is about the little guy, the garage tinkerer  — David going out to battle against Goliath,” Nooyi told a packed auditorium of about 400 faculty, staff and students. “I say ‘no.’ I think that view of entrepreneurship is incomplete.” She shared three traits that set entrepreneurs apart, whether they work for small startups or Fortune 50 companies such as PepsiCo.

Vision: “Entrepreneurs don’t start out with a line of code or a prototype,” Nooyi said. “They start out with a vision.”

Courage: Entrepreneurs need courage because they invariably run into resistance when they try to implement their visions. “If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to be bold,” Nooyi said. “You’ve got to have the courage of your convictions, and you’ve got to stay focused on the bigger picture.”

Passion for diversity: Nooyi said entrepreneurs also must learn to work within diverse communities, where collaborators can consider problems from multiple angles and discover insights that otherwise would be lost. “Greatness is not an individual pursuit,” she said. /DJ/