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  • <p><strong>Doug McMillon</strong><br />
<em>CEO of Walmart International</em><br />
Unloaded boxes in a Walmart warehouse</p>
  • <p><strong>Clarence Otis</strong><br />
<em>CEO of Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster)</em><br />
Associate at a corporate law firm</p>
  • <p><strong>Dave Morin</strong><br />
<em>Cofounder of Path</em><br />
Worked in student marketing at Apple</p>
  • <p><strong>Arianna Huffington</strong><br />
<em>Editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post</em><br />
Writer, published <em>The Female Woman</em> at 23</p>
  • <p><strong>Tina Fey</strong><br />
<em>Actress, writer, producer</em><br />
Answered phones at a suburban YMCA</p>
  • <p><strong>Terry Lundgren</strong><br />
<em>CEO of Macy’s</em><br />
Assistant restaurant manager</p>
  • <p><strong>Martha Stewart</strong><br />
<em>Founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia</em><br />
$50/hour model for Chanel, others</p>
  • <p><strong>Liu Chuanzhi</strong><br />
<em>Cofounder of Lenovo</em><br />
Laborer in the rice fields during Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution</p>
  • <p><strong>James Sinegal</strong><br />
<em>Cofounder of Costco</em><br />
Bagger at FedMart, Price Club’s predecessor</p>
  • <p><strong>Oprah Winfrey</strong><br />
<em>Chairwoman of OWN</em><br />
The youngest and first black anchor at Nashville’s WTVF-TV</p>
  • <p><strong>Barry Salzberg</strong><br />
<em>CEO of Deloitte</em><br />
Payroll clerk at the New York Board of Education</p>
  • <p><strong>James Cameron</strong><br />
<em>Filmmaker</em><br />
Truck driver</p>
  • <p><strong>Marissa Mayer</strong><br />
<em>CEO of Yahoo</em><br />
Google employee No. 20, a computer engineer</p>
  • 01 /13

    Doug McMillon
    CEO of Walmart International
    Unloaded boxes in a Walmart warehouse

  • 02 /13

    Clarence Otis
    CEO of Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster)
    Associate at a corporate law firm

  • 03 /13

    Dave Morin
    Cofounder of Path
    Worked in student marketing at Apple

  • 04 /13

    Arianna Huffington
    Editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post
    Writer, published The Female Woman at 23

  • 05 /13

    Tina Fey
    Actress, writer, producer
    Answered phones at a suburban YMCA

  • 06 /13

    Terry Lundgren
    CEO of Macy’s
    Assistant restaurant manager

  • 07 /13

    Martha Stewart
    Founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
    $50/hour model for Chanel, others

  • 08 /13

    Liu Chuanzhi
    Cofounder of Lenovo
    Laborer in the rice fields during Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution

  • 09 /13

    James Sinegal
    Cofounder of Costco
    Bagger at FedMart, Price Club’s predecessor

  • 10 /13

    Oprah Winfrey
    Chairwoman of OWN
    The youngest and first black anchor at Nashville’s WTVF-TV

  • 11 /13

    Barry Salzberg
    CEO of Deloitte
    Payroll clerk at the New York Board of Education

  • 12 /13

    James Cameron
    Filmmaker
    Truck driver

  • 13 /13

    Marissa Mayer
    CEO of Yahoo
    Google employee No. 20, a computer engineer

This year’s college graduating class will be greeted by something its older peers weren’t: a (somewhat) welcoming economy! Employers expect to hire 13% more people from this class than they did from the class of ’12, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. But there’s no need to be overly picky about your first job. As today’s class of business leaders prove, you can start from anywhere.

[Illustration by Am I Collective]

A version of this article appeared in the June 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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