Where do the top CEOs go to university?

Universities in the US and the UK appear to be the most successful at producing FTSE 100 and Fortune 100 CEOs, according to new analysis

March 19 2018
Businessman climbing stairs

If you harbour ambitions to be a CEO at a FTSE 100 or Fortune 100 company, then heading to Harvard University would probably be your best bet.

According to data collected by The UK Domain, Harvard University produced six of the top CEOs in the US and the UK using the FTSE 100 and the Fortune 100 as the dataset.

The University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford were the highest-ranked UK universities, having produced five CEOs each.

Nine of the CEOs had also studied at Harvard Business School, making it the most successful business school at producing top CEOs. 

The Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania came in second, with six graduates, followed by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, with five chief executives.

The most popular degree choice for the top CEOs was economics, with 28 having chosen to study this social science. The second most popular subject was business administration, with 21 of the CEOs having studied this. Other popular subjects were accounting (eight), business (seven), electrical engineering (seven), engineering (seven), law (seven), finance (six), mathematics (six), chemistry (four) and history (four). 

Which universities produce the most top CEOs?

University Number of graduates
Harvard University 6
University of Cambridge 5
University of Oxford 5
Cornell University 4
Texas A&M University 4
Imperial College London 3
University of Michigan 3

Which business schools produce the most top CEOs?

Business School Number of graduates
Harvard Business School 9
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania 6
Kellogg School of Management 5
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Booth School of Business, University of Chicago 
Columbia Business School
HEC Paris 
London Business School 
Rotterdam Business School 

What are the most popular degrees?

Degree Number of graduates
Economics 28
Business administration 21
Accounting 8
Business 7
Electrical engineering 7
Engineering 7
Law 7
Finance 6
Mathematics 6
Chemistry 4
History 4

The main source for each CEO’s degree and alma mater was their biography page on Bloomberg. This information was correct at the time of data collection in January 2018.  

Read more: US universities are the most likely to produce millionaires


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