Posted by: Louis Lavelle on January 4, 2011
U.S. News and World Report recently studied the educational credentials of Fortune 500 CEOs and concluded that (1) Ivy League schools produce a disproportionate share, (2) big state schools aren’t too shabby either, and (3) just three schools—Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania—account for nearly 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees among the corporate bigwigs.
It should probably come as no surprise by now that an MBA is definitely not a prerequisite for a corner office job. Of the 500 CEOs in the U.S. News study only 174 have MBAs. What’s more fascinating is that nearly 200 have no graduate degrees and 19 have no college degree at all.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison lived up to its reputation as a school that churns out CEOs by the dozen. With 17 degrees among the Fortune 500 CEOs, it came out ahead of Dartmouth, Stanford, Northwestern and a host of other top schools.
A lot of ink has been spilled on the educational credentials of top CEOs, including some of Bloomberg Businessweek’s own. But I’m left wondering if the alma maters of CEOs have anything to do with their success in the business realm. If schools do matter, I also wonder to what extent academics set young men and women on a path to the C-suite, and to what extent it’s the raw intelligence they had from the get-go or the connections they made hobnobbing with similarly brilliant people. I also don’t know what to make of the fact that the list of colleges claiming members of Congress as alumni bears little resemblance to the CEO list. Thoughts?