The most recent issue of Bloomberg Businessweek (that’s just
awkward) lists the top 10 undergraduate schools in terms of how many of their
graduates now lead S&P 500 companies.
To be clear, “lead” means that the graduate is the CEO.
First off, let me
point out that my alma mater – Indiana University – is on the list. Lest you think this post is merely an
advertisement for that fact, there are a couple of other things that jumped out
at me. One is that a school that shares
the #1 spot is not a school at all.
Fully twelve CEOs did not earn an undergraduate degree. Of course, that is only 2.4% of the entrants,
so I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions if you’re a senior in high school.
The more important takeaway, though, is the fact that 6 of
the top 9 CEO-producing schools are public institutions. It probably wouldn’t surprise too many people
to see the Ivy League represented on this list in the form of three schools,
but it’s nice to see the Big Ten match that number. Nicer, though, is the fact that state schools
are accessible to a much broader number of students than are Ivy League and
other private schools. Those schools
tend to be much more expensive, and in many cases admissions standards are much
more difficult. The latter point is a
double-edged sword. There is no doubt
that the public institutions on this list are among the elite public schools
nationwide, but they accept many more students than do schools like Harvard,
Dartmouth and Princeton, especially residents of their respective states. To a greater degree, I suspect, what you get
out of your education is largely a function of what you put in at a public
school. Nonetheless, it’s clear that most
of the members of this list got a lot out of their undergrad experience.
Of course, not everybody wants to work in the corporate
world, and not everybody wants to rise to the top of it. However, I think this list illustrates the
fact that it does not require an Ivy League education to get to the top of one’s
1. University of California (12 CEOs)
2. School of Hard
Knocks (12 CEOs)
3. Harvard College (11 CEOs)
4. University of Missouri (11 CEOs)
5. University of Texas (11 CEOs)
6. University of Wisconsin (11 CEOs)
7. Dartmouth College (10 CEOs)
8. Princeton (9 CEOs)
9. Indiana University (8 CEOs)
10. Purdue University (8 CEOs)