Where Top CEOs Went to Business School

Jamie Dimon

Harvard Business School Again Leads The CEO Race

How influential is a college degree in landing the top job in a major corporation?

It’s a hard question to answer because more often than not it’s the person–not the school–that is responsible for professional success. The best schools, of course, often draw the more ambitious and driven people who are more likely to climb to the top.

So it’s no surprise that Harvard Business School again leads the pack when it comes to Fortune 100 chief executives. Just look at their graduate roster over the years: Michael Bloomberg, Jamie Dimon, Sheryl Sandberg, Salman Khan, Henry Paulson, Mitt Romney, and Jeffrey Immelt. And let’s not forget George W. Bush, Jeffrey Skilling, and Rajat Gupta, too. Talk about a Who’s Who from the business and political headlines!

In 2014, eight CEOs from the Fortune 100 elite earned their MBAs at Harvard Business School. Aside from GE’s Immelt and J.P. Morgan Chase’s Dimon, Harvard MBAs-Turned-CEOs include Boeing’s W. James McNerney Jr., MetLife’s Steve Kandarian, Freddie Mac’s Donald Layton, and the Hess Corporation’s John Hess.

Wharton finished second to Harvard with four CEOs on the list, including Johnson & Johnson’s Alex Gorsky, Sysco’s William DeLaney, General Dynamics’ Phebe Novakovic, and MassMutual’s Roger Crandall. The University of Chicago (Booth), Northwestern University (Kellogg), and the University of Minnesota (Carlson) each boast two CEOs on the list.

Some 18 other MBA programs, several of them at unranked business schools, count one Fortune 100 CEO among their alumni. That goes to show that you don’t have to go to a big brand school to make it big, although let’s not kid ourselves, it probably helps to have your ticket punched by the likes of a top 10 or top 20 school.

Overall, 36 CEOs in the Fortune 100 earned MBAs. Harvard also headed the list of undergrad programs with alumni heading Fortune 100 companies. According to Fortune, engineering, business administration, and accounting degrees were the most popular undergraduate majors for CEOs. Among Fortune 100 CEOs with advanced degrees, MBAs were the most popular degree, beating out J.D.s by a margin of 57 percent to 20 percent.

To see the business schools with Fortune 100 CEO alumni, check out the table below.

SchoolFortune 100 CEO MBA recipientsU.S. News Business School Rank
Harvard Business School81
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)41
Northwestern (Kellogg)26
University of Chicago (Booth)24
University of Minnesota (Carlson)233
Brigham Young (Marriott)127
Columbia University18
Cornell University (Johnson)117
Duke University (Fuqua)114
Indiana University (Kelley)121
New York University (Stern)110
Our Lady of the Lake (TX)1N/A
Southern Methodist University (Cox)155
Stanford University11
University of Dayton1Unranked*
University of Hartford (Barney)1Unranked
University of San Diego)1Unranked
University of Tulsa (Collins)196
University of Virginia (Darden)111
University of Houston (Bauer)192
University of Utah (Ecceles)163
Washington University (Olin)122
Xavier University (Williams)1Unranked

Source: U.S. News and World Report

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Source: U.S. News and World Report