These Schools Have Produced The Most ‘Unicorn’ Executives

It doesn’t technically take a college degree to create a unicorn company. But it doesn’t hurt. U.K.-based SJD Accountancy decided to track which unicorns — privately held companies valued at $1 billion or more — have the most executives from universities and business schools around the world.

Not surprisingly, considering California’s Silicon Valley is often considered the startup and unicorn epicenter, the top two schools with executives currently working at unicorn companies are both based in or nearby the land of startups. Stanford University, which resides smack-dab in Silicon Valley tops the list with 170 graduates that are currently executives at unicorn companies. The University of California-Berkeley follows with 114 executives at unicorn companies.

A slew of Boston-based schools round out the top five. Harvard University has 102 executives at unicorn companies. Interestingly, SJD Accountancy decided to separate business schools within universities on the list. For example, Harvard Business School follows Harvard University with 72 executives at unicorn companies, bringing Harvard’s total to 174 executives. Massachusetts Institute of Technology follows HBS with 63 executives. Three business schools made the top-21 of SJD Accountancy’s list. Following HBS in the business school standings is The Wharton School with 60 executives and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford with 55 executives. Wharton actually has more executives than the rest of the University of Pennsylvania, which has 25.

According to CBInsights and Crunchbase's Unicorn List, there are more than 700 unicorns in the world right now. SJD Accountancy used The Crunchbase Unicorn List to identify the unicorn companies for its study. Of those, SJD Accountancy says it analyzed executives at 550 companies. The researchers defined executives as anyone listed as a CEO, Founder, Director, Board Member, and any C-Level position.

U.S.-based universities that were mainly private and in the Ivy League dominated the list. All but three of the top-21 schools listed by SJD Accountancy are based in the U.S. And of those, all but four — University of California, University of Illinois, University of Washington, and California State University — are private schools. California has a large representation on the list with Stanford, University of California, University of Southern California, and California State University all making the list.

The first international school to show up on the list is Tel Aviv University, which is followed by fellow Israel-based university, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and then the University of Oxford.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of executives come from the U.S. Following the U.S.'s 2,757 executives making the list is the U.K. with 217 executives. China follows with 161. India (154) and Germany (88) round out the top five.

To read the entire report, go here.


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