Data shows that going to an Ivy League school is no longer a requirement for Fortune 100 CEOs


There’s a common belief that where you go to college or university will define you and put you on a better path toward success than others. That thinking usually pertains to Ivy League schools, as many feel that America’s most successful and wealthy all attended Harvard or Princeton in their undergraduate studies.

However, that’s not the case at all as many of America’s most powerful CEOs obtained their undergraduate degrees from schools, not with the prestigious Ivy League branding.

Research conducted by Forbes took a look at the Fortune 100 CEOs to find trends on their education history using data from last year. The study’s author, Kimberly A. Whitler, found an interesting pattern that might shock some: Most of the F100 CEOs didn’t attend Ivy League schools.

Eighty-nine percent of Fortune 100 CEOs graduated from non-Ivy League schools, according to research, with just 11% actually attending prestigious Ivy League schools. Forty-seven percent of those graduated from state schools, while the rest (53%) graduates from private institutes.

Where the CEOs of the top Fortune 100 companies went to school

Of the top 10 Fortune 100 companies, only one CEO — Amazon’s Jeff Bezos — attended an Ivy League school. Bezos graduated from Princeton University in 1988.

The rest went to schools like the University of Minnesota, Illinois State University, University of Central Oklahoma, and others.

1. Doug McMillion, CEO of Walmart (University of Arkansas)
2. Darren Woods, CEO of Exxon Mobil (Texas A&M University)
3. Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (University of Nebraska Lincoln)
4. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple (Auburn University)
5. David Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth Group (Illinois State University)
6. John Hammergreen, CEO of McKesson (University of Minnesota)
7. Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS Health (University of Pittsburg)
8. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon (Princeton University)
9. Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T (University of Central Oklahoma)
10. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors (Kettering University)

The top schools for becoming the world’s next successful entrepreneur

Thinking of running a company from the ground-up? You might want to look at Stanford University for your undergraduate degree.

PitchBook released its latest rankings for university programs that produce the most entrepreneurs who eventually go on to garner venture funding. The basis for their rankings stems from using data received during the first round of venture funding between 2006 and 2019.

Stanford University ranked No. 1 due to the success of Snap Inc., also known as Snapchat, which was founded by Evan Spiegal and Bobby Murphy. Other start-up successes include food-delivery app DoorDash, Opendoor, and personal finance app Robinhood.

The next schools were the University of California, Berkely, MIT, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

All eight Ivy Leagues schools ranked within the top 25, according to the rankings.

1. Stanford University
2. University of California, Berkeley
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
4. Harvard University
5. University of Pennsylvania
6. Cornell University
7. University of Michigan
8. Tel Aviv University
9. University of Texas
10. University of Illinois
11. Yale University
12. UCLA
13. Princeton University
14. Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
15. University of Wisconsin
16. Columbia University
17. Brown University
18. USC
19. Carnegie Mellon University
20. Duke University
21. University of Waterloo
T22. NYU
T22. University of Washington
T22. BYU
25. Dartmouth College
26. University of California, San Diego
27. University of Colorado
28. University of Virginia
29. McGill University
30. University of Maryland
31. Northwestern University
32. University of Toronto
33. Penn State
34. Hebrew University
35. Boston University
36. Georgia Tech
37. Purdue University
38. Georgetown University
39. University of North Carolina
40. University of California, Santa Barbara
41. Indiana University
42. University of Massachusetts
43. State University of New York (SUNY)
44. Tufts University
45. University of California, Davis
46. Trinity College
47. University of Minnesota
48. University of Florida
49. Ben Gurion University
50. Ohio State University