The college degree of the top-earning CEO in every state

We compiled a list of the highest-paid chief executive officers in each state and dug into each of their biographies to learn about their educational background – what they studied and where.

Shutterstock

With the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates dropping out of school to start companies, some people have questioned whether a college education is necessary to rise to the top of the business world. But such iconic leaders are the exception, not the rule.

The vast majority of CEOs in the United States have a bachelor’s degree. In fact, as we discovered, the highest paid chief executives in every state have college degrees — and 67% of them have graduate degrees, too.

How do we know this? Based on data from 2017, we compiled a list of the highest-paid chief executive officers in each state and dug into each of their biographies to learn about their educational background – what they studied and where.


Follow Ladders on Flipboard!

Follow Ladders’ magazines on Flipboard covering Happiness, Productivity, Job Satisfaction, Neuroscience, and more!


We then broke their undergraduate degrees down into six categories that you might find at any college across the country: engineering, economics, arts and humanities, sciences, social sciences, and business and finance.

Now, while you may think that most of the CEOs received their bachelor’s degrees from Ivy League schools, we found that only six did, with three having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.

What’s more, fewer than half (21) went to private schools; 26 CEOs attended public colleges and four attended higher institutions in other countries.

The CEOs’ areas of study range from accounting to religion, but most majored in business (37%) or engineering (22%). The leaders with engineering degrees tend to run energy, medical device, transportation and other companies whose focus require the discipline.

We also found that 12% of the CEOs majored in economics, which, of course, is closely related to business. Another 12% studied social sciences – two-thirds of whom chose political science – and 9% earned a degree in the arts and humanities. Just 2% of the top-earning CEOs studied the natural sciences. Of the chief executives who possess graduate degrees, 74% received a master’s in business administration and 16% earned law degrees.

In short, it seems that the most common path to the peak of business is, not surprisingly, a business degree (or two). It’s certainly not the only route, though. So for those philosophy students with aspirations to run a company and make millions, there’s hope for you yet!

 

The college degree of the top earning CEO in every US state, courtesy of Resume.io


You might also enjoy…

 

Sources

Salisbury, I. (2018) This Map Shows the Highest Paid CEO In Every State. time.com
The Associated Press. (2018) The highest-paid CEOs by state. financialpost.com
Southern Company. (2018) Meet Tom, CEO of Southern Company. southerncompany.com
GCI. (2018) GCI Executive Team. gci.com
Salary.com. (2017) Compensation by Company. salary.com
Walmart. (2018) Doug McMillon – President and CEO of Walmart. corporate.walmart.com
Freeport-McMoRan. (2018) Corporate Governance – Executive Officers. fcx.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Michael Rapino. bloomberg.com
Qurate Retail Inc. (2018) Qurate Retail Inc Corporate Governance – Management. qurateretail.com
Bryant, A. (2011) Sure, Take Me On. You Might Get a Promotion. nytimes.com
Priceline Group. (2018) Priceline Investor Relations – Management Team. pricelinegroup.com
Danaher. (2018) Danaher Executive Officers. danaher.com
Incyte. (2018) Our Leadership. incyte.com
IU News Room. (2010) New survey of CEOs’ alma maters highlights role of IU in producing corporate leaders. newsinfo.iu.edu
Hix, C. (2001) Roper Industries, Inc. Names New Chief Executive Officer, Expects Q4 Revenue. impeller.net
Bloomberg. (2018) Ronald Clarke. bloomberg.com
HEI. (2018) Executive Management. hei.com
Principal. (2018) Leadership – Senior Management Bios . principal.com
Idacorp. (2018) Leadership. idacorpinc.com
Mondelez International. (2018) Our Management Team.mondelezinternational.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Company Overview of Mondelez International. bloomberg.com
Anthem. (2018) About Anthem, Inc. antheminc.com
Moon, J. (2015) UNC Charlotte ranks high among universities that produce Fortune 500 CEOs. inside.uncc.edu
Bloomberg. (2018) Thomas Gentile. bloomberg.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Company Overview of Humana Inc. bloomberg.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Glen F. Post III. bloomberg.com
Sarepta Therapeutics. (2018) Senior Leadership. sarepta.com
Boardroom Insiders. (2017) Douglas S. Ingram. boardroominsiders.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Company Overview of Discovery, Inc. bloomberg.com
Wex. (2018) WEX Executive Team – Our Leadership. wexinc.com
General Motors. (2018) Leadership. gm.com
Ameriprise Financial. (2018) Corporate Leadership -James M. Cracchiolo. ameriprise.com
World Economic Forum. (2018) People – Michael F. Neidorff. weforum.org
Southeastern Louisiana University. (2015) MBA Lecture Series. southeastern.edu
First Interstate Bank. (2015) Meet Kevin Riley. firstinterstatebank.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Kevin Riley. bloomberg.com
LendingTree. (2018) Meet the leadership.lendingtree.com
Bucknell University. (2009) LendingTree Founder Doug Lebda ‘92. bucknell.edu
Bloomberg. (2018) David Goodin. bloomberg.com
Union Pacific. (2018) Executive Profiles. up.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Lance Fritz. bloomberg.com
Build America Mutual. (2018) Board of Directors. buildamerica.com
Johnson & Johnson. (2018) Our Leadership Team – Alex Gorsky. jnj.com
LinkedIn. (2018) Alex Gorsky. linkedin.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Patricia Vincent-Collawn. bloomberg.com
Forbes. (2018) Profile – Steve Wynn. forbes.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Frank Bisignano. bloomberg.com
Bloomberg. (2018) W. Nicholas Howley. bloomberg.com
Chesapeake Energy. (2018) Management Team – Robert D. Lawler. chk.com
Wilmoth, A. (2013) Doug Lawler talks about his new job as the second CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp. newsok.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Mark G. Parker. bloomberg.com
Comcast. (2018) Leadership – Brian. L Roberts. corporate.comcast.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Company Overview of Comcast Corporation. bloomberg.com
Textron. (2018) Executive Profile – Scott C. Donnelly.investor.textron.com
Schrum, R. (2012) M. Jack Sanders to Become Chief Executive Officer of Sonoco. investor.sonoco.com
Bloomberg. (2018) J. Tyler Haahr. bloomberg.com
Meta Financial Group. (2018) Biography – J. Tyler Haahr. metafinancialgroup.com
Discovery. (2018) Leadership – Kenneth W. Lowe.corporate.discovery.com
AT&T Communications. (2018) Corporate Governance – Leadership. investors.att.com
Varex Imaging. (2018) Our Leadership Team.vareximaging.com
Casella. (2018) About Casella – Leadership. casella.com
Forbes. (2018) Profile – Phebe Novakovic. forbes.com
Hobbes, M. (2015) Outstanding Alumnae Named 2016 Smith Medalists. smith.edu
Expedia Group. (2018) Mark Okerstrom. expediagroup.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Mark Okerstrom. bloomberg.com
United Bank. (2018) Executive Leadership. bankwithunited.com
Heath, T. (2016) United Bankshares’ expansion built on CEO’s ‘let’s make a deal’ approach. washingtonpost.com
Exact Sciences. (2018) Kevin Conroy.exactsciences.com
Bloomberg. (2018) Kevin Conroy. bloomberg.com
Cloud Peak Energy. (2018) Colin Marshall. cloudpeakenergy.com