Want To Be a CEO? Go To A State University


This is very interesting.

Most CEOs of the biggest corporations didn't attend Ivy League or other highly selective colleges. They went to state universities, big and small, or to less-known private colleges….

…Some 10% of CEOs currently heading the top 500 companies received undergraduate degrees from Ivy League colleges, according to a survey by executive recruiter Spencer Stuart. But more received their undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin than from Harvard, the most represented Ivy school.

So that MBA I did at the University of Kentucky wasn't a waste after all? Actually, I initially planned to go to Rose-Hulman, a top tier engineering school, but I only got a partial scholarship and my dad made the point that if I wanted a job in the state of Kentucky, UK was just as good as Harvard. He's right. All I have to do is talk about the two national basketball titles they won while I was there and alumni act like I'm their best friend. Weird.

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Thanks to JLP for bringing the article to my attention.

  • And to think I wasted four years and countless hours at MIT…dang! Maybe I should talk up those tiddlywink national championships more in interviews!!

  • That doesn’t surprise me, the most inventive people in the world are also the people who NEED to be inventive. Ivy leage colleges are only for the kids of already rich and inventive people. That doesn’t mean their kids will have the sam elife experiance.

  • Rob

    I had a grad school professor who framed my view pretty well. He said that the best students at UK (or wherever) were just as good as the best students at Harvard or Yale or anywhere else. The difference is in the average student. A standout at UK is average at Harvard. Does it matter? Some. It certainly helps to get a better education, and no one should be discouraged from going to a more challenging school.

    The point is that an ivy league education isn’t necessary to be successful. But it does help. And an ivy league degree doesn’t guarantee success if you are still a lazy bum.

    I’ve been rejected by McKinsey twice, and I’m sure it would have at least gotten me an interview if I could put Wharton on the application.