Which Colleges and Universities Have the Most Alumni Who Are CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies?

Which Colleges and Universities Have the Most Alumni Who Are CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies?

Which colleges and universities have the most alumni who are now CEOs of Fortune 500 companies? Our research team dug into the data to find the answers.

What is a Fortune 500 company? The list of Fortune 500 companies is compiled by Fortune magazine every year and recognizes the 500 largest companies in the U.S. The Fortune 500 list is determined by the annual revenue each company earned during the fiscal year and includes public as well as private companies. The 500 CEOs of these U.S. companies have had much success and are now worth millions, and in some cases, they are even worth billions and are among the richest people in the world. But we are not here to talk about their vast wealth: We are thinking about where these successful business men and women got their start.

The research team at Academic Influence searched the company bios of all of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in 2021 to find the colleges and universities they graduated from as well as the subject(s) they earned a degree in. The team then analyzed this data to find the colleges and universities that have the most alumni who are Fortune 500 CEOs as well as the most commonly earned undergraduate and graduate degrees among the 500. Read on to see which colleges and universities have the most alumni who are now CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

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Which Colleges and Universities Have the Most Alumni Who Are CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies? - Academic Influence School Rankings - Infographic

By AcademicInfluence.com

Which College or University Has the Most Fortune 500 CEO Alumni?

Harvard University boasts the most alumni who are now a Fortune 500 CEO, with 41 having attended Harvard for their undergraduate or graduate degrees. Thirty-five of the CEOs earned a graduate degree at Harvard University and 9 of the CEOs went there for their undergrad, some of which attended Harvard for both. Of the CEOs that attended graduate school there, a majority graduated from Harvard’s Business School, with 28 having received their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Which bigwig CEOs attended Harvard University? Some of the names include Amazon’s CEO Andy Jassy, CEO of JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon, Larry Culp of General Electric, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski, and CEO of Kellogg Steve Cahillane, all of whom earned their MBAs from this prestigious school. Below is a list of the colleges and universities that proved to be popular choices for the most successful business executives in the United States.

The 10 Colleges and Universities With The Most Alumni Who Are CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies

Which Degree Did the Most Fortune 500 CEOs Earn at College?

Engineering was the most common undergrad degree earned by Fortune 500 CEOs, with 19.2% of the CEOs having earned an engineering degree across a wide variety of specialties. Out of these 96 CEOs, mechanical engineering was the top specialty for 26 CEOs, while electrical engineering was a close second, with 23 CEOs having earned an electrical engineering degree. After engineering, economics was the second most common of the 500 degrees, with 11.8%, or 59 CEOs, having earned an economics degree during their time in undergrad studies. Other business majors that proved to be popular undergrad degrees for CEOs include business administration, accounting, and finance.

The most common graduate degree was a Master of Business Administration (MBA), which 41% of all of the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies have earned. The second most common was a Juris Doctor degree, earned by just 5% of the CEOs.

Which CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies Dropped Out of College?

Not all of the CEOs on the Fortune 500 company list completed a college degree, though. Seven CEOs dropped out of their undergrad program, and one dropped out during grad school. You may be surprised to see which of these famous CEOs dropped out, as some of them are now the world’s richest people. Below is a list of the Fortune 500 CEOs who dropped out of college but still went on to become very successful.

Fortune 500 CEOs Who Dropped Out of College

Michael Dell
CEO of Dell Technologies, dropped out of the University of Texas undergrad program.
Mark Zuckerberg
CEO of Meta Platforms, dropped out of Harvard University’s undergrad program.
Richard A. Gonzalez
CEO of AbbVie, dropped out of the University of Houston’s undergrad program.
Todd Jones
CEO of Publix Super Markets, dropped out of Cornell University’s undergrad program.
Larry Ellison
CEO of Oracle, dropped out of both the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Chicago’s undergrad programs.
Jack Dorsey
CEO of Block, dropped out of New York University’s undergrad program.
Bobby Kotick
CEO of Activision Blizzard, dropped out of the University of Michigan’s undergrad program.
Elon Musk
CEO of Tesla, dropped out of Stanford University’s grad school.

It’s interesting to see how well these colleges and universities stack up when ranked on a variety of other factors as well, such as the best research universities for undergrads, the richest universities in North America, or the most affordable colleges and universities in the United States.

Graduate Schools With the Most Alumni Who Are CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies

Rank College or University Alumni Who are CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies
1 Harvard University 41
2 University of Pennsylvania 23
2 Stanford University 22
4 Northwestern University 20
5 Columbia University 18
6 University of Chicago 15
7 University of Michigan 12
8 Cornell University 10
8 Dartmouth College 10
8 University of Virginia 10
11 Boston College 9
11 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 9
11 University of Texas at Austin 9
11 Michigan State University 8
11 New York University 8
11 Purdue University 8
11 Texas A&M University 8
18 Georgetown University 7
18 Georgia Tech 7
18 Princeton University 7
18 University of Wisconsin–Madison 7
22 Arizona State University 6
22 Iowa State University 6
22 United States Military Academy 6
22 University of California, Berkeley 6
22 University of California, Los Angeles 6
27 Brown University 5
27 Claremont McKenna College 5
27 Lehigh University 5
27 Miami University 5
27 Syracuse University 5
27 University of Colorado Boulder 5
27 University of Iowa 5
27 Yale University 5
35 Boston University 4
35 Bucknell University 4
35 Indiana University 4
35 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4
35 Pennsylvania State University 4
35 Rutgers University 4
35 University of Cincinnati 4
35 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 4
35 University of Notre Dame 4
44 Central Michigan University 3
44 William & Mary 3
44 Drexel University 3
44 Duke University 3
44 Johns Hopkins University 3
44 Manhattan College 3
44 Pepperdine University 3
44 Santa Clara University 3
44 Tufts University 3
44 University of Arkansas 3
44 University of Houston 3
44 University of Miami 3
44 University of Missouri 3
44 University of Nevada, Las Vegas 3
44 University of Rochester 3
44 University of Washington 3
44 University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee 3
44 Wake Forest University 3

The Top 3 Schools With the Most Graduate Program Alumni Who Are CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies

Harvard University

Number of Alumni: 35

Fortune 500 Rank Company CEO
2 Amazon Andy Jassy
19 JPMorgan Chase Jamie Dimon
33 Citigroup Jane Fraser
38 General Electric Larry Culp
55 Prudential Financial (U.S.) Charles F. Lowrey
94 Honeywell International Darius Adamczyk
95 Thermo Fisher Scientific Marc N. Casper
112 Amgen Robert A. Bradway
121 Broadcom Hock E. Tan
122 CBRE Group Robert E. Sulentic
128 US Foods Holding Pietro Satriano
157 McDonald’s Chris Kempczinski
169 General Mills Jeff Harmening
175 Marsh & McLennan Daniel S. Glaser
201 Mastercard Michael Miebach
208 Automatic Data Processing Carlos A. Rodriguez
216 Qurate Retail Greg Maffei
222 Kellogg Steve Cahillane
248 Leidos Holdings Roger Krone
252 State Street Ronald P. O’Hanley
271 DaVita Javier J. Rodriguez
277 Corning Wendell Weeks
297 Republic Services Jon Vander Ark
326 Liberty Media Greg Maffei
344 EMCOR Group Anthony Guzzi
355 Eastman Chemical Mark J. Costa
356 CommScope Holding Charles L. Treadway
359 Constellation Brands Bill Newlands
360 Insight Enterprises Joyce Mullen
409 First American Financial Kenneth D. DeGiorgio
424 Booking Holdings Glenn Fogel
443 Northern Trust Michael G. O’Grady
454 Blackstone Group Stephen A. Schwarzman
475 Academy Sports and Outdoors Ken C. Hicks
488 Roper Technologies Neil Hunn

Northwestern University

Number of Alumni: 19

Fortune 500 Rank Company CEO
10 Exxon Mobil Darren Woods
65 Merck Robert M. Davis
70 Allstate Thomas J. Wilson
90 Northwestern Mutual John E. Schlifske
153 Union Pacific Lance M. Fritz
235 Aramark John J. Zillmer
240 Illinois Tool Works Ernest Scott Santi
258 W.W. Grainger Donald G. Macpherson
260 Ball John A. Hayes
267 Keurig Dr Pepper Bob Gamgort
295 Edward Jones Penny Pennington
322 Murphy USA Andrew Clyde
363 Yum China Holdings Joey Wat
380 Intuit Sasan K. Goodarzi
413 Owens Corning Brian Chambers
439 Veritiv Salvatore A. Abbate
446 NCR Michael D. Hayford
456 Fortune Brands Home & Security Nicholas Fink
461 Equinix Charles J. Meyers

Stanford University

Number of Alumni: 18

Fortune 500 Rank Company CEO
9 Alphabet Sundar Pichai
22 General Motors Mary Barra
40 Intel Pat Gelsinger
85 Nike John Donahoe
99 Capital One Financial Richard Fairbank
100 Tesla Elon Musk
115 Netflix Reed Hastings
150 Cummins Tom Linebarger
160 PG&E Patricia K. Poppe
184 Nvidia Jensen Huang
221 Gap Sonia Syngal
276 eBay Jamie Iannone
320 Dick’s Sporting Goods Lauren Hobart
329 SpartanNash Tony Sarsam
340 Air Products & Chemicals Seifi Ghasemi
366 Andersons Patrick E. Bowe
419 Jefferies Financial Group Richard B. Handler
497 NetApp George Kurian

The Most Common Graduate Degrees of Fortune 500 CEOs:

  • M.B.A.: 204
  • J.D.: 24
  • Master’s in management: 10

The Top 3 Schools With the Most Undergraduate Program Alumni Who Are CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies

Cornell University

Number of Alumni: 9

Fortune 500 Rank Company CEO
43 Procter & Gamble Jon Moeller
69 Publix Super Markets Todd Jones
171 Carrier Global David Gitlin
217 Wayfair Niraj Shah
239 Loews James S. Tisch
293 Marriott International Anthony Capuano
354 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Leonard Schleifer
411 Toll Brothers Douglas C. Yearley, Jr.
416 Arthur J. Gallagher J. Patrick Gallagher Jr

Harvard University

Number of Alumni: 9

Fortune 500 Rank Company CEO
2 Amazon Andy Jassy
24 Centene Sarah London
34 Meta Platforms Mark Zuckerberg
128 US Foods Holding Pietro Satriano
208 Automatic Data Processing Carlos A. Rodriguez
226 Edison International Pedro J. Pizarro
334 Interpublic Group Philippe Krakowsky
427 Clorox Linda Rendle
485 Electronic Arts Andrew Wilson

University of Pennsylvania

Number of Alumni: 8

Fortune 500 Rank Company CEO
26 Comcast Brian Roberts
98 The Travelers Companies Alan D. Schnitzer
100 Tesla Elon Musk
320 Dick’s Sporting Goods Lauren Hobart
359 Constellation Brands Bill Newlands
394 Global Payments Jeffrey S. Sloan
424 Booking Holdings Glenn Fogel
425 Williams-Sonoma Laura J. Alber

The Most Common Undergraduate Degrees of Fortune 500 CEOs

  • Engineering: 96 CEOs have an engineering degree, specializing in:
    • Mechanical engineering: 26
    • Electrical engineering: 23
    • Chemical engineering: 17
    • Unspecified engineering: 12
    • Industrial engineering: 6
    • Civil engineering: 5
    • Petroleum engineering: 3
    • Other type of engineering: 17
  • Economics: 59
  • Business administration: 40
  • Accounting: 36
  • Finance: 12
  • Computer science: 11
  • Marketing: 9
  • Political science: 8
  • Mathematics: 8

If you are interested in finding out which schools top the list for the best research universities, check out 50 Best Research Universities for Undergrads, and if you are looking for the top public colleges, take a look at the 50 Best Public Colleges and Universities.