New ranking of universities that produce global CEOs

A new global league table from the UK’s Times Higher Education – ranking universities by the number of their graduates who are chief executive officers of the world’s largest companies – was published last week.

One in 20 CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies has at least one degree from Harvard, according to the THE’s Alma Mater Index: Global Executives 2013. Second place is taken by the University of Tokyo, with 3% of alumni in the list.

The highest-placed UK institution is the University of Oxford at number 21, while the US dominates the top 10 with four institutions: Harvard first, Stanford third, the University of Pennsylvania seventh and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology eighth.

France is represented by three institutions – École Polytechnique in fourth place, HEC Paris in fifth and École Nationale d’Administration in sixth.

Japan has two universities in the top 10, Tokyo second and Keio University ninth, while South Korea has Seoul National University at number 10.

America has 38 institutions in the top 100, with China second with 15.

THE suggests that students choosing a university might want to take account of the career prospects associated with not only the course they study but also the institution they intend to study at.

The first look at CEOs’ alma maters “provides a fascinating insight into a key mission for all higher education institutions – and one of huge importance to future students and their families – that of success in educating and nurturing future leaders”, said THE.

“Return on investment from higher education is of increasing importance, and this table provides interesting reading for those who are setting their sights on becoming tomorrow’s top executives.”

Of the 499 CEOs in the Fortune Global 500, 113 have an MBA and 53 a doctorate.

The data revealed that many of the CEOs do not have a bachelor degree from a highly ranked university – but their masters degrees, MBAs or PhDs are.

Although Harvard education leads the ranking, none of the CEOs from the top 10 Fortune 500 companies has a Harvard degree; only one CEO from the top 10 has a degree from an Alma Mater Index top 10 institution.

Eighteen countries are represented by institutions in the top 100 list, with 40 universities in North America, 29 in Asia, 26 in Europe, two each in South America (Fundação Getulio Vargas at 35 and Federal University of Rio de Janeiro at 62) and Africa (the University of the Witwatersrand at 24 and the University of Cape Town at 79), and one in Oceania, Australia’s University of Melbourne at 91.

The UK has only four universities in the top 100: Oxford (21), Cambridge (45), City University London (89) and Cranfield (92).

A spokesperson for the index said: “While most CEOs attended university in their home country for their first degree, for the large proportion who went on to study for a masters, MBA or PhD degree, many of them travelled abroad to do so – indeed, travel does appear to broaden the mind.”

The full tables can be seen here.