Does Your Education Impact Your Chances of Becoming a CEO? (Infographic)

Updated on August 31, 2020
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When we think of the most famous CEOs both past and present, like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg, we usually think of the college dropout who started a company out of their dorm room and transcended the path of climbing the corporate ladder. Fortunately, there’s another way to become a CEO. And although it’s less alluring, it’s actually the more common route—college.

Some argue that going the traditional education route is unnecessary to be successful. Peter Thiel, for example, offers students a $100,000 grant to drop out of college and pursue building the next big startup. Although formal education is not essential to becoming successful, many of the most successful CEOs of corporate America did have formal college education.

So, if you do go to college, does it matter where? Attending an Ivy League university is certainly prestigious—but will the significance of the university name on your diploma land you in the corner office? More importantly, will the investment in your education actually pay off?  

We analyzed the education of the men and women who went on to lead the largest corporations to answer the question, “Will my Alma Mater impact the trajectory of my career?”

Check out the infographic below to learn how your education can impact your chances of becoming a CEO:

Sources: YouTube | White House | Stanford | US Aid | Google Books | Wikipedia

Meredith Wood
GM, New Markets at NerdWallet

Meredith Wood

Meredith Wood is the founding editor of the Fundera Ledger and a GM at NerdWallet.

Meredith launched the Fundera Ledger in 2014. She has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade. Meredith is frequently sought out for her expertise in small business lending and financial management.

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