When we think of CEOs, we typically think of people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk — the big players who dropped out of college to pursue their game-changing ideas and were wildly successful as a result. There are a handful of stories about successful executives who went off the beaten path and dropped out of college along the way. But what about the more common and traditional path that most CEOs today took: college?
There are a few reasons why attending college and getting your degree might improve your chances of becoming a CEO one day. In recent years employers have been steadily upping the ante on academic credentials — and higher education prepares you intellectually for higher skilled jobs in your industry. College also opens up possibilities and opportunities as you meet people and make connections. With that in mind, if you do choose to attend college, does it matter which one?
Others say that you don’t need a degree from a prestigious university to be successful, and that your college network is not synonymous with game-changing opportunities. There are arguments for both, and the right answer for you may not be the right answer for someone else.
So if you are serious about becoming a CEO, where do you start? One way is by taking a look at our infographic below, where we analyzed the education of the men and women who went on to lead the largest corporations to answer the question, “Will your education impact your chances of becoming a CEO?”