What sort of education does it take to climb to the top of Americas largest companies?

If theres one thing that can be gleaned from the educational backgrounds of the chief executives of therecently released Fortune 500, its that there are many paths to success. Many of them studied business, economics, or engineering, but others majored in art history, geology, psychology, and history. Sure, there are plenty of MBAs173, to be exactbut there are at least 121 executives who didnt go to graduate school at all, including major-company CEOs such as Rex W. Tillerson ofExxon Mobil, Stephen J. Hemsley ofUnitedHealth Group, and Jeff Bezos ofAmazon. Overall, the Fortune 500 crew attended 220 different colleges for their undergraduate degrees.

No one type of university dominates the list, either. Of the 25 colleges that graduated the most CEOs, five are traditional liberal arts colleges, four are in the Ivy League, eight are public universities, and three are colleges known for their elite technology and computer science programs.

We dont want to suggest that it doesnt matter where you go to college. The research behindMONEYs Best Colleges rankings, after all, has found that certain colleges make a huge difference. But rather, the degrees of Fortune 500 leaders demonstrate what our rankings do as well, that a variety of collegessome household names, others hidden gemscan put you on a path to success.


Here are the 10 colleges with the most alumni in the Fortune 500s top seat, based on info from the S&P Global Market Intelligence database. The colleges are ordered by the number of undergraduate degrees each confers.

No surprises here: Americas most recognizable Ivy League college tops our list, with 10 alumni who earned their undergraduate degrees there. (We didnt count Facebooks Mark Zuckerberg, who famously dropped out.) Harvard beats out the other schools in the top 10 by only a few graduates, but it pulls way ahead when counting by MBA degrees28 CEOs earned theirs at Harvard Business School, about three times as many as the next highest graduate business programs, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (10) and Stanford Graduate School of Business (9).

Cornells list of Fortune 500 CEOs reflects well on its engineering and labor and industrial relations programs, as they make up more than half of the bachelors degrees earned by the alumni below. (Cornell is one of only a handful of universities to offer an undergraduate program in labor and industrial relations.) The nine executives work in a variety of fields, from finance to telecommunications to pharmaceuticals.

With more than 40,000 undergraduates, Penn State has a reach that few others on this top 10 list do, and its name is recognized by employers around the country.

Texas A&M graduates like to talk about the bond they share with fellow Aggies andwhat a well-connected networkthe college provides. Thats reflected in the universitys six alumni who now lead Fortune 500 companies. Some have been big cheerleaders for the university by donating money, returning to campus for events, and talking about how well Texas A&M prepared them for their current positions.

2015 MONEY Best Colleges rank:N/A (MONEY doesnt include the four service academies in its rankings.)

West Points academic curriculum was designed to prepare military leaders, so its not surprising that many alumni translate their leadership skills to the corporate world. Five of the CEOs below went on to earn MBA degrees, including three at Harvard Business School.

Thanks to its well-regarded graduate programs in business and law, Notre Dame routinely finishes in the top tier of colleges that produce a lot of high-level corporate leaders. It also holds its own when counting by undergraduate degrees, as the following alums show.

With strong business and engineering programs, as well as a reputation as one of the top state flagship universities in the country, its little surprise UW is one of three public colleges to break into this top 10 list.

Attend Princeton, and odds are pretty high that youll share the campus with someone who goes on to become a household name, whether on the Supreme Court, at the White House, or on the film screen. The university also produces its share and then some of notable corporate leaders, such as Amazons Jeff Bezos.

Appearing atop dozens of college-related rankings, this uber-selective university sometimes seems to be good at everything: computer science and business, athletics and arts, undergraduate research, and graduate programs. Its Fortune 500 alumni reflect that diversity of strong programs, with banking, healthcare, and manufacturing, insurance, and pharmaceutical companies represented.

You might be surprised that just as many Fortune 500 CEOs went to this small Midwestern liberal arts school as such big-name schools as MIT, Yale, and Vanderbilt. But Miami Us alumni and current students arent. They say the university offers a rigorous liberal arts curriculum that prepares its students for all kinds of challenges. Miami is also the only school in the top 10 with more than one female CEO to its credit

Note: We originally included Brian T. Moynihan ofBank of America Corp.of this list, since Miami U. is listed under his name on the database used to build the Fortune 500. Weve since removed his name after confirming with Bank of America thats a mistake, and that he graduated from Brown University.

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