By Bryan Borzykowski 4 August 2017
Myth 5: CEOs should have a top-tier education
Another myth is that you need to graduate from Harvard or Oxford to become a successful CEO. In fact, only 7% of the high-performing CEOs that The Genome Project studies had an Ivy League undergraduate education, while 8% didn’t even graduate from university.
Only 7% of the high-performing CEOs in the studies had an Ivy League undergraduate education
Jill Wight, a principal at private equity company The Carlyle Group, has hired many CEOs for the companies her firm invests in and agrees that a degree from a top school doesn’t by itself determine performance. “Strong intellectual horsepower” is a pre-requisite for success, she says, not the school you came from. “The presence of a degree is positive, but the absence of one isn’t by itself a negative,” she says.
A degree from a top school is even less of an issue in the UK, says Ryan, where social class, not intelligence, would typically determine who went to the best universities. People know that where you graduate from doesn’t reflect how smart or savvy you may be.
“It’s never a given in the UK that just because you have a certain level of intelligence that you would follow a particular route into higher education,” she says. “There a lot of other factors that determine where people go.”