Here’s the list:
At a glance, this list may not seem that surprising, but it is. The most interesting point is that the top 12 schools only account for 94 CEOs out of 500, or 18%. That’s a lot lower than most people would have guessed. In fact, if you believe the conspiracy fringe, you would have expected all of them to have come from evil Harvard (which only produced 5%).1. Harvard – 25 CEOs
2. Stanford – 11 CEOs
3. U. Penn – 8 CEOs
4. MIT – 7 CEOs
5. Cornell – 6 CEOs
6. Chicago – 6 CEOs
7. Northwestern – 6 CEOs
8. Columbia – 6 CEOs
9. Yale – 6 CEOs
10. Southern Methodist University – 5 CEOs
11. University of Southern California – 4 CEOs
12. New York University – 4 CEOs
Moreover, when assessing these numbers, keep in mind that certain schools, like Harvard, Standard, Columbia, Penn and Chicago are known for their MBA programs. In other words, those are places people go after they have degrees and are already on the rise. You would think that would mean that most top CEOs would have a degree from one of those programs. Yet, the numbers don’t show that. In fact, the low number of CEOs with such a degree is actually kind of shocking.
What this suggests is that Big Business is not a closed system where only those who went to the right schools need apply. How does this matter politically? Well, it tells us to stop looking at universities as the cause of the current business culture. Harvard is not the boogeyman controlling all things as some want you to believe. Instead, this means the problem with Big Business’s attitude on loyalty to America and advocating crony socialism is not coming from Harvard, it’s coming from elsewhere. And fixing it will require more than bashing Harvard.
The second thing to note is that the regional bias isn’t as high as one would expect either. While there is a northeastern bias here, as one would expect, it’s certainly not dominant. Of these 94, 5 come from Texas, 15 come from California, and 12 come from Chicago. Moreover, the “northeast” breaks down as well, with 8 from Philly, 16 coming from New York and the rest from the New England. What this suggests is that you can come from any region and still reach the top.
All in all, I think this is interesting because it suggests that while there is an obvious benefit to going to an elite school, that benefit is certainly not as big as you would think. And with 82% of CEOs coming from places other than these elite schools, it’s certainly not controlling.
That said, however, there is a warning here for conservative states. Except for SMU, each of the above colleges resides in a liberal state. That has very bad consequences for conservatives. First, it means that the best and the brightest will abandon conservative states for liberal states to go to college. That loss of brainpower and motivation and ability will depress the economies of conservative states. That in turns hurts jobs and depresses incomes in those states. Indeed, the areas around these schools have all become hotbeds of research and economic activity. This is where things get invented, designed and brought to life in America. This is what drives our economy, creates well paying jobs, and attracts more people... and it’s happening in blue states, who are doing it by pulling away the best and the brightest from around the country and the world.
If red states don’t want to be left behind, then conservatives better start thinking of ways to get more red-state colleges on this list. That means investing in colleges, hiring the best professors, making sure they offer programs that attract the best and brightest students from everywhere, cutting costs to students... doing all the things a business does to attract customers... and embracing education again.
This survey is good news because it shows that fears of a Harvard-run economy are false, but it also presents a warning that the best and brightest American kids have reason to go to blue states to start their economic lives.