Big Ten athletic conference schools—and the University of Wisconsin, in particular—are the biggest producers of chief executives of Fortune 500 companies, according to research from an executive recruiting firm.
Kittleman, an executive search firm serving nonprofit organizations, looked at all 500 CEOs of the Fortune 500 and found that while three Ivy League schools made it into a top-10 ranking of colleges with the highest number of CEO graduates, the University of Wisconsin’s total of 14 future executives topped Harvard, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania.
Kittleman’s report shows a ranking of 30 schools. Seventeen are summarized in the chart above—those with five or more future Fortune 500 CEOs.
Summarizing the results by athletic conference, the Big Ten was the clear winner, with 62 CEOs—more than twice the number graduating from the second-ranked Atlantic Coast Conference.
The 62 Big Ten school graduates represented 12.4 percent of all 500 CEOs on the list. The ACC garnered about 6 percent of the total, followed by the Southeastern Conference and the Pac-12, each coming in with around 5 percent.
Kittleman also researched whether more CEOs came from public or private schools. That contest ended in a dead heat with 213 CEOs attending each type of school. (Editor’s Note: 18 CEOs did not attend an undergraduate school at all and 56 went to schools outside the United States.)
In keeping with the mission of the recruiting firm, Kittleman also took a look at which colleges produced the most nonprofit leaders based on Forbes list of America’s top 100 nonprofits.
Here, the results were surprisingly different, with Yale University coming in first, with four nonprofit leaders, followed by Georgetown University and Princeton, which tied at three. Overall, 15 percent of the top nonprofit leaders attended an Ivy League school for their undergraduate degree. For the Fortune 500, 9.2 percent hailed from Ivy League schools.
The private-public school split was also different for nonprofit leaders, with 55 coming from private schools and 32 public schools. (Others not attending or attending outside the United States.)