The Impact of Education on a CEO's Career [Infographic]

By Guest Blogger

CEO College Education

dateMon, Sep 13, 2021 @ 11:00 AM

Written by Meredith Wood, Editor-in-Chief of FunderaCEO College Education

As the CEO, you’ve either started and cultivated your own company, or worked hard to climb the ranks. Maybe you’re not the CEO, but another chief-level executive. Regardless, you’re held partly accountable for the success of the company. Looking back, can you distinguish a single action that led you to this position?

It’s possible that you took the traditional route: graduated high school, attended college, received an undergraduate degree, landed a full-time job, and even pursued another degree or two. Maybe you drew inspiration from Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, deciding that dropping out of school was the only way to pursue your passion. You might even have a degree from a prestigious Ivy League university.

The question is whether your secondary education (or lack thereof) impacted your professional trajectory. Where you went to school and what you studied may not have affected the outcome of your career. Private versus public school and undergraduate versus postgraduate degrees might not have any tangible effects on your business life. Aside from beefing up your resume, did one better prepare you to be a CEO than the other?

In our society, we place a heavy amount of importance on a college education. Throughout our years in primary schools, we are prepped and primed to succeed in college. Most life skills, such as money management, are excluded from the curriculum to make room for the “necessities.” We are taught to excel on standardized tests in order to get accepted to a good school. It’s questionable if any of it matters in the end.

Since the job market is increasingly competitive, students strive to get “better” educations to gain the upper hand. If college is essential, it’s difficult to understand how dropouts like Mark Zuckerberg are so successful. The breakdown in the infographic below shows that 9% of CEOs don’t have any kind of degree.

What if all of the time and money you invested in your education had little to no effect on your professional status?

Fundera conducted a study to answer the question, “Will my Alma Mater impact the trajectory of my career?” They evaluated the educations of men and women who now lead the largest corporations. Check out the infographic below to discover what role, if any, your education had on your road to becoming the CEO. 



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About Our Guest Blogger

Our Guest Blogger is Meredith Wood, Editor-in-Chief of Fundera. Specializing in financial advice for small business owners, Meredith is a current and past contributor to Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, SCORE, AllBusiness and more.

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Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images