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Where CEOs of Big Companies Went to College

They say you shouldn’t take advice from people you don’t want to be. Does going to the same universities count as advice? If your chosen career path is “CEO,” then you may want to check out where other CEOs studied – and what degrees they have. 

When it comes to the biggest companies in the world, CEOs in this generation came down a couple common paths. They either studied engineering then found their way into business or studied business and worked their way up. But no matter what, these leaders sit at the heads of organizations making billions per year and employing hundreds of thousands of people. 

Want to know what kind of education it takes to lead an organization worth billions? We’ve rounded up where the CEOs of global companies went to school – and what they studied. 

Frederick W. Smith, CEO of FedEx

fred smith fedex
Cropped. Image source: Defense.gov

School(s) attended: Yale University

Graduation year: 1966

Degree: BA in Economics

When did Frederick W. Smith become CEO of FedEx: 1998

# of employees they have: 359,000

Company annual revenue: $65.45 billion

What does FedEx do?

FedEx is a shipping company, famously founded from an idea in a college paper at Yale that got a C+.

James Hackett, CEO of Ford Motor

James Hackett, CEO of Ford Motor
Cropped. Image source: Flickr

School(s) attended: University of Michigan

Graduation year: 1977

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

When did James Hackett become CEO of Ford Motor: 2017

# of employees they have: 199,000

Company annual revenue: $160.33 billion

What does Ford Motor do?

Ford Motor is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world, producing multiple types of vehicles from small compact cars to industrial trucks.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

Jeff Bezos - Amazon
Image source: Amazon

School(s) attended: Princeton

Graduation year: 1986

Degree: BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

When did Jeff Bezos become CEO of Amazon: 1996 when he founded the company.

# of employees they have: 647,500

Company annual revenue: $232.88 billion

What does Amazon do?

Amazon.com is a global e-commerce company that sells nearly any product you could possibly look for in the world.

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett - Berkshire Hathaway
Image source: Berkshire Hathaway

School(s) attended:

  • Wharton at UPenn (Transferred to the University of Nebraska)
  • Columbia University

Graduation year:

  • 1949 (Nebraska)
  • 1951 (Columbia)

Degree:

  • BBA (Nebraska)
  • MBA (Columbia)

When did Warren Buffett become CEO of Berkshire Hathaway: 1967

# of employees they have: 389,000

Company annual revenue: $247.83 billion

What does Berkshire Hathaway do?

Berkshire Hathaway is a large holding company that invests in various companies in industries like real estate and insurance.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

Tim Cook - Apple
Image source: Apple

School(s) attended:

  • Auburn University
  • Duke University

Graduation year:

  • 1982 (Auburn)
  • 1988 (Duke)

Degree:

  • BS in Industrial Engineering (Auburn)
  • MBA (Duke)

When did Tim Cook become CEO of Apple: 2011

# of employees they have: 132,000

Company annual revenue: $265.59 billion

What does Apple do?

Apple is a global technology retailer, famous for products like the iPod, iPhone, and Mac computers.

Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart

Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart
Cropped. Image source: Walmart

School(s) attended:

  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Tulsa

Graduation year:

  • 1989 (Arkansas)
  • 1992 (Tulsa)

Degree:

  • BS in Business (Arkansas)
  • MBA (Tulsa)

When did Doug McMillon become CEO of Walmart: 2014

# of employees they have: 2,200,000

Company annual revenue: $514.4 billion

What does Walmart do?

Walmart is a global discount retailer that sells everything from car tires to groceries. The company operates thousands of retail stores and has a massive e-commerce presence.

Robert (Bob) Iger, CEO of Walt Disney

Robert (Bob) Iger, CEO of Walt Disney
Cropped. Image source: Flickr

School(s) attended: Ithaca College

Graduation year: 1973

Degree: BS in Television and Radio

When did Bob Iger become CEO of Walt Disney: 2005

# of employees they have: 201,000

Company annual revenue: $59.4 billion

What does Walt Disney do?

Walt Disney is a globally famous brand, named after its founder Walt Disney. The company owns cruise lines, makes movies and TV shows, and is also a holding company that owns other famous brands like ABC and ESPN. 

Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet

Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet
Cropped. Image source: Wikimedia

School(s) attended:

  • University of Michigan
  • Stanford University

Graduation year: 1995 (Michigan – estimated)

Degree

  • Bachelors of Computer Engineering (Michigan)
  • Masters of Computer Science (Stanford)

When did Larry Page become CEO of Alphabet: 2015

# of employees they have: 98,771

Company annual revenue: $136.81 billion

What does Alphabet do?

Alphabet is the holding company for Google and its subsidiaries. Page announced he was stepping down in late 2019 as CEO, but would remain involved in other ways.

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors
Cropped. Image source: Flickr

School(s) attended:

  • Kettering University
  • Stanford University

Graduation year: 1990 (Stanford)

Degree:

  • BS in Electrical Engineering (Kettering)
  • MBA (Stanford)

When did Mary Barra become CEO of General Motors: 2014

# of employees they have: 173,000

Company annual revenue: $147.04 billion

What does General Motors do?

General Motors is a global car maker and holding company, owning multiple car brands like Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac.

Ramon Laguarta, CEO of PepsiCo

Ramon Laguarta, CEO of PepsiCo
Cropped. Image source: Pepsi

School(s) attended: Esade (in Barcelona)

Graduation year: 1986

Degree: MBA

When did Ramon Laguarta become CEO of PepsiCo: 2018

# of employees they have: 267,000

Company annual revenue: $64.66 billion

What does PepsiCo do?

PepsiCo is a beverage and snack company with multiple products around the world.

David S. Taylor, CEO of Procter & Gamble

David S. Taylor, CEO of Procter & Gamble
Cropped. Image source: YouTube

School(s) attended: Duke University

Graduation year: 1980

Degree: BS in Electrical Engineering

When did David S. Taylor become CEO of Procter & Gamble: 2015

# of employees they have: 92,000

Company annual revenue: $66.83 billion

What does Procter & Gamble do?

Procter & Gamble is a global consumer packaged goods (CPG) holding company that owns many brands like Charmin and Bounty.

Bob Swan, CEO of Intel

Bob Swan, CEO of Intel
Cropped. Image source: Intel

School(s) attended:

  • University of Buffalo
  • Binghamton University

Graduation year:

  • 1983 (University of Buffalo)
  • 1985 (Binghamton University)

Degree:

  • Bachelors of Business Administration (University of Buffalo)
  • MBA (Binghamton University)

When did Bob Swan become CEO of Intel: 2018

# of employees they have: 107,400

Company annual revenue: $70.84 billion

What does Intel do?

Intel is a global technology firm that makes microchips and processors for computers.

Marvin Ellison, CEO of Lowe’s

marvin ellison
Cropped. Image source: Vimeo

School(s) attended:

  • The University of Memphis
  • Emory University

Graduation year: 1980s (estimated)

Degree:

  • Business administration (University of Memphis)
  • MBA (Emory)

When did Marvin Ellison become CEO of Lowe’s: 2018

# of employees they have: 245,000

Company annual revenue: $71.30 billion

What does Lowe’s do?

Lowe’s is a home improvement big-box store, similar to Home Depot.

David P. Abney, CEO of United Parcel Service (UPS)

David P. Abney, CEO of United Parcel Service (UPS)
Cropped. Image source: Flickr

School(s) attended: Delta State University

Graduation year: 1976

Degree: Bachelors of Business Administration

When did David P. Abney become CEO of UPS: 2014

# of employees they have: 364,575

Company annual revenue: $71.86 billion

What does United Parcel Service (UPS) do?

United Parcel Service (UPS) is a shipping company that operates around the world, famous for its brown colors.

David Brickman, CEO of Freddie Mac

David Brickman, CEO of Freddie Mac
Cropped. Image source: Freddie Mac

School(s) attended:

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Harvard
  • MIT

Graduation year:

  • 1987 (Penn)
  • 1993 (Harvard)
  • 1999 (MIT)

Degree:

  • BA (Penn)
  • Masters of Public Policy (Harvard)
  • PhD in Economics (MIT)

When did David Brickman become CEO of Freddie Mac: 2019

# of employees they have: 6,621

Company annual revenue: $73.59 billion

What does Freddie Mac do?

Freddie Mac is a secondary mortgage buyer that helps mortgage lenders have more cash on hand.

Brian Cornell, CEO of Target

Brian Cornell, CEO of Target
Cropped. Image source: Target

School(s) attended: UCLA (Twice)

Graduation year:

  • 1981 (Undergrad)
  • 1991 (Business school)

Degree:

  • Bachelors (Undergrad)
  • MBA (Business school)

When did Brian Cornell become CEO of Target: 2014

# of employees they have: 360,000

Company annual revenue: $75.35 billion

What does Target do?

Target is an American retailer, similar to Walmart.

Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM

Ginni Rometty - IBM
Image source: Council of Foreign Relations

School(s) attended: Northwestern University

Graduation year: 1979

Degree: BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

When did Ginni Rometty become CEO of IBM: 2012

# of employees they have: 381,100

Company annual revenue: $79.59 billion

What does IBM do?

IBM is one of the oldest technology companies in the world, famous for its Watson AI computer.

Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson

Alex Gorsky - Johnson and Johnson
Image source: Johnson & Johnson

School(s) attended:

  • West Point Military Academy
  • Wharton School at UPenn

Graduation year:

  • 1982 (West Point)
  • 1996 (MBA)

Degree:

  • BS in Engineering and Political Science (West Point)
  • MBA (Wharton)

When did Alex Gorsky become CEO of Johnson & Johnson: 2012

# of employees they have: 135,100

Company annual revenue: $81.58 billion

What does Johnson & Johnson do?

Johnson & Johnson is a global brand and packaged goods holding company focused on wellbeing products.

Jim Fitterling, CEO of DuPont de Nemours, part of Dow Chemical

Jim Fitterling, CEO of DuPont de Nemours, part of Dow Chemical
Cropped. Image source: Twitter

School(s) attended: University of Missouri-Columbia

Graduation year: 1983

Degree: BS in Mechanical Engineering

When did Jim Fitterling become CEO of DuPont: 2018

# of employees they have: 98,000

Company annual revenue: $85.97 billion

What does DuPont do?

DuPont de Nemours is a global chemical manufacturing company.

Michael S. Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies

Michael Dell - Dell
Image source: Dell

School(s) attended: University of Texas

Graduation year: Dropped out to found Dell

Degree: Was pre-med

When did Michael S. Dell become CEO of Dell Technologies: 2007

# of employees they have: 157,000

Company annual revenue: $90.62 billion

What does Dell Technologies do?

Dell Technologies is a global manufacturer of computers and other technologies.

Gail Koziara Boudreaux, CEO of Anthem

Gail Koziara Boudreaux, CEO of Anthem
Cropped. Image source: NCAA

School(s) attended:

  • Dartmouth College
  • Columbia University

Graduation year:

  • 1982 (Dartmouth)
  • 1989 (Columbia)

Degree:

  • BA (Dartmouth)
  • MBA (Columbia)

When did Gail Koziara Boudreaux become CEO of Anthem: 2017

# of employees they have: 63,900

Company annual revenue: $92.10 billion

What does Anthem do?

Anthem is a large provider of health insurance in the United States.

Brian L. Roberts, CEO of Comcast

Brian Roberts - Comcast
Image source: Comcast

School(s) attended: Wharton at UPenn

Graduation year: 1981

Degree: Bachelors of Science

When did Brian L. Roberts become CEO of Comcast: 2002

# of employees they have: 184,000

Company annual revenue: $94.50 billion

What does Comcast do?

Comcast is one of the biggest providers of cable in the United States.

Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup

Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup
Cropped. Image source: Flickr

School(s) attended: Harvard

Graduation year: 1982

Degree: BA in Economics

When did Michael Corbat become CEO of Citigroup: 2012

# of employees they have: 204,000

Company annual revenue: $97.1 billion

What does Citigroup do?

Citigroup is a global bank with operations in the US and Canada.

C. Allen Parker, CEO of Wells Fargo

C. Allen Parker, CEO of Wells Fargo
Cropped. Image source: Wikimedia

School(s) attended:

  • Duke University
  • University of Chicago
  • Columbia University

Graduation year:

  • 1977 (Duke)
  • 1980 (Chicago)
  • 1983 (Columbia)

Degree:

  • BA (Duke)
  • MA (Chicago)
  • JD (Columbia)

When did C. Allen Parker become CEO of Wells Fargo: 2019

# of employees they have: 258,700

Company annual revenue: $101.06 billion

What does Wells Fargo do?

Wells Fargo is an American bank headquartered in California.

Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing

Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing
Cropped. Image source: Flickr

School(s) attended:

  • Iowa State University
  • University of Washington

Graduation year:

  • 1986 (Iowa – estimated)
  • 1998 (Washington – estimated)

Degree:

  • Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering (Iowa)
  • Masters in Aeronautics (Washington)

When did Dennis Muilenburg become CEO of Boeing: 2015

# of employees they have: 153,000

Company annual revenue: $101.12 billion

What does Boeing do?

Boeing is a global airplane manufacturer and the maker of the Air Force One.

Craig Menear, CEO of Home Depot

Craig Menear - Home Depot
Image source: Home Depot

School(s) attended: Michigan State

Graduation year: 1979

Degree: Business Administration

When did Craig Menear become CEO of the Home Depot: 2014

# of employees they have: 413,000

Company annual revenue: $108.20 billion

What does Home Depot do?

Home Depot is a global home goods retailer focused on building and renovation projects.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

Satya Nadella - Microsoft
Image source: Microsoft

School(s) attended:

  • Manipal Institute of Technology (India)
  • University of Wisconsin
  • University of Chicago

Graduation year:

  • 1988 (Manipal)
  • 1990 (Wisconsin)
  • 1992 (Chicago – estimated)

Degree:

  • Bachelors in Electrical Engineering (Manipal)
  • MS in Computer Science (Wisconsin)
  • MBA (Chicago)

When did Satya Nadella become CEO of Microsoft: 2014

# of employees they have: 131,000

Company annual revenue: $110.36 billion

What does Microsoft do?

Microsoft is a global technology company, famously founded by Bill Gates.

Brian T. Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America

Brian Moynihan - Bank of America
Image source: Bank of America

School(s) attended:

  • Brown University
  • University of Notre Dame

Graduation year:

  • 1981 (Brown)
  • 1983 (Notre Dame – estimated)

Degree:

  • BA (Brown)
  • JD (Notre Dame)

When did Brian T. Moynihan become CEO of Bank of America: 2010

# of employees they have: 204,489

Company annual revenue: $110.58 billion

What does Bank of America do?

Bank of America is a large bank offering a wide variety of services across the United States.

Joseph W. Gorder, CEO of Valero Energy

Joseph Gorder - Valero
Image source: YouTube

School(s) attended:

  • University of Missouri – St Louis
  • Our Lady of the Lake University

Graduation year: Unknown

Degree:

  • Bachelors in Business Administration (Missouri)
  • MBA (Lady of the Lake)

When did Joseph W. Gorder become CEO of Valero Energy: 2014

# of employees they have: 10,261

Company annual revenue: $111.40 billion

What does Valero Energy do?

Valero Energy is the world’s largest independent petroleum refiner.

Greg C. Garland, CEO of Phillips 66

Greg C. Garland, CEO of Phillips 66
Cropped. Image source: Phillips 66

School(s) attended: Texas A&M University

Graduation year: 1980

Degree: BA in Chemical Engineering

When did Greg C. Garland become CEO of Phillips 66: 2012

# of employees they have: 14,200

Company annual revenue: $114.21 billion

What does Phillips 66 do?

Phillips 66 is a diversified energy and manufacturing logistics company.

Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications

Hans Vestberg - Verizon
Image source: Hans Vestberg Twitter

School(s) attended: Uppsala University (Sweden)

Graduation year: 1991

Degree: Business Administration and Economics

When did Hans Vestberg become CEO of Verizon: 2018

# of employees they have: 144,500

Company annual revenue: $130.86 billion

What does Verizon Communications do?

Verizon Communications is a global communications company focused on providing phone, internet, and wireless services.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase
Cropped. Image source: Flickr

School(s) attended:

  • Tufts University
  • Harvard University

Graduation year:

  • 1978 (Tufts – Estimated)
  • 1982 (Harvard)

Degree:

  • BA (Tufts)
  • MBA (Harvard)

When did Jamie Dimon become CEO of JPMorgan: 2005

# of employees they have: 256,105

Company annual revenue: $131.41 billion

What does JPMorgan Chase do?

JPMorgan Chase is a global bank that offers pretty much any banking service you could possibly need, from ordinary banking all the way to taking companies public.

Stefano Pessina, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance

Stefano Pessina, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance
Cropped. Image source: Wikimedia

School(s) attended: Polytechnic University of Milan

Graduation year: Unknown

Degree: Nuclear Engineering

When did Stefano Pessina become CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance: 2015

# of employees they have: 299,000

Company annual revenue: $131.53 billion

What does Walgreens Boots Alliance do?

Walgreens Boots Alliance is a global pharmacy chain that focuses on helping people achieve greater wellbeing.

Charles F. Lowrey, CEO of Prudential Financial

Charles F. Lowrey, CEO of Prudential Financial
Cropped. Image source: YouTube

School(s) attended:

  • Princeton
  • Yale
  • Harvard Business School

Graduation year:

  • 1979 (Princeton)
  • 1982 (Yale)
  • 1988 (Harvard)

Degree:

  • BA in Architecture (Princeton)
  • Masters of Architecture (Yale)
  • MBA (Harvard)

When did Charles F. Lowrey become CEO of Prudential Financial: 2018

# of employees they have: 50,492

Company annual revenue: $62.99 billion

What does Prudential Financial do?

Prudential Financial is a company that offers multiple financial services products such as insurance, loans, retirement solutions, and more.

Juan Ricardo Luciano, CEO of Archer Daniels Midland

Juan Ricardo Luciano, CEO of Archer Daniels Midland
Cropped. Image source: ADM

School(s) attended: Buenos Aires Institute of Technology

Graduation year: 1982 (estimated)

Degree: Bachelors of Science

When did Juan Ricardo Luciano become CEO of Archer Daniels Midland: 2015

# of employees they have: 31,600

Company annual revenue: $64.34 billion

What does Archer Daniels Midland do?

Archer Daniels Midland is one of the world’s largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers.

Gregory Hayes, CEO of United Technologies

Gregory Hayes, CEO of United Technologies
Cropped. Image source: United Technologies

School(s) attended: Purdue University

Graduation year: 1982

Degree: Bachelors of Economics

When did Gregory Hayes become CEO of United Technologies: 2014

# of employees they have: 240,200

Company annual revenue: $66.50 billion

What does United Technologies do?

United Technologies is a technology holding company that owns tons of brands operating around the world.

Worried you’re falling behind at work? You probably have more career success than you think – that’s the next article and it begins on the next page

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