US tops CEO list for major firms

Harvard Young people who hope to end up at the helm of a major international company should head to the United States, France or Japan to study, according to research.

A new league table has found that these three countries have the universities producing the most chief executives of the world's biggest firms.

The first Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index: Global Executives ranks universities based on the numbers of 2013 Fortune Global 500 CEOs they have educated - the heads of companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Harvard takes the top spot, with 25 bosses of the top 500 companies holding at least one degree from the US institution. This could be an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification.
They include Margaret C Whitman of Hewlett-Packard, Jeffrey R Immelt of General Electric and Vittorio Colao of Vodafone.

In second place was the University of Tokyo, which has educated 13 CEOs.

The rankings show that the US dominates the top 10 with four entries - Harvard, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), while France has three - Ecole Polytechnique, HEC Paris and ENA, Ecole Nationale d'Administration.

Rounding out the top 10 is Japan with two institutions - the University of Tokyo and Keio University, and South Korea with Seoul National University.

The UK's highest entry is Oxford in 21st place.

There are three other UK universities in top 100: Cambridge (45th), City University London (89th) and Cranfield (92nd).

The US not only dominates the top 10, but also the top 100, with 38 institutions listed, followed by China with 15.

A spokesman for the rankings said: "While it is perhaps unsurprising to see Harvard University at the top of table - it has awarded degrees to 5% of the CEOs leading the Fortune Global 500 companies, almost twice as many as any other institution - the inaugural Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index: Global Executives shows there is incredible diversity in the education of these successful men and women.

"While most CEOs attended university in their home country for their first degree, for the large proportion who went on to study for a masters, MBA or PhD degree, many of them travelled abroad to do so - indeed, travel does appear to broaden the mind."