The top 10 universities for becoming a CEO and earning £500k

London Business School
By Isabelle Bell, CA Today

4 March 2016

Graduates of London Business School, the University of Cambridge and the University of Birmingham are the most likely to become a CEO or other C-Suite business leader, according to new research.

The study, by crowdsourced pay-data website Emoulment, also found that alumni of the University of Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh have a greater chance of earning over £500,000.

Five per cent of London Business School graduates are employed in a C-Suite position, while 3.10% of Oxford alumni earn over £500,000 a year.

However, several prominent institutions including the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics do not feature in the list of top 10 universities that produce the most CEOs, which researchers said is because their alumni tend to pursue careers in large corporations that can have less chance of leadership positions.

The 10 universities that produce the most CEOs

University% of CEOs / C-Suite
1. London Business School5%
2. University of Cambridge3.9%
3. University of Birmingham3.2%
4. University of Strathclyde3.1%
5. Leeds Metropolitan University3.1%
6. University of London2.9%
7. Royal Holloway2.6%
8. University of Leicester2.6%
9. University of Sheffield2.3%
10. Brunel University London2.2%

Data source: Emoulment

In contrast, alumni from institutions such as London Business School and the University of Sheffield are more likely to start their own business or join SMEs, which may enable them to climb the ranks faster, the study suggested.

Emoulment said that its data shows that employers are more likely to look for “hands-on graduates and employ professionals without top academic credentials”.

Top 10 universities for earning £500,000+

University% of high earners
1. University of Oxford3.10%
2. University of Cambridge2.9%
3. University of Edinburgh2.5%
4. Bristol University2.1%
5. London Business School2.0%
6. London School of Economics1.4%
7. University of London1.2%
8. Cardiff University1.1%
9. University of Birmingham1.0%
10. Southampton University and Imperial College London0.9%

Data source: Emoulment

Alice Leguay, COO and Co-Founder at, said: “It's a very different world from a few years ago when the most aspirational jobs where finance and consulting at blue chip firms, usually going to top-tier Classics, or History university graduates with little idea of what the business world entailed.

“This new professional world order is an open door for professionals without top academic credentials to show they are just as, if not more, effective in the workplace.”

Emoulment analysed the data from 26,000 UK university graduates to identify which institutions were most likely to produce business leaders and high earners.

Image credit: London Business School, TiredofLondon / Creative Commons


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