In order to become a CEO, you have to at least get an undergraduate degree, right? And your chances are even better with a master’s or doctorate degree, right?

In a society where we place heavy importance on secondary education, these are pretty common assumptions. As it turns out, however, the road to success is not so clear-cut.

Some CEOs of great renown, such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, never finished college. Instead, they dropped out to pursue their passions. This raises an important question: What impact, if any, does higher education have on your shot at the C-suite?

Fundera wanted to know, so we conducted a study of CEO education. You might be surprised to learn that almost 10 percent of the CEOs we surveyed didn’t receive a degree at all. That certainly doesn’t mean education is worthless, as evidenced by the fact that more than 80 percent of the CEOs we polled received at least a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, the majority of CEOs earned their degrees at lesser-known universities, not the Ivy Leagues.

So, what’s the conclusion? Your education is important, but your drive, passion, persistence, and optimism are what will get you to the executive level. Check out the infographic summarizing Fundera‘s findings below:


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