Are MBA degrees surefire among top CEOs?

Getting an MBA does NOT necessarily mean surefire becoming a CEO. In fact, only thirty-one (31) out of the top 100 CEOs in the Fortune 500 companies have an MBA. 

Not only that, the majority of the thirty-one (31) CEOs did not get their MBA degree from prestigious and top-rank business schools. Most of them reached the peak of their careers by only having a college degree at their disposal. However, fewer people were reported to achieve similar standing as college drop-outs. A couple of the notable names are the two tech billionaire pioneers Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Steve Jobs from Apple and Pixar.

Ultimately, earning an MBA isn’t a qualification for someone to become a CEO. 

Berkshire Hathaway CEO, Warren Buffet, stated that it is more important to establish long-term habits and having the “highest grades in the class” is not what “sets apart a big winner from the rest of the pack.”

How MBA degrees matter

According to the US News report, two of the most number of leading CEOs who graduated from are Harvard Business School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton school. It was reported that four (4) and three (3) CEOs graduated from the mentioned schools respectively.

Listed on the top 100 companies of the Fortune 500, twenty-three (23) business schools trained the top-performing CEOs. 

Not to mention, the tech industry has a large pool of job opportunities for MBA earners. A former executive of Microsoft, Nick H. Kamboj, told that tech companies are more eager to hire MBA grads who have a prior background as an engineer or programmer and took business school after that. He said that tech companies need to hire managers who gain hard skills as well as business acumen. He added that while an MBA isn’t a prerequisite, having experience in business leadership roles will help. 

One needs the foundation of business acumen to set strategic direction appropriately and to ensure that the company is technologically moving in the right direction.

In the end, having an MBA is either the complete package or something to be not considered from career goals. CEOs have to learn how to speak in terms of business and technical skills which may require expertise on both parties.