Future CEOs often trace their professional careers through important operational functions, sometimes leading large or international divisions of the company before occupying the most important position. In some cases, a strong financial background can be an advantage. Nearly half of the Fortune 100's chief executives formerly served as division chief financial officers. Unless you're a founder, your chances of reaching the top position without a degree are virtually non-existent.
Just over half of the Fortune 100 CEOs have a degree in business, economics or accounting, while 27% studied engineering or science and 14% law. Fortunately, there's no need to spend your money on one of the best schools right now. Alan Mulally, from Ford, for example, earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas. Stephenson graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma.
In his latest book, Malcom Gladwell argues that among people with similar SAT scores, those who attend a school with a lower score perform better in life. He argues that this allows them to maintain their confidence, while even intelligent children can struggle in a class full of students with superior academic performance.