Our first list is aimed at those students who have an interest in business. As we go through this list, which is of CEOs and presidents of 100 of the most recognizable US companies, keep in mind that extremely few people ever make it to this position in a major company. As you know, many people have long, productive, happy careers that culminate in a position just below or even significantly below this, and the lists of where they went to college would be very similar.

Company

Abercrombie and Fitch

Aetna

Airbnb

Allstate

Alphabet

Amazon

American Airlines

American Express

Apple

AT&T

Bank of America

Boeing

BoozAllenHamilton

Capital One

CBS

Cigna

Cisco

Citigroup

Comcast

Corning

Costco

Cray Supercomputers

CVS

Dell Computers

Domino’s

Duke Energy

eBay

Exxon Mobil

Facebook

Fedex

Ford

General Electric

General Motors

Goldman Sachs

H+R Block

Halliburton

Hershey

Hertz

Hilton

Home Depot

Honeywell

IBM

Intel

Intuit

JPMorgan Chase

Johnson and Johnson

Kaiser Permanente

Liberty Mutual

LinkedIn

LL Bean

Lockheed Martin

Lowe’s

Marriott

McAfee

McDonald’s

Merck

MetLife

MGM Resorts International

NBC Universal

Netflix

Nike

Northrop Grumman

Nvidia

Office Depot

Pinterest

Pitney Bowes

Pixar

PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Procter and Gamble

Raytheon

ReMax

Rite Aid

Rosetta Stone

SAIC

salesforce.com

Sirius XM

Sony Pictures

Sotheby’s

Southwest Airlines

Starbucks

State Farm

Sunoco

Target

Texas Instruments

Time Warner

Twitter

Tyson Foods

Unisys

United Airlines

UPS

US News and World Report

US Steel

Vanguard Group

Visa

Walmart

Walt Disney

Wayfair

Wells Fargo

Yelp

Zillow

College CEO/President Attended

Lafayette College

Boston College

Rhode Island School of Design

U Michigan

U Michigan/U Maryland

Princeton

Albion College

Manhattan College

Auburn

U Central Oklahoma

Brown

Virginia Tech

U Wisconsin–Eau Claire

Stanford

Pace University

Texas A+M

U North Carolina Chapel Hill

Harvard

U Pennsylvania

Lehigh

San Diego State

Washington State

U Pittsburgh

U Texas (dropped out)

U North Carolina Chapel Hill

Miami U of Ohio

Virginia Tech

Texas A+M

Harvard

Yale

U Michigan

Washington College

Kettering U

Harvard/Middlebury

U Dayton

McNeese State

Shippensburg U

SUNY Albany

U Virginia

Michigan State

Michigan State

Northwestern

U Buffalo

U Central Florida

Tufts

US Military Academy

Golden Gate U

Hartwick College

U Pennsylvania

Dickinson College

U Alabama

U Memphis

Luther College

Princeton

Duke

Penn State

Syracuse

Trinity College

Colgate

Bowdoin College

Penn State

James Madison U

Oregon State

Pacific Lutheran U

Yale

Denison U

Syracuse

SUNY Oswego

Duke

Rutgers

Metropolitan State U of Denver

U Virginia

U Illinois

U Arizona

U Southern California

St. Bonaventure U

SUNY Albany

Princeton

U Texas–Austin/Villanova

New Mexico State

Illinois Wesleyan

Trinity U

UCLA

Union College

Loyola Marymount

New York U (dropped out)

Bemidji State U

SUNY Binghamton

U Southern California

Delta State

Springfield College

Bradley U

Harvard

Iona College

U Arkansas

Indiana University

Cornell

Johns Hopkins

U Illinois

Stanford

Sources: Corporate websites, Bloomberg News, Wikipedia

Note that not only are some of their alma maters not among the most selective, they’re schools that you might never have guessed would produce such leaders and may never even have heard of. Why is this? Well, there’s not one answer to that.

Some blossomed late. Some aren’t strong with testing but are excellent with people. Some are excellent with testing but chose to stay close to home for college for some reason. Some went to the college they could best afford rather than the one that was the most selective. Some wanted a specific program only offered at less selective schools. Some really wanted to go to the college where their friends or boyfriend/girlfriend were going. For some, going to a less selective college allowed them to shine in a way that gave them the confidence they needed to become a leader. And quite a few did apply to one or more MC25 colleges, but weren’t admitted because those colleges have far fewer seats than qualified applicants, and they just barely missed making the cut.

And so on. There are as many stories as there are people on this list. What seems clear, though–with around 80% of CEOs having not attended an MC25 college–is that if your kids end up going into business for a career, they will have similar options open to them whether they attend an MC25 school or one that’s a bit less selective.