In 1955, Fortune editor Edgar Smith, created a list of the country’s top 500 companies and firms in terms of gross annual revenue. The ranking became an annual signature of the magazine within a few years, and similar lists (such as the Fortune 1000, Fortune Global 2000, and 40 Under 40) have appeared in subsequent issues. Today, the Fortune 500 list is used as a barometer of success throughout the corporate world ― and higher-learning institutions that produce the founders and CEOs of highly ranked companies can use the prestige to recruit new students.

BestColleges.org has created this list of the 38 U.S. colleges and universities that have yielded the most Fortune 500 CEOs. Our goal is to provide a resource that prospective CEOs, financial officers, and other corporate employees can use to weigh their academic options.

Ranking Methodology

In addition to the 2013 Fortune 500 list, we consulted the ‘Alma Mater Index of Global CEOs,’ a ranking created by David Matthews of the Times Higher Education that notes the number of CEOs that attended each school on our list, the number of degrees conferred on all of these CEOs, and the combined gross annual revenue of their companies. Like Mr. Matthews’ list, ours places precedence on the number of CEOs over the other variables. In the event of a tie for number of CEOs, the ranking will be in favor of the schools that awarded the most degrees, and if there is still a tie, then the combined gross annual revenue is the deciding factor.

In addition to the school’s name and geographical location, this is how each data variable is defined:

  • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: This represents the total number of men and women who earned either an undergraduate or graduate-level degree from the school at some point prior to September 2013.
  • Number of Degrees: This figure represents the number of degrees conferred to Fortune 500 CEOs prior to September 2013; if this number exceeds the number of CEOs, then it should be assumed that at least one Fortune 500 executive has earned multiple degrees from that college or university.
  • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): This figure represents the total earnings of all Fortune 500 companies represented by CEOs who earned a degree from the given school. The amount is expressed in billions of dollars.

Each entry on our list of 38 is accompanied by a short blurb about the school that includes information from U.S. News & World Report, one of the most authoritative sources of comprehensive college rankings; the site uses a myriad of data points ― including cost of tuition, student outcomes, and student-to-faculty ratio ― to derive its annual ‘best of’ lists. We consulted two USNWR lists in particular for this list: the site’s 2013 rankings of national universities and best business schools in the country.

To ensure our list remains somewhat objective, we have chosen not to list specific company or executive names.

How to Interpret the Data

Bearing in mind that any company on the 2013 Fortune 500 list is performing reasonably well, readers can use our ranking to determine how consistently a given school produces successful CEOs. While the list primarily emphasizes the number of CEOs and degrees, it should be noted that gross revenue can also be used to evaluate the academic strengths of a particular college or university. A school that produces four Fortune 500 CEOs whose companies combined for a gross annual revenue of $500 million, for instance, might warrant more consideration than a school that produced twice as many CEOs representing companies that earned the same amount.

Another important consideration is college major. Most Fortune 500 companies are concentrated in specific niche fields, such as information technology, retail sales, and corporate investments. Students who hope to major in business management, marketing, or computer science will likely gain a lot of insight from this list, but readers who plan to study fields like psychology, social work, or education probably won’t derive much useful information from it.

Additionally, there are notable differences between the Alma Mater Index of Global CEOs and the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Princeton University, for instance, placed 14th among U.S. schools on the former list, but took the top spot in USNWR’s 2013 ranking of all national universities. Disparities between the two rankings should indicate that the number of Fortune 500 CEOs is not necessarily an indicator of overall quality at a given college or university, but rather the school’s rate of consistency for producing CEOs of top companies in years past.

Finally, please note that the Alma Mater Index of Global CEOs ― as the name implies ― features colleges and universities across the globe. Our list, on the other hand, exclusively features U.S. higher-learning institutions that have produced at least two Fortune 500 CEOs.

The Schools With the Most Fortune 500 CEOs

  1. 1. Harvard University – Cambridge, MA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 25
    • Number of Degrees: 31
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $1,548.3

    Harvard University
    produces more Fortune 500 CEOs than any other school by a considerable margin (more than double the number of second-ranked Stanford University), and combined revenue for all of the companies these CEOs represent exceeds $1 trillion. Harvard’s placement on our list is not very surprising, as the country’s oldest university is regularly named among the finest higher-learning institutions in the world. U.S. News & World Report placed Harvard second among all national universities in its latest ranking, and the Harvard Business School tied with Stanford to nab the top spot in the list of the country’s best business schools.

  2. 2. Stanford University – Palo Alto, CA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 11
    • Number of Degrees: 13
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $492.5

    Situated near Silicon Valley, Stanford produces a high volume of graduates who go on to find success in the technology sector. U.S. News & World Report ranked Stanford fifth among all national universities, and The Stanford Graduate School of Business tied with Harvard’s to claim first place in the list of best business schools in the U.S.

  3. 3. University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 8
    • Number of Degrees: 9
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $405.4

    This Ivy League school is home to the Wharton School, which offers an MBA program specifically geared toward future executives. Penn tied for seventh place, among all national universities on the 2013 College Ranking from U.S. News & World Report, and the site ranked Wharton third among all business schools in the country.

  4. 4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, MA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 7
    • Number of Degrees: 8
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $428.5

    Like Stanford, MIT is a major producer of graduates who hold degrees in computer science, information technology, and other fields prized in online business. MIT tied for seventh in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of national universities, while the MIT Sloan School of Management tied for fourth place in the list of best U.S. business schools.

  5. 5. Cornell University – Ithaca, NY

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 6
    • Number of Degrees: 8
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $375.3

    The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University offers one- and two-year MBA programs, as well as MBAs geared toward executives and students who hope to make a living in the technology sector. U.S. News & World Report ranked Cornell 16th among all national universities, while the Samuel Curtis Johnson GSM placed 16th among all business schools in the country.

  6. 6. University of Chicago – Chicago, IL

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 6
    • Number of Degrees: 7
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $489.9

    The University of Chicago Booth School of Business offers several opportunities for MBA students; in addition to standard, full-time enrollment, evening and weekend programs are available, as is the school’s prestigious ‘Summer Business Scholars’ program. The University of Chicago tied with Stanford for fifth place on U.S. News & World Report’s national university ranking, while the Booth School of Business placed sixth among the country’s b-schools.

  7. 7. Northwestern University – Evanston, IL

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 6
    • Number of Degrees: 7
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $323.7

    In addition to standard and Executive MBA programs, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management offers a doctoral program and Master of Science in Management Studies. Northwestern tied with Johns Hopkins University for 12th place on the U.S. News & World Report 2013 national university ranking, while Kellogg tied with MIT’s Sloan for fourth place among all business schools.

  8. 8. Columbia University – New York, NY

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 6
    • Number of Degrees: 6
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $545.7

    Although Columbia placed eighth for the number of Fortune 500 CEOs, the New York school ranked third in terms of combined gross annual revenue for the companies of these CEOs (after Harvard and Southern Methodist). Columbia took the fourth-place spot in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of all national universities, while Columbia Business School placed eighth among all b-schools.

  9. 9. Yale University – New Haven, CT

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 6
    • Number of Degrees: 6
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $330.5

    In addition to standard, full-time MBA and Executive MBA programs, Yale School of Management also offers a Master of Advanced Management degree and allows students to enroll in the ‘Global Pre-MBA Leadership Program.’ Yale took third place in U.S News & World Report’s most recent ranking of national universities, while the Yale School of Management placed 13th among all business schools.

  10. 10. Southern Methodist University – Dallas, TX

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 4
    • Number of Degrees: 5
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $575.3

    The companies led by Southern Methodist grads combine for more gross annual revenue than any other school on our list. That’s particularly amazing because SMU actually boasts fewer than five Fortune 500 CEO graduates total ― although its placement in U.S. News & World Report rankings has remained relatively low. The school tied with the University of Georgia for 60th place actually among all national universities, while Southern Methodist’s Cox School of Business tied for 52nd place actually on the list of best b-schools in the country.

  11. 11. University of Southern California – Los Angeles, CA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 4
    • Number of Degrees: 4
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $704

    At the USC Marshall School of Business, students can choose to enroll in a series of ‘Executive Education Courses’ that tackle topics like leadership, Lean Six Sigma, and even food industry management. USC tied with four other schools for 23rd place (including nearby UCLA) on the 2013 U.S. News & World Report ranking of all national universities, while Marshall placed 26th among all business schools.

  12. 12. New York University – New York, NY

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 4
    • Number of Degrees: 4
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $327.1

    Programs at NYU Stern School of Business include full- and part-time MBAs, an Executive MBA, and dual degrees that allow students to combine their MBA with a JD, MD, MPA, or other graduate-level credentials. NYU tied with three other schools to place 32nd on U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of national universities, while Stern placed 10th among the country’s finest b-schools.

  13. 13. Texas A&M University – College Station, TX

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 3
    • Number of Degrees: 3
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $237.8

    The Mays Business School at Texas A&M University includes undergraduate programs, as well as standard, Professional, and Executive MBA degrees. Texas A&M tied for 69th among all national universities on U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking, and Mays placed 35th on the site’s list of best business schools.

  14. 14. Princeton University – Princeton, NJ

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 3
    • Number of Degrees: 3
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $218.7

    Although Princeton claims three Fortune 500 CEOs among its alumni, the university is better known for its programs outside the realm of business and IT, in fields like law, medicine, and liberal arts. For this reason, Princeton took the coveted top spot in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 ranking of all national universities, despite the fact that it does not currently host a business school.

  15. 15. University of Notre Dame – South Bend, IN

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 3
    • Number of Degrees: 3
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $177.8

    In addition to standard and Executive MBA programs, The University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business also offers M.S. degrees in accountancy and business, as well as a Master of Nonprofit Administration credential. Notre Dame tied with Rice University for 18th place on U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 list of national universities, while Mendoza tied for 27th place among the country’s best business schools.

  16. 16. San Diego State University – San Diego, CA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 3
    • Number of Degrees: 3
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $161.6

    The SDSU College of Business and Administration offers a standard MBA, Executive MBA, Sports MBA, and M.S. degrees in accountancy and information systems. However, SDSU tied for 152nd (third lowest on our list, after the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and the University of Houston); SDSU’s business school tied for 86th place among all U.S. b-schools.

  17. 17. Pennsylvania State University – State College, PA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 3
    • Number of Degrees: 3
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $160.4

    The Penn State Smeal College of Business offers standard undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. management credentials, and is one of the only schools in the country where students can earn a Master of Supply Chain Management degree. Penn State tied with Case Western Reserve University for 37th place on the U.S. News & World Report list of national universities, and Smeal ranked tied for 49th on the list of best b-schools.

  18. 18. Purdue University – West Lafayette, IN

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 3
    • Number of Degrees: 3
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $135.4

    Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management offers business management credentials for undergraduate and graduate-level students, as well as the ‘Global MBA’ program for those who wish to study abroad in Europe, Asia, or South America. According to U.S. News & World Report, Purdue placed 68th among all national universities and Krannert tied for 44th among the country’s best business schools.

  19. 19. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 3
    • Number of Degrees: 3
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $113.3

    Michigan has produced just two Fortune 500 CEOs, but their companies outearned those of the previous five schools on the list. The Stephen M. Ross School of Business offers full- and part-time, evening, and weekend MBA programs, as well as Global and Executive MBAs and master’s degrees in three related fields (accounting, supply chain management, and entrepreneurship). The university tied for 28th among U.S. News & World Report’s national universities ranking, while the Ross School tied for 14th among all b-schools.

  20. 20. University of Kansas – Lawrence, KS

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 3
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $231.1

    The University of Kansas School of Business offers a full-time MBA, ‘MBA for Working Professionals’ that features evening courses, and a master’s degree in supply chain management and logistics. Kansas tied for 101st among all national universities in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent poll, although the business school failed to place among the site’s list of top 100 b-schools in the country.

  21. 21. Georgetown University – Washington, D.C.

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 3
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $162.2

    In addition to standard full- and part-time MBA programs, Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business allows students to enter an ‘Executive Custom’ program, with requirements designed around the student’s schedule. Georgetown tied with two other schools to claim the 20th spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of national universities, and McDonough placed 25th on the best business school list.

  22. 22. University of Cincinnati – Cincinnati, OH

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 3
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $89.6

    The Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati allows students to customize their MBA program and/or earn their degree partially online, making it an attractive option for students who are juggling other commitments (such as childcare or full-time employment). Cincy tied with five other schools to 132nd among all national universities on U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking, while the Lindner College placed 99th among the country’s top b-schools.

  23. 23. Babson College – Babson Park, MA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $335

    Babson’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business offers four graduate-level degree programs for prospective corporate employees: a Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Management in Entrepreneurial Leadership, Master of Science in Accounting, and a Certificate of Advanced Management. Interestingly, while Babson College was not ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s list of national universities, F.W. Olin placed 56th on the site’s list of best business schools.

  24. 24. Duke University – Durham, NC

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $218.2

    Duke’s Fuqua School of Business offers four MBA programs (Daytime, Cross Continent, Global Executive, and Weekend Executive), as well as an advanced degree in health sector management and several joint degrees. Duke earned the seventh-place slot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of national universities, while Fuqua placed 11th among the country’s finest b-schools.

  25. 25. University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, MN

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $213.7

    In addition to standard and Executive MBA programs, the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota offers more niche-specific credentials, such as master’s degrees in human resources and industrial relations, business analytics, and business taxation. According to U.S. News & World Report, Minnesota tied for 69th place among all national universities and Carlson tied for 23rd on the list of best business schools.

  26. 26. Brown University – Providence, RI

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $207.7

    Like Princeton, Brown University does not host a business school ― and as a result, it places much lower on the list than its other Ivy League counterparts (with the exception of Dartmouth, which has not yielded any Fortune 500 CEOs as of September 2013). However, the school earned a 14th-place ranking on U.S. News & World Report’s list of national universities.

  27. 27. University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, PA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $188.3

    Pitt’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration offers an MBA, Executive MBA, and M.S. in Accounting to graduate-level students, as well as 11 undergraduate degree and certificate programs. Pitt tied with five other schools to claim 62nd place in U.S. News & World Report’s list of national universities, while Katz tied for 61st on the best b-schools list.

  28. 28. Clark University – Worcester, MA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $174.5

    In addition to the Graduate School of Management (where students can earn standard and Executive MBAs), Clark University also hosts the Small Business Development Center for aspiring entrepreneurs to learn the fundamentals of running their own company or startup. Clark tied with six other schools to place 75th on U.S. News & World Report’s national university ranking, but Clark’s GSM was not ranked in the best b-schools list.

  29. 29. University of Oklahoma – Norman, OK

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $173

    The Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma offers 13 undergraduate programs (in areas like entrepreneurship, finance, and supply chain management), three MBA credentials (including an Executive MBA in Energy), and half a dozen Ph.D. specializations. OU tied with seven other schools to claim 101st place on U.S. News & World Report’s list of national universities, and Price tied for 67th among the country’s best business schools.

  30. 30. Tufts University – Medford, MA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $147.7

    Unlike other traditional business schools, the Tufts Fletcher School specializes in degree programs for students who wish to venture into global business, international law, and diplomacy. Tufts tied with the University of Michigan for the 28th slot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of national universities, while Fletcher was unranked on the best b-schools list.

  31. 31. University of San Diego – San Diego, CA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $142.2

    The USD’s School of Business allows students to earn traditional MBAs, as well as an MBA with an international focus or an M.S. degree in real estate. USD tied with five other schools to earn 91st place on U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 ranking of national universities, while the business school tied for 99th among the country’s best b-schools.

  32. 32. University of Virginia – Charlottesville, VA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $119.1

    The Darden School of Business at UV offers a traditional MBA, as well as MBA programs for executives and global executives. Virginia tied for 23rd place on the 2013 U.S. News & World Report national university list, and Darden placed 12th on the site’s ranking of best business schools in the U.S.

  33. 33. University of North Carolina at Charlotte – Charlotte, NC

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $112.2

    UNC-Charlotte’s Belk College of Business offers a handful of undergraduate, graduate, and global business programs, including unconventional degrees like M.S. in Mathematical Finance, M.S. in Real Estate, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Science. UNCC ranked 201st on U.S. News & World Report’s national universities list ― lower than any other school on our list (with the exception of unranked Babson College and Wayne State University) ― while Belk was unranked on the best b-schools list.

  34. 34. University of California, Berkeley – Berkeley, CA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $98.3

    Despite its low ranking in terms of Fortune 500 CEOs, UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is generally considered one of the country’s finest b-schools. Students may pursue a full- or part-time standard or Executive MBA, as well as a Master of Financial Engineering degree. UC Berkeley tied for the 20th spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of national universities, while Haas placed seventh on the best b-schools list.

  35. 35. University of Colorado Boulder – Boulder, CO

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $96

    The Leeds School of Business at UC-Boulder offers several degrees within four main academic divisions: accounting, finance, management and entrepreneurship, and marketing. Colorado Boulder tied for 86th place on the most recent national university ranking from U.S. News & World Report, while Leeds tied for the 79th spot on the best business school list.

  36. 36. Wayne State University – Detroit, MI

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $67.4

    At the Wayne State University School of Business Administration, undergraduates can earn either a B.A. or a B.S. in business management, while master’s students can study business administration, accounting, or taxation. Wayne State University is the only school on our list to be unranked in either the national university or best business school rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

  37. 37. Boston College – Boston, MA

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $66.6

    BC’s Carroll School of Management offers an undergraduate program, three master’s degrees (business management, finance, and accounting), Ph.D.s in finance and organizational management, and 18 business-oriented dual degrees. Despite having only produced two Fortune 500 CEOs as of September 2013, BC tied for 30th place on the most recent national university ranking from U.S. News & World Report, while Carroll tied with two other business schools to nab the 40th spot on the best b-schools list.

  38. 38. University of Houston – Houston, TX

    • Number of Fortune 500 CEOs: 2
    • Number of Degrees: 2
    • Combined Gross Annual Revenue (in billions): $63.4

    The University of Houston ranked lower on our list than any other school ― but it should be noted that hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities have been unable to produce more than one Fortune 500 CEO. The Houston Texas Bauer College of Business offers bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. credentials in business management, as well as M.S. programs in finance and accounting. Houston tied for 190th place on the 2013 national university ranking from U.S. News & World Report ― second lowest after UNC-Charlotte ― while Bauer tied for 96th place on the best b-schools list.