Leadership

5 successful CEOs who majored in math

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Math nerds of the world, rejoice.

According to the Department of Education, students who study mathematics or science have the highest rates of employment.

In fact, the advantages of a degree in math are significant: According to the National Math and Science Initiative, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs are expected to grow 70 percent faster than overall employment during the next several years, and students that earn math degrees secure some of the highest-paying jobs.

Every March 14th, mathematicians celebrate "Pi Day." The numerical date shares the first three digits of the ratio Pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — approximately 3.14.

Mathematicians around the world are celebrating today in their own ways. Microsoft is celebrating Pi Day with a 31.4 percent discount on selected laptops. NASA is marking the mathematically-focused holiday with a "space math challenge."

Here at CNBC, we're honoring five super-successful CEOs who studied mathematics in college:

Steve Ballmer

Former CEO of Microsoft and owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Steve Ballmer was once a serious math nerd. In 1977, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics. He reportedly received a perfect score of 800 in the mathematical section of the SATs.

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Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin is the co-founder of Google and the president of its parent company, Alphabet. Brin double majored in mathematics and computer science at the University of Maryland at College Park. The name "Google" is inspired by the mathematical term "googol," which means ten raised to the power of a hundred.

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Reed Hastings

The Netflix CEO studied mathematics at Bowdoin College. After graduating, he joined the Peace Corps and taught high school mathematics in Swaziland.

Reed Hastings, Netflix
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Jeffrey R. Immelt

The CEO of General Electric, Immelt studied applied mathematics at Dartmouth University. He later received his MBA from Harvard Business School. According to Immelt, however, his bachelor's in mathematics is the more valuable of the two: "I use my math major every day — I don't use the MBA quite as much."


Mark Wilson | Getty Images

Indra Nooyi

The CEO of PepsiCo received a bachelor's of science degree in physics, chemistry and mathematics from Madras Christian College in 1974. Nooyi launched the Million Women Mentors initiative at PepsiCo, which aims to get more girls interested in STEM by providing them with female mentors in STEM fields.


Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
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