Mark Sutton, CEO of International Paper, the top maker of paper and packaging in North America, started near the bottom.
Sutton graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana State University. He joined International Paper in 1984 as an engineer at the Pineville, Louisiana, mill and has been with the company ever since. He became CEO in 2014.
Of his early days, Sutton said he chose LSU primarily because he wanted to get an engineering degree and stay in his home state.
For high schoolers weighing their college options, in-state schools can be far more affordable than a private university. Families with students in four-year private colleges spent about $43,900 in 2015-16; at four-year public colleges, it was less than $20,000, according to the College Board. (For in-state students at LSU, tuition is less than $10,000 a year.)
Still, Sutton recalls, the transition was overwhelming.
With more than 25,000 students, the school was "almost a city unto itself," he said, and at that capacity, Sutton's freshman dorm had to be housed in LSU's illustrious Tiger Stadium.