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These 9 colleges produce the most CEOs

University of Michigan
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University of Michigan

As the cost of college rises, several high-ranking business executives have suggested that it may no longer be worth it. But cost aside, attending college is still the most common pathway to becoming a CEO.

The UK Domain analyzed data on the CEOs from the 100 biggest companies in the Fortune 500 and the 100 biggest companies on the London Stock Exchange and found that the vast majority of CEOs have spent some serious time in school. Just three of these top execs never attended college and 100 had earned an undergraduate degree and a postgraduate degree.

According to the UK Domain, one of the largest website registries in the world, the CEOs of the companies in the world come from a fairly wide range of colleges. "The CEOs of the FTSE 100 and Fortune 100 companies are arguably some of the most influential leaders in the world," said James Barnes, a company spokesperson. "We conducted this research in order to understand what this elite group of individuals have in common, and what it takes to climb to the top."

Here are the nine schools that granted the most undergraduate degrees to future top CEOs:

5. Bowdoin College (tie)

Number of CEO alumni: 2
Tuition and fees: $51,848 (2017-18)
Total enrollment: 1,806

5. Carleton College (tie)

Number of CEO alumni: 2
Tuition and fees: $52,782 (2017-18)
Total enrollment: 2,105

4. Imperial College (tie)

Number of CEO alumni: 3
UK and EU tuition fee: £9,250/$12,884 (2018-19)
Total enrollment: 16,292

4. University of Michigan — Ann Arbor (tie)

Number of CEO alumni: 3
In-state tuition and fees: $14,826 (2017-18)
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $47,476 (2017-18)
Total enrollment: 44,718

3. Cornell University (tie)

Number of CEO alumni: 4
Tuition and fees: $52,853 (2017-18)
Total enrollment: 22,319

3. Texas A&M University (tie)

Number of CEO alumni: 4
In-state tuition and fees: $10,030 (2017-18)
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $30,208 (2017-18)
Total enrollment: 65,302

2. University of Cambridge (tie)

Number of CEO alumni: 5
UK and EU tuition fee: £9,250/$12,884 (2018-19)
Total enrollment: 21,656

2. University of Oxford (tie)

Number of CEO alumni: 5
UK and EU tuition fee: £9,250/$12,884 (2018-19)
Total enrollment: 23,195

1. Harvard University

Number of CEO alumni: 6
Tuition and fees: $48,949 (2017-18)
Total enrollment: 20,324

Harvard University's main campus in Cambridge, MA.
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Harvard University's main campus in Cambridge, MA.

While it is unsurprising that Harvard, Cambridge and Oxford topped the list, several less-famous institutions cracked the upper tier. Texas A&M University educated just as many CEOs as Cornell.

Bowdoin College was the smallest school on the list. Even with a student body of just 1,806, Bowdoin still managed to produce more than its fair share of powerful business leaders — including Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix.

The wide range of CEO-producing schools shows that it's not always about where you go but rather, that you go in the first place.

"Ultimately, what the research shows is that the difference between having a bachelor's degree and not having a bachelor's degree is huge," says Adrian Ridner, CEO and co-founder of online education company Study.com. "It's not as clear that the exact school makes that big of a difference at the end of the career."

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