Running a Fortune 500 company seems like an out-of-reach dream for many, but some have climbed up the ranks of these companies to the ultimate position. Not all top CEOs have obtained MBA’s at prestigious universities but it is clear that obtaining an MBA often leads to success in this role which is why so many CEOs have an MBA. All the CEOs on this list claim their continued success in their MBA studies coupled with determination and hard work.
As the current Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc., Tim Cook helped pull Apple out of its financial woes in the late ’90s with its founder Steve Jobs. Although he is most well-known for his position at Apple, Cook has had many influential positions including at IBM, Compaq, and Intelligent Electronics. Like other successful people, Cook is known to work odd hours, sending his first emails of the day at 4:30 am and holding Sunday strategy meetings. He graduated from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and this has undeniably helped shape him into the successful leader that he has become today. With a GMAT score range of 660 – 740, Duke’s MBA is a tough program to get accepted to but we expect that Cook’s creative and critical thinking skills allowed him to excel on the GMAT. Our guess: 750
Mary Barra certainly earned her current position as the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors as she began working at the company at the age of 18. Over the years, she worked her way to the top, making her time at GM total over 30 years. She is the first female to hold the CEO position at the company and has been in it for 15 years. To ensure her continued upward growth in the company she attended Stanford Graduate Business School to obtain her MBA. Stanford has the highest average GMAT score of any of the top schools in the country at 737. Barra has not only successfully used her MBA to climb to the highest position in the company but has held many other leadership roles within the company on her journey to the top. We assume that she was determined to get a great score on the GMAT and achieved this as she attended graduate school on a GM fellowship. Our guess: 740
If you are not firstly familiar with him from being the CEO at Google, then you might recognize him from his congressional testimony in 2018. Sundar started off his career working at Mckinsey & Company and moved to Google in 2003 where he worked his way up the ladder through various positions until being offered the ultimate one, CEO. He was even considered for the CEO position at Microsoft but lost out to another member on our list: Satya Nadella. He obtained an MBA from Wharton School of Business where the GMAT average score is an impressive 730. We have no doubt that Sundar comfortably exceeds this range as his education history is crammed with awards and recognitions. Our guess on Sundar Pichai’s GMAT score: 770.
Satya has enjoyed a very successful tenure as CEO of Microsoft having changed the direction of the company back to its roots successfully, tripling its stock price and transforming Microsoft’s corporate culture into a more collaborative and learning-focused company. In 2018 he was named the best CEO of a US large firm and followed this by being named Person of the Year by the Financial Times. He has published a semi-autobiography: Hit Refresh and has a passion for continued learning. He attended Booth School of Business which has an average GMAT score of 730. With all his success we are sure that Satya scored well above this. Our guess: 750
Ranked as one of the most powerful women in the world for multiple years Indra Nooyi served as the CEO of Pepsi Co. for 12 years, from 2006 to 2018. Before her time at Pepsi, she held high-level positions at Johnson & Johnson, The Boston Consulting Group, and Motorola. By 2014 she was making close to $17 million dollars a year and has received several awards and recognitions. She attended Yale School of Management and although she did not pursue an MBA, she would have still needed to take the GMAT to get into her Master’s in Private and Public Management program. Yale has a median GMAT score of 720 and Indra would have attained a score that is close, if not exceeds this. Our Guess: 720
Voted one of the most influential people by Time Magazine, Jamie Diamon is the CEO and Chairman of JPMorgan Chase. He started his career at American Express after turning down offers from Goldman Sachs, the Lehman Brothers, and Morgan Stanley. Following this, he moved to JPMorgan Chase in 2000 and 5 years later was named CEO. He is one of the few bankers to become a billionaire during his time in banking. He attended Harvard School of Business which has a median GMAT score of 730. With countless achievements and successes in the banking industry, we are sure that he excelled during his program at the Ivy League school. Our guess: 760
Check out our MBA Titans on the Forbes List article next.
Contributor: Natalie Mathews