Which university produces the most CEOs?

Oxford University

Oxford University

The London School of Economics and Political Science has been revealed as the best university to attend if you want to become a CEO or Managing Director, according to new research.

The study, which was carried out by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, analysed data from over 8.4 million alumni who had left 121 UK universities since the year 2000 and had gone on to become either CEOs or Managing Directors, or found their own business.

LSE topped the table of universities that produce the most CEOs and MDs, with 16% of alumni going on to hold one of these positions. The London university beat Cambridge and Oxford, who make up the top three, to the top spot, with both scoring 13%.

Although the top three on the list are ranked among some of the best universities in the country, the study revealed a pattern that shows budding business leaders need not only apply to Oxbridge and Russell Group universities to stand the best chance of becoming a CEO or MD. The average university guide ranking of the universities in Hitachi Capital’s top 20 list was 70, with London Metropolitan (118), University of Westminster (117), Middlesex University (111), Goldsmiths (105) and University of Bradford (99) all featuring.

A clear North South divide was evident in the research too, with 12 of the top 20 universities based in London. The University of Cumbria is the highest ranking northern university on the list, while the Universities of Leicester, Bradford and Manchester also featured highly.

Edge Hill University was revealed as the university producing the least number of CEOs and MDs, with just 4% of alumni going on to hold these positions.

The top universities for producing CEOs and MDs

Index rank University Guardian university ranking Total %
1 London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 5 15.98
2 University of Cambridge 3 12.99
3 University of Oxford 1 12.75
4 Soas University of London 86 12.75
5 University of Cumbria 98 11.74
6 London Metropolitan University 118 11.49
7 University of Westminster 117 11.17
8 Buckinghamshire New University 92 11.16
9 Oxford Brookes University 43 10.98
10 Middlesex University 111 10.77
11 University of Leicester 77 10.44
12 Goldsmiths, University of London 105 10.19
13 University of Bradford 99 10.05
14 Kingston University 40 10.02
15 University of West London 34 9.98
16 City, University of London 95 9.95
17 King’s College London 42 9.87
18 University of East London 112 9.81
19 University of Manchester 25 9.73
20 London South Bank University 93 9.72

Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance’s research also examined the best universities to attend for those looking to launch their own business, and the University of the Arts London has the highest rate of former students that go on to start up their own venture (16%).

Two other London universities make up the top three, LSE with 14% and Goldsmiths University of London with 12%. Falmouth University also ranked highly (12%), finishing above both Oxford and Cambridge in 5th and 6th.

Once again, Edge Hill University was at the bottom of the pile, with only 5% of students who attended the university going on to begin their own venture.

Top universities for producing business founders

Index rank University Guardian university ranking %
1 University of the Arts London 45 15.83
2 London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 5 14.03
3 Goldsmiths, University of London 105 12.25
4 Falmouth University 88 12.09
5 University of Oxford 1 12.06
6 University of Cambridge 3 12.00
7 Soas University of London 86 11.47
8 University College London (UCL) 14 10.41
9 University for the creative arts 33 10.13
10 Middlesex University 111 10.11

Commenting on the findings, Andy Dodd, Managing Director at Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, said: “Our research proves that you don’t necessarily need to go to the top universities (according to the guides) to ensure you enjoy a highly successful business career. Many of the top universities for producing CEOs and business founders are among the lower ranked university guide schools, which should provide food for thought for many beginning the long process of applying for university.

“Hopefully some of our research helps to inspire the next generation of small business owners!”