China the place to study, and Harvard too, if you want to be a CEO

Polytechnic University and 15 on mainland make list of best places to get education for the top job

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 September, 2013, 7:03am

One Hong Kong university and 15 in mainland China have made the list of the best places to study if you want to be chief executive officer of a global company.

Polytechnic University was ranked 72nd out of 100 universities worldwide in the Alma Mater Index, a new study by Times Higher Education, which rates universities based on the studies of Fortune Global 500 CEOs.

Two top business chiefs were educated at Polytechnic University: Li Yue of China Mobile Communications and Chang Xiaobing of China United Network Communications, both of whom graduated with doctorates in business administration.

A spokesman said the university was proud of the achievements of its graduates but acknowledged there were many league tables, each with different sets of ranking criteria.

Harvard University topped the Alma Mater Index with 25 CEOs, while the University of Tokyo ranked second, having produced 13 company bosses.

Fifteen mainland Chinese universities accounted for 40 of the Fortune Global 500 CEOs, with Tsinghua University ranked highest at 13th. Shandong University, the China Europe International Business School and the Communist Party's central school also featured in the top 50.

"We have taken only the Fortune Global 500 list for this exercise, so the geography and demographics of these massive companies will have an impact on the results," said Phil Baty, editor-at-large of Times Higher Education magazine.

"So Hong Kong universities' clear strengths in nurturing top business talent outside the world's very, very biggest companies will not be recorded.

"By the same token, Chinese universities do exceptionally well on this list due to the prominence of large Chinese companies on the Fortune list, who tend to be led by Chinese nationals initially educated in China."

According to the Alma Mater Index, the heads of the world's three largest companies - Royal Dutch Shell, Wal-Mart Stores and Exxon Mobil - only obtained bachelor's degrees.

In the Times Higher Education world university rankings for 2012/2013, the University of Hong Kong ranked 35th out of 400 universities.