There have been various studies as scientists and other curious individuals try to determine what aspects of a human make he or she more likely to become the chief executive of a company. There is a wide range of companies in the world, with CEOs to match. When you look at these studies — scientific or anecdotal — I’m not convinced there is much to learn, but they are interesting anyway.
This isn’t a list of things one should do in order to increase one’s chances of becoming a chief executive. These are just two things that might increase your chances that aren’t related to the typical “how to succeed” advice.
Be a first-born child. A recent study has shown that 43% of CEOs were born first, 23% were born last, and 33% were middle children. First-born children have higher expectations thrust upon them, given more responsibilities such as taking care of younger children, and have more of the personality traits that also help individuals succeed in business, like confidence and discipline.
Attend a public university. While Harvard University is the school that has produced the most future CEOs when compared to any other school, any one CEO is more likely to have attended a public university rather than a private. That’s by a four to one margin. That may be simply due to the fact there are more students attending public universities than private, but it also means that you certainly don’t have to be an Ivy League graduate to get the top spot.
A CEO-related study that would I would find interesting focuses on motivation. It would involve answers to the question of why one would want to become a CEO. Is it the money, benefits, prestige, stress, power, women, etc.? For most, I bet the answer would be money, without a doubt. That’s clearly a result of the outrageous compensation that many CEOs receive and are touted in the media. Perhaps this creates a drive among some people necessary for the economy to grow new, future business leaders.
First-Born Kids Become CEO Material [USA Today]
Harvard and Wisconsin Tie in Turning Out the Most CEOs in U.S. [Bloomberg]
Published or updated September 4, 2007.