June 28, 2012
By Menachem Wecker
At some universities, women outnumber men in graduate programs, and The New York Times reported in December 2011 that more young women are leaving their jobs to go back to school. The 18 women who made the 2012 Fortune 500 CEO list may now have some of the most secure jobs in the workforce, but three of the CEOs chose not only to go to graduate school earlier in their careers, but also to earn multiple advanced degrees.
Irene B. Rosenfeld, of Kraft Foods (No. 50 on Fortune's list), earned doctoral, M.S., and B.A. degrees from Cornell University; Sherilyn McCoy, of Avon Products (No. 234), holds an MBA from the Business School at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey—New Brunswick and Newark; a graduate degree from the Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science; and a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts—Dartmouth; and Indra K. Nooyi, of PepsiCo (No. 41), holds a graduate degree from Yale University and an MBA and a B.S. from universities in India.
The 18 women CEOs represent 3.6 percent of the 498 chief executive officers on the Fortune list. (Two members of the Fortune 500 list are CEOs of two different Fortune 500 companies, which is why there are 498 CEOs.) The 18 women on the list collectively earned 13 graduate degrees and 18 college degrees, thus posting a 100 percent college graduate rate, compared to 92.4 percent overall for the Fortune 500 CEOs who went to college.
As an alumna of Wellesley College (B.A., 1973), Garcia C. Martore, the CEO of Gannett (No. 465 on the Fortune list), is the only woman on the CEO list to hold a degree from a women's college. Many of the women chief executive officers' alma maters ranked within the top 10 for their ranking category as used in U.S. News's college rankings. None of the women CEOs graduated from schools that were Unranked or Rank Not Published in U.S. News's graduate school or college rankings.
Angela F. Braly, of WellPoint (No. 45), is the only female chief executive officer on Fortune's list who went to law school. Braly earned a J.D. from Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law.
The Fortune 500 companies with female CEOs rank from No. 10 (Hewlett-Packard) to No. 465 (Gannett), with six of the 18 CEOs working at Fortune 50 companies.
See the list of colleges and graduate schools that count the women of the Fortune 500 CEO list among their alumni:...