Do You Need an MBA to be a Highly Paid CEO?

One of the highest paid CEOs in the world is Fuqua (Duke) MBA Tim Cook. He is the CEO at Apple and his compensation package totals $378 million. This raises the question: do you need an MBA to be one of the highest paid CEOs in the world?

Not exactly.

If you take a look at a list of the globe’s wealthiest people, you’ll find CEOs that have dropped out of school (Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, Bill Gates). You’ll also see many that simply inherited it like the Sam Walton progeny. A large number tinkered and invented their way to the list like Dell, Steve Jobs, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google.

Yes, there are other MBAs on the list beside Cook. Russia’s Alexei Mordashov is the wealthiest MBA (he’s ranked #29). Michael Bloomberg has an MBA from Harvard and ends up at #30.

The wealthiest people in the world probably don’t have an MBA. But that doesn’t mean an MBA is without merit. The MBA is about getting you into that corner office, not putting you on the list of wealthiest people in the world.

But it is important to note that 40 of the 100 best paid CEO’s in America have an MBA.

MBA Enrollments Down in the UK

According to a recent article in the Financial Times, enrollment in the 16 full-time MBA programs are down 10-15% in the UK. The economy is the primary reason, but another reason is the strict visa requirements put in place by the government. Just a short time ago, foreign graduates of UK MBA programs lost the right to work for two years in the UK–which also has an impact on interest in the schools there.

Some schools are trying to find ways to attract more students. Oxford’s Saïd school is trying out a community education bonds program in which alumni invest in the students who follow after them. Prodigy Finance, which runs the bond program, says that there are other UK MBA schools looking to carry out the plan as well.