10 top colleges for tech CEOs

Surprise: The No. 1 pick isn't Harvard, Stanford or MIT

Which U.S. college produced the most high-tech CEOs? Surprisingly, it isn't one of the nation's premier technical universities: California Institute of Technology or Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Nor is it a top-three Ivy -- Harvard University, Yale University or Princeton University -- known collectively as "HYP."  Indeed, none of the top CEOs in the U.S. tech industry graduated from Yale -- or other elite schools such as Brown University, the University of Chicago or Johns Hopkins University. We analyzed the educational backgrounds of the 50 highest-paid and most powerful CEOs in the U.S. tech industry. Here's what we discovered.

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No. 4: Six colleges tie for fourth place

The 50 top U.S. tech industry CEOs received a collective 81 degrees, including undergraduate, master's and doctorate diplomas. Six universities share the honor of representing two degrees each on our list. They are: Caltech (attended by Dominic Orr of Aruba Networks for his master's and Ph.D.); Columbia University (attended by Ursula Burns of Xerox and Joe Tucci of EMC); Cornell University (attended by Lowell McAdam of Verizon and Dan Hesse of Sprint Nextel); Northwestern University (attended by Virginia Rometty of IBM and Paul Sagan of Akamai); Princeton University (attended by Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Meg Whitman of HP) and the University of Pennsylvania (attended by Brian Roberts of Comcast and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn).

Harvard seal

No. 3: Harvard ties for third place

Despite its position at the top of most college rankings, Harvard University represents only three of the 81 degrees held by U.S. high-tech CEOs. Too bad Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard after his sophomore year to start Facebook! Techies who held on to graduate from this Cambridge, Mass., institution include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics and economics. Our CEO list also includes two Harvard MBAs: Jim Whitehurst, CEO and president of Red Hat, and Meg Whitman, CEO and president of Hewlett-Packard.

Dartmouth seal

No. 3: Dartmouth ties for third place

It's rare for Big Green to be tied with the Crimson at anything, but both colleges represent three degrees that are held by U.S. high-tech CEOs. Dartmouth graduates include Enrique Salem, CEO and president of Symantec, who holds a bachelor's degree in computer science. Glenn Britt, CEO and chairman of Time Warner Cable, holds two degrees from this New Hampshire Ivy League school: a bachelor's degree in economics and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business.

Stanford seal

No. 2: Stanford settles for second

Despite its reputation as the must-attend college for aspiring tech CEOs, Stanford University represents just four of the 81 degrees on our list. Tech industry CEOs who graduated from this Silicon Valley institution include Scott McGregor, CEO and president of Broadcom, who holds an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master's degree in computer science and computer engineering from Stanford. Additionally, Google CEO Larry Page holds a master's degree in computer science from Stanford, as does Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix.

UC Berkeley seal

No. 1: Berkeley bests Stanford

Despite its laid-back, hippie image, the University of California at Berkeley is the No. 1 university for producing U.S. tech industry CEOs. Among the 81 degrees obtained by top tech CEOs, Berkeley represents five of them -- more than any other school on our list. Graduates include Paul Jacobs, CEO and chairman of Qualcomm, who holds three degrees from Berkeley: bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering. Another graduate of Berkeley is Paul Otellini, CEO and president of Intel, who holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business, as does Shantanu Narayan, CEO and president of Adobe.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.