UW System ties with Harvard for most CEOs among graduatesThe University of Wisconsin System tied with Harvard University for educating the most chief executive officers of major companies in 2008, according to one report.
By: By Deborah Ziff/The Wisconsin State Journal, Superior Telegram
The University of Wisconsin System tied with Harvard University for educating the most chief executive officers of major companies in 2008, according to one report.
That Harvard University is churning out the heads of top businesses in no surprise, but the perch of UW System graduates is perhaps more unexpected.
The calculations, by global executive search firm Spencer Stuart, include individuals who graduated from any school in the UW System, although the majority are likely University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni.
According to the 2008 tally, 13 CEOs of S&P 500 companies got their bachelor’s degrees at Harvard and another 13 had bachelor’s degrees from UW System schools. Spencer Stuart would not release the names on their list, but at least 10 graduates of UW-Madison are CEOs of S&P 500 companies, according to a list provided by the university.
In 2007, Harvard, Princeton and the UW System tied for the title. Before 2004, Harvard alone held the top spot.
Known more for its parties and protests, the question is: Why UW-Madison?
Alumni and administrators speculate that the reason is probably part coincidence and part Madison moxie. They also say it’s good news for current students who reap the benefits of deep pockets and connections to the job market.
Carol Bartz was the latest Badger to join the elite club when she was named head of the Internet giant Yahoo earlier this year.
Besides Bartz, other UW-Madison graduates include David Lesar of Halliburton, John Rowe of Exelon and Thomas Falk of Kimberly Clark.
Glen Tellock, CEO of Manitowoc Co., graduated in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
His rise to the top at Manitowoc, a crane and food service equipment company, came courtesy of another UW-Madison grad. In turn, Tellock tries to hire Badgers from the College of Engineering.
“I do have a bias for people coming out of Madison,” he said.
He said he thinks the diversity of experiences at UW-Madison can help students succeed in the business world, where they will undoubtedly face many different personalities, opinions and challenges.
The university can also benefit from donations by business executives with ties to UW-Madison. Prominent business people contributed to the $85 million naming gift to the Wisconsin School of Business last year.
And it was through connections with Halliburton’s Lesar that UW-Madison secured the Halliburton Geoscience Visualization Center last year, with $300,000 in donated equipment. The lab has software and equipment that allows researchers to look at seismic images in 3-D.
“I can think of a number of relationships that would not happen without their commitment,” said UW-Madison School of Business Dean Mike Knetter. “The company could have come to Indiana. Instead, they came to us.”
Copyright © 2009, The Wisconsin State Journal/Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services