Earning an engineering degree may not necessarily make you a CEO, but it’s a good start.
Many of the biggest and wealthiest companies in the world are headed by engineers. Apple, Amazon and Google, for example, are all led by individuals educated in engineering. So are Boeing, IBM, Microsoft, Shell, General Motors and Dow Chemical.
Those few powerhouses, however, are just the tip of the executive iceberg. A 2011 study by the consulting firm Stuart Spencer concluded that approximately one-third of top executives in S&P 500 companies were educated as engineers.
The reasons are many. Having earned what Time magazine once called “the toughest degree in the U.S. educational establishment,” engineers tend to be hard-working. They’re also detail-oriented and practical. They know what works, what’s efficient and what’s safe. And, having had a dose of engineering economics in their formative years, they tend to know how to weigh costs against benefits.
Here, we’ve collected photos and engineering background information on CEOs at some of the world’s top companies. From Apple and Amazon to Alphabet and Analog Devices, we present 15 of the best and brightest.