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For Top Executives, B-School Pays Off

The question of the decade has been whether one needs an MBA to get ahead and make the big bucks. Judging from the list of top-paid U.S. chief executives with MBA degrees, the degree might not seem necessary, but it can’t hurt either. The following 25 CEOs have survived the Great Recession, expanded sometimes struggling businesses, and were all armed with an MBA. Although many of them come from the likes of Harvard and Columbia business schools, there are also many who graduated from second- or third-tier programs. Here, meet and get to know the CEO MBAs with the fattest wallets.

Methodology: The list was compiled by Equilar, a executive compensation research firm, based on an analysis of companies reporting CEO compensation as of Nov. 19. It was limited to companies with revenue greater than $1 billion in their most recent fiscal year. Total compensation includes salary, cash bonus, and other compensation, such as perks, as well as the grant-date fair value of options and the grant-date present value of stock awarded in the most recent fiscal year. Take-home pay includes salary, cash bonus, and other compensation, such as perks, plus any value realized by the vesting of previously awarded stock or from the exercise of previously awarded options.

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