In this, the graduation season, the thoughts of college students naturally turn to the four years behind them, the lifetime ahead of them, and the connections between the two. For business students, especially those with the biggest of corporate ambitions, this is a particularly introspective time. Role models seem to be everywhere—whether it's the rags-to-riches story, the brilliant entrepreneur, or the middle manager turned MBA turned corporate leader.
It will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that a lot of big-company chief executive officers studied business in college. After all, their numbers are legion, and include such household names as Cisco Systems' John Chambers (West Virginia University), Comcast's Brian Roberts (Wharton), and Office Depot's Steve Odland (Notre Dame). The list of CEOs who dropped out at some point during their academic careers likewise reads like a who's who of Corporate America: Microsoft's Bill Gates (Harvard), Oracle's Larry Ellison (University of Chicago), and, of course, Apple's Steve Jobs (Reed College).