Only one-in-five ASX100 CEOs have an MBA

Only 20 ASX100 companies are led by a CEO who holds a Masters of Business Administration degree, a LeadingCompany investigation has found.

The figure is startlingly low by global standards. A 2011 analysis of Fortune 500 CEOs found 34% held an MBA, the premier business management qualification. 

In addition to our research on who has an MBA, we also looked at where they got it. Eleven of the ASX100 leaders with MBAs studied overseas, and many of those are migrants to Australia.

When it came to universities, the most popular places to do an MBA in Australia were the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales, the Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne, and Macquarie University. Two ASX100 CEOs graduated from global business school INSEAD.

In addition to those who hold an MBA, three more CEOs hold degrees with similar content. Metcash’s Andrew Reitzer holds a Masters of Business Leadership, Qantas’ Alan Joyce holds a Masters of Science in Management Studies, while Origin’s Grant King holds a Masters of Management.

If we don’t limit ourselves to MBAs, this brings to 23 the number of ASX100 CEOs with masters-level management-specific qualifications.

While a minority of CEOS have MBAs, many have other post-graduate qualifications. Often, these are technical qualifications related to the industry the CEOs operate in.

For example, Rio Tinto’s Tom Albanese holds a Masters of Mining Engineering, while Resmed’s Peter Farrell holds a PhD in chemical engineering and bioengineering.

Of those who haven’t done an MBA, a handful have completed shorter management-specific university courses. Woolworths CEO Grant O’Brien has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, as has Wesfarmers’ Richard Goyder and SP AusNet’s Nino Ficca. Telstra chief David Thodey has completed Northwestern University’s Kellogg Post-Graduate School General Management Program, while David Dearie at Treasury Wines holds an Institutional Management Diploma from Glasgow Caledonian University.

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