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Texas A&M University ties for first place alongside the University of Pennsylvania and Boston College for producing the most Fortune 500 CEOs. How many is that you might ask? Four.
- Darren Woods, CEO of Exxon Mobil, who graduated in 1987 with a B.S. in electrical engineering
- Greg Garland, CEO of Phillips 66, who graduated in 1980 with a B.S. in chemical engineering
- Bruce Broussard, CEO of Humana, who graduated in 1984 with a B.A. in business
- David Cordani, CEO of Cigna, who graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree
These men either went to the College of Engineering or Mays Business School. So what is it about Texas A&M and these specific colleges that puts us at the top?
I synthesized three theories:
- It has to do with the booming economy of Texas colliding with the current technological revolution and the top ranked engineering school.
- Mathematical probability. A larger school should mean a higher chance of CEOs, right?
- Magic water in Aggieland.
I decided to test the third theory, but not by testing the pH of the water. First, I consulted credible sources: my Aggie partner who studied agricultural leadership and his Aggie father, who is also a CEO. They swiftly boasted that it is the leadership skills embedded in the school’s culture. My skepticism led me to dig a little deeper.
I am a new student, so I specifically examined the methods Texas A&M instills leadership skills. Firstly, the school ensures that each student understands and embodies its six core values (loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, selfless service and respect) through their new student conference. The story of the 12th Man further encourages camaraderie amongst students. Believe it or not, a young lady at Texas A&M found my boyfriend’s state soccer championship ring that he lost three years ago, tracked him via LinkedIn and proceeded to mail it to him asking nothing in return. I was shocked.
The College of Engineering specifically encourages leadership through the Zachry Leadership Program and entrepreneurship through Aggies Invent. Also, let us not forget the incredible Aggie network that exists, consisting of over 500,000 former students. Choosing to go to Texas A&M further attracts talent because young adults see the value of top-notch programs at an affordable price.
Of course, the answer to my theory behind CEOs incorporates a little bit of everything. One thing I am certain of is that Texas A&M will continue to be a top producer of CEOs and add a few females in there while they’re at it.