In the Fortune 100, nine company CEO’s are female. When looking at these leading women in such a male-dominated list, it becomes important to examine where they began and what they did to succeed.
Out of these nine women, five of them received their MBA. With a rate of 55%, business school is an important choice for women pursuing business leadership.
Barra’s path at General Motors began at the age of 18 when she worked with the company as a co-op student. She later became the Vice President of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain before receiving the chief position. And yes, she drives a Corvette.
As an undergraduate, Whitman began a pursuit of math and science but switched over to economics after spending a summer selling magazine advertisements. In 1979, Whitman received her MBA from Harvard Business School.
Prior to her position as CEO, Nooyi was the chief financial officer of PepsiCo. During her reign as the CFO, the company’s revenue rose by 72%. Besides her executive success, Nooyi was also named among the rankings of Forbes’ “World’s Most Powerful Moms.”
Prior to DuPont, Kullman received her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and her MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Her business career began at General Electric and then DuPont in 1988, which she left for General Motors before returning for the DuPont CEO position.
In 1988, Novakovic received her MBA from Penn’s Wharton School of Business. She began her career as an analyst for the McClean Research Center and continued her focus in government before joining General Dynamics in 2001.
From an undergraduate education in engineering to one in economics, the choice to earn an MBA served these CEOs in their path towards the top.
Julianne Perry is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in English and advertising. Julianne dreams of designing book covers, and plans to launch her career by working as a copywriter in an advertising firm. She recently enjoyed attending the Forté C2B Conference.