New analysis of more than 150,000 LinkedIn pages reveals which universities have the most graduates employed at the top 20 Fortune 500 companies in the United States. The study – titled Corporate Recruitment: The Colleges & Degrees Most In Demand For Fortune 500 Companies – was conducted for Choice of diploma, a website that offers advice to students on their study and career decisions.
Here is how the study was conducted. The authors examined more than 150,000 LinkedIn profiles of current employees in various leadership roles in the top 20 Fortune 500 companies (as of 2021) to identify their background. They then compiled the universities attended and the degrees obtained by these people.
It’s important to remember that not all employees at these companies have a LinkedIn profile, so the numbers below are not final. They are likely to underestimate the number of alumni of a given school. In addition, different companies have very different percentages of employees who maintain such profiles. For example, while 94% of the more than 250,000 employees at JPMorgan Chase had a LinkedIn page, only 23% of the more than two million employees at Walmart had one.
Top 20 Universities with Alumni in Fortune 500 Companies
- Phoenix University had 15,924 alumni working at these companies, including Walmart, Amazon, Apple, CVS Health, Microsoft, Verizon, and AT&T.
- University of Washington, 14,264 former students
- Bombay University, 5,801
- Georgia Institute of Technology, 5,292
- Stanford University, 4,639
- University of California, Berkeley, 4,302
- University of Southern California, 4,213
- University of Texas, 3 938
- Arizona State University, 3,820
- Cornell University, 3,680
- Pennsylvania State University, 3 214
- Strayer University, 3,025
- University of Arkansas, 2,845
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2,692
- San José State University, 2,661
- Northeastern University, 2 302
- University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2 251
- Harvard University, 2,220
- Purdue University, 2 195
- University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School), 2,022
As you might expect, several elite research universities like Stanford, MIT, and Harvard are included. But public universities are also doing very well; 10 make the list. The ranking includes a few other surprises. Two private for-profit universities – the University of Phoenix and Strayer University are included, as well as an international university – the University of Mumbai. Two universities that might not have been predicted to make the top 20 – the University of Arkansas and San Jose State University – may have been advantaged by their proximity to Fortune companies. 500.
The data can be examined in another way: which specific companies hire the most graduates from a given university. Take, for example, the top five institutions from above. Which companies hired the most alumni from each?
At University of Phoenix, the top Fortune 500 employers were:
- AT&T – 2,705
- Walmart – 2,232
- Amazon, 2213
- Verizon Communications, 2,212
- Unitedhealth Group, 2,212
For the Washington University, the greatest number of hires were at:
- Microsoft – 7,187
- Amazon – 5,716
- Apple – 660
- AT&T – 472
- Costco Wholesaler – 229
The Bombay University had three of the first 20 Fortune companies to hire its graduates:
- JPMorgan Chase – 2,891
- Amazonia – 1,726
- Microsoft – 1,184
Georgia Institute of Technology
- Amazon – 2,214
- Home deposit – 1.018
- Apple – 921
- AT&T – 876
- ExxonMobil – 260
- Apple – 2.104
- Amazonia – 1,373
- Microsoft – 1,152
- Alphabet Inc. – 10
What they studied
Further examination of the hiring data allowed researchers to identify the types of undergraduate majors that were most common among these graduates.
Given the importance of digital companies in the Fortune 500, computer and information technology diplomas were the most requested training.
In the field of IT, cybersecurity and DevOps were popular specialties that are also expected to experience significant growth in the future.
Degrees in business, management-related fields, economics and finance were in high demand across all industries, including retail, healthcare, business consulting, finance and communications.
Wall Street employers such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to prefer branded school students with traditional business-related degrees. The main examples were the Harvard MBA, Wharton School Management, and the University of Chicago Economics degree.
Accounting degrees have long been a popular route to Fortune 500 employment, and they continue to be among the best qualifications sought by these companies.
Finally, according to DegreeChoices staff, some “less conventional degree pathways” are also in high demand. “For example, psychology graduates are now highly sought after by Fortune 500 employers such as Amazon, CVS and Apple. Part of the reason is that skilled psychologists have in-depth knowledge of consumer psychology and user behavior, which tech companies can use to create better, more user-friendly products.
These results confirm several other studies showing that there are many educational pathways to very successful careers and leadership positions. Graduating from an elite college may give you an edge in landing a job at one of the country’s biggest companies, but it’s not the only way to get there.