Article Information

Higher Education for the Executive Elite
Vance, Stanley C.
8/4  (Summer 1966): 21-30

On June 1, 1965, James M. Roche was elected President of General Motors Corporation. Among the singular features of Roche's election to this top spot in United States' largest manufacturing enterprise is the fact that he never attended college. This lack of formal academic background received prominent attention in most news accounts of Roche's election. However, it was the very uniqueness of this case that made it newsworthy. Actually, tomorrow's business leaders, with only a few exceptions such as Roche, will invariably be college graduates. There is increasing evidence substantiating this contention. In a recent survey of the 200 men who hold the two top posts in the 100 largest United States corporations, the Council for Financial Aid to Education vividly demonstrated this fact. The survey shows that 177 of the 200 top executives attended college. Although only 150 of this group completed college, 51 also earned graduate degrees. If these data are converted into percentages, the growing impact of education upon top-executive selection is more obvious.

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