CIO Succession - Educational Attainment

It should be no surprise that these CIOs are well-educated and well-rounded executives with combinations of business and technology education. Nearly 70% hold one or more advanced degrees, and two hold PhDs. Two-thirds of these advanced degrees (29 executives in all) are MBAs. Among the non-MBA Master's degrees, five are in computer science, and the others are in a variety of disciplines, including engineering, public administration, HR, cognitive science, and transportation management (JetBlue's CIO). Undergraduate majors cannot always be determined, but the most common are computer science and business, and we estimate that about one-third of these CIOs have undergrad or graduate degrees in computer science.

Figure 6: Highest Degree Attained by Gender

Highest Degree Attained by Gender

These CIOs attended a wide variety of well-respected universities. The percentage of undergrad and graduate degrees from Ivy League and other traditionally elite institutions is lower than the percentage found among CEOs and CFOs. The women CIOs are slightly more educated than the men, with higher concentrations of Master's degrees. That's not surprising since women often feel they need to be better educated to get ahead. Smaller company CIOs have a higher concentration of MBAs than larger companies, where it's more common to move up through the IT ranks. These smaller company CIOs need a solid business background because they tend to be hands-on, and they are probably afforded fewer opportunities for executive education than in larger companies.