Which Scottish university produces the most company leaders?

Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University produces more chief executives than any other such organisation in Scotland, according to new research.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 4:55 am

The study, which was carried out by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, analysed data from more than 8.4 million alumni who had left 121 UK universities since the year 2000 and had gone on to become either CEOs or managing directors, or found their own business.

Heriot-Watt topped the table of universities that produce the most CEOs and MDs in Scotland, with 9.37 per cent of graduates going on to hold one of these positions. It finished 24th out of 121 on the nationwide list.

The university, based in Edinburgh’s Riccarton, finished just in front of the University of St Andrews (9.34 per cent), while the University of Strathclyde is the third highest with 8.27 per cent of alumni going on to become a CEO or MD.

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Heriot-Watt topped the table of universities that produce the most CEOs and MDs in Scotland. Picture: Ian Rutherford.
Heriot-Watt topped the table of universities that produce the most CEOs and MDs in Scotland. Picture: Ian Rutherford.

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At the other end of the scale the University of Glasgow was revealed as the university producing the fewest CEOs and MDs, with just 5.4 per cent of alumni going on to hold these positions.

Top universities in Scotland for producing CEOs and MDs:

Heriot-Watt University: 9.37 per cent of alumni in CEO or MD roles

University of St Andrews: 9.34

University of Strathclyde: 8.27

Robert Gordon University: 8.24

University of Edinburgh: 7.91

Edinburgh Napier University: 7.9

University of Stirling: 7.71

Queen Margaret University: 6.92

University of Aberdeen: 6.48

Glasgow Caledonian University: 6.43

Abertay University: 5.98

University of Dundee: 5.8

University of the West of Scotland: 5.65

University of Glasgow: 5.4

The research also examined the universities that produce the highest number of small business founders, and found St Andrews produced the most compared to other universities in Scotland.

Top universities in Scotland for producing business founders:

University of St Andrews: 9.56 per cent of alumni have founded their own business

University of Edinburgh: 8.89

Queen Margaret University: 8.27

Edinburgh Napier University: 7.74

Abertay University: 7.52

Andy Dodd, managing director at Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, said: “Many of the top universities for producing CEOs and business founders are among the lower ranked university guide schools, which should provide food for thought for many beginning the long process of applying for university.

“Hopefully some of our research helps to inspire the next generation of small business owners”.

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