Six Australian companies have now joined the ranks of corporate unicorns – meaning they are a tech company worth more than $1 billion – with the number of similar companies around the world now approaching 1,000, according to CBInsights.
There are many ways to build a unicorn, but – along with timing, intelligence and a little luck – education plays an important role in laying the foundations.
Now a Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor, Ilya Strebulev, has crunched the numbers to find the most popular educational achievement for unicorn founders.
Professor Strebulaev and his team sorted through the data to identify the academic degrees earned by 1,263 of 521 US unicorns.
The research showed 236 founders (19%) have an MBA degree, including DoorDash’s Tony Xu. 217 founders (17%) have Master’s degrees other than MBAs. For example, Larry Page of Alphabet Inc. has a Master’s of Computer Science and Adam Bowen of Juul Labs has a Master’s in Product Design. 39 people have a dual Master’s degree, including an MBA, such as Christian Chabot of Tableau.
Nearly 290 founders (23%) earned doctoral degrees, such as Ph.D. and MD. 15 people have an MBA and a doctoral degree.
Unsurprisingly, a large number have a Bachelor’s degree. And 56 founders dropped out of college (many in order to start their companies). Examples include Arash Ferdowsi of Dropbox and Patrick Collison of Stripe.
This research has been done with the help of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Venture Capital Initiative.