Fewer top CEOs went to SKY universities

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Fewer top CEOs went to SKY universities

The proportion of CEOs at the top 500 companies in Korea that graduated from the three most prestigious universities - Seoul National, Korea and Yonsei - has hit a three-year low.

Graduates of the so-called SKY - named after the first letters of their names - universities made up 44.8 percent of CEOs, down 4.1 percentage points from last year and 7.7 percentage points from three years earlier, according to CEO Score, a corporate management information provider, on Wednesday.

The organization analyzed 464 CEOs based on management reports submitted by 341 of the top 500 companies.

The percentage of CEOs from schools outside of the Seoul Metropolitan area has increased 2.6 percentage points in the past three years to 19.3 percent this year, which CEO Score described as an indication that the composition of top management at major corporations is rapidly changing.

Even though SKY graduates’ percentage reduced, the largest group of CEOs were alumni of Seoul National University, at 23.5 percent this year, followed by Korea University graduates at 12 percent and Yonsei University at 9.3 percent. Other schools located in Seoul within the top 10 by number of CEO graduates were Hanyang University, Sungkyunkwan University, Sogang University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and Chung-Ang University.

Outside the Seoul area, Pusan National University in Busan produced the most CEOs to take the sixth spot on the list. The number of CEOs from the school also rose 1.7 percentage points over the past three years. Alumni of Yeungnam University in Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang, accounted for 3.2 percent, up 1.2 percentage points over the same time span. Notably, both are based in the southeast of the country, the region that has also produced the largest number of Korean presidents.

In terms of major, those who majored in business management were at the top of the list at 25.7 percent.

The number of CEOs that attended high schools that used to be considered prestigious before 1974 - Kyunggi in southern Seoul, Kyungbock in central Seoul and Seoul High School in southern Seoul - plummeted from 19.3 percent in 2015 to 9.2 percent this year.

In 1974, the government scrapped the system of allowing high schools to accept students according to exam scores. The measure was meant to reduce competition.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]
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