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MBA students are rarely accused of lacking ambition and there is no shortage of role models who have made it to the very top of the corporate world.

FT analysis, conducted for the third year running, shows that nearly a third (31 per cent) of the world’s largest 500 listed companies by market capitalisation, as featured in the most recent FT500, have a chief executive* with an MBA.

Just 10 of the top business schools boast half of this total — 72 FT500 chief executives — between them. A further 26 FT500 leaders gained their MBA from schools ranked within the top 100 in the world in the FT’s 2016 ranking. The graphic shows data for all 98 chief executives with MBAs from ranked schools.

Harvard Business School is top, with 22 MBA graduates among FT500 leaders. This is more than twice as many as any other school, despite falling from 28 last year after the retirement of bosses such as Alan Lafley of Procter & Gamble and Jim McNerney at Boeing.

Change is also driven by fluctuating stock markets, which mean almost one in seven companies are new to the latest FT500 index. New entrants mean New York’s two top business schools, Columbia Business School and New York University’s Stern school, now claim six and five top chief executives respectively.

In addition to Harvard, only three business schools have more than six FT500 leaders among their alumni: Insead (eight), the only non-US institution with more than two; Stanford Graduate School of Business (seven); and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (seven), whose 2002 alumnus Sundar Pichai assumed the top job at Google last year.

Vanderbilt’s Owen school joins the University of Virginia’s Darden school on three FT500 chief executives this year. It is also worth sparing a thought for two unranked Texan universities that also each count three MBA alumni among the FT500 leadership; Southern Methodist University and the University of Houston.

Note: This chart includes chief executives*, as of December 1 2015, of companies in the most recent FT500, which lists the world’s largest companies by market capitalisation.

*Or equivalent highest-ranking manager

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