The resume that makes for a top executive

February 14th, 2014 / No Comments »

By Jena Mcgregor

If you were to create a mash-up profile of corporate America’s most senior executives, it would unsurprisingly look something like this: A white man in his 50s with an MBA who has switched jobs every four years.

Still, a new study published this week in the Harvard Business Review, which provides a snapshot over time of the demographics and career trajectories of Fortune 100 executives, shows how much the boardroom is definitely changing.

For instance, the majority of these top executives now have undergraduate degrees from state universities, with only a fraction going to college at one of the Ivies. Nearly 11 percent of the top executives are foreign-educated, up from just 2 percent in 1980. And however few women there may be in leadership positions, they actually climbed the corporate ladder faster than men, spending fewer years, on average, in each job and taking a shorter time to get to the top.

The research, an effort by professors from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and IE Business School in Madrid, compiled the backgrounds of the top 10 executives at each Fortune 100 company in 2011. The resulting analysis provides an update to research two of the professors did 10 years ago, which looked at the backgrounds of the same group — those who might be called the most powerful 1,000 people in corporate jobs — in both 1980 and 2001…….