• College is where many figure out what they’re actually interested in and determine the career they want to pursue.
  • We researched the degrees and schools attended by well-known tech CEOs, many of whom launched their companies or landed on the idea for their first startup while studying at college.
  • Here’s where 52 CEOs and founders in the tech industry went to school, and what they studied.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

For new college students, choosing a major can feel like a decision that shapes one’s life trajectory. But a degree in computer science is no guarantee that you’ll create the next billion-dollar startup, and a philosophy degree won’t necessarily keep you from starting a business.

The best and brightest CEOs in tech come from a wide-range of educational backgrounds.

Some of their chosen majors link up perfectly with what they ended up accomplishing, while others decided to drop out before reaching graduation.

But whether you major in international studies like Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe, or metallurgical engineering like Google’s Sundar Pichai, there are plenty of ways to make it big in tech.

Here's where 52 tech CEOs and founders went to college and what they majored in:

Reed Hastings — cofounder & CEO, Netflix

Foto: sourceOre Huiying/Getty Images for Netflix

Alma Maters: Bowdoin University (B.A.), Stanford University (M.S.)

Majors: Mathematics (B.A.), computer science (M.S.)

Hastings deferred his college acceptance for one year to continue his summer job: selling vacuums door-to-door. While at Bowdoin, Hastings ran the Outing Club, which organized climbing and canoeing trips.

Jack Ma — cofounder & CEO, Alibaba

Foto: sourceSean Gallup/Getty Images

Alma Maters: Hangzhou Normal University (B.A.), Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (MBA.)

Majors: English (B.A.), MBA.

Ma didn't get into college on his first attempt. Or his second. Or even his third. In all, Jack Ma applied to college four separate times before he was accepted and got an English degree. Now, he is worth more than $40 billion.

Susan Wojcicki — CEO, YouTube

Foto: sourceNoam Galai/Getty Images

Alma Maters: Harvard University (B.A.), U.C. Santa Cruz (M.S.), University of California Los Angeles (MBA)

Majors: History (B.A.) and literature (B.A.), economics (M.S.), MBA

Wojcicki comes from a family of academics, and fully expected to become one herself. Her plan was originally to get a Ph.D. in economics, but she changed course after finding she was passionate about technology. She would eventually go on to become the 16th employee hired by Google, and has been on a steady rise ever since.

James Park — founder & CEO, Fitbit

Foto: sourceFlickr/frf_kmeron

Alma Mater: Harvard University (dropped out)

Major: Computer science

Park dropped out of Harvard to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. He started Fitbit in 2007.

Ryan Roslansky — CEO, LinkedIn

Foto: sourceLinkedIn

Alma Mater: University of California, David (dropped out)

Majors: Economics, political science

Roslansky dropped out of college as a sophomore after finding success the year before with a website called Housing Media, designed to help students find roommates and rentals. After selling the company and working for six years at Yahoo, Roslansky joined LinkedIn in 2009. He replaced Jeff Weiner as LinkedIn's CEO in February 2020.

Dara Khosrowshahi — CEO, Uber

Foto: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.sourceGetty

Alma Mater: Brown University

Major: Electrical engineering

The Iranian-born Khosrowshahi was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. In an interview with Brown's alumni magazine, he said he "really hit his stride" while studying at university.

Satya Nadella — CEO, Microsoft

Foto: sourceJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Alma Maters: Manipal Institute of Technology (B.S.), University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (M.S.), University of Chicago (MBA)

Majors: Electrical engineering (B.S.), computer science (M.S.), MBA

Though the India-born Nadella originally wanted to be a professional cricket player, he realized early on that he would be better off pursuing his passion for science and technology. He got a bachelor's in electrical engineering because he always knew he "wanted to build things," but travelled to the United States for graduate school because he wanted a university with a computer science program.

Ginni Rometty — former CEO, IBM

Foto: sourceNeilson Barnard/Getty

Alma Mater: Northwestern University

Majors: Computer science and electrical engineering

While at Northwestern, Rometty was president of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She gave the commencement speech at Northwestern's graduation ceremony in 2015.

Elon Musk — cofounder & CEO, Tesla and SpaceX

Foto: sourceAP

Alma Mater: University of Pennsylvania (B.A.), Stanford University (dropped out)

Majors: Physics (B.A.) and economics (B.A.), applied physics and material science

Before he was envisioning putting a man on the surface of Mars, Musk was enjoying much more pedestrian pursuits. As an undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania, Musk famously rented a 12-bedroom house and turned it into a nightclub, sometimes having as many as 500 guests a night. Musk went on to Stanford to pursue a PhD program, but he dropped out after just two days to become an entrepreneur during the dot-com boom.

Evan Spiegel — cofounder & CEO, Snapchat

Foto: sourceAP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Alma Mater: Stanford University (dropped out)

Major: Product design

Though Spiegel did walk at his graduation, he isn't technically a graduate of Stanford. The Snapchat CEO was only three classes away from receiving his degree, but ultimately decided to focus his energies on Snapchat. Safe to say, the decision paid off for him.

Brian Chesky — cofounder & CEO, Airbnb

Foto: sourceMike Windle/Getty Images

Alma Mater: Rhode Island School of Design

Major: Industrial design

Chesky met his Airbnb co-founder, Joe Gebbia, while studying at RISD. Both Airbnb founders accepted honorary degrees at the 2017 commencement ceremony at RISD, where Chesky delivered the keynote speech.

Katrina Lake — founder & CEO, Stitch Fix

Foto: sourceStitch Fix

Alma Maters: Stanford University (B.S.), Harvard Business School

Majors: Economics (B.S.), MBA

Lake attended college with the intention of become a doctor, but she ended up in economics after getting "sucked into" the use of data and statistics.

Tim Cook — CEO, Apple

Foto: sourceAP

Alma Maters: Auburn University (B.S.), Duke University (MBA)

Major: Industrial engineering (B.S.), MBA

Cook established the Tim Cook Annual Leadership Scholarship for undergraduate engineering students at Auburn. At Duke, he was named a Fuqua Scholar, meaning he graduated in the top 10 percent of the MBA graduating class.

Mark Zuckerberg — cofounder & CEO, Facebook

Foto: sourceRobert Galbraith/Reuters

Alma Mater: Harvard University (dropped out)

Majors: Psychology and computer science

Zuckerberg never did complete either of his two majors - he dropped out during his sophomore year to move to Palo Alto and work on Facebook full time.

Whitney Wolfe — founder & CEO, Bumble

Foto: Whitney Wolfe, co-founder of Tinder and founder of BumblesourceCindy Ord/Getty Images for Girlboss Media

Alma Mater: Southern Methodist University

Major: International studies

As a sophomore, Wolfe started a business selling tote bags to benefit wildlife harmed by the 2010 BP oil spill.

Larry Page — cofounder, Google

Foto: sourceAndrew Kelly/Reuters

Alma Maters: University of Michigan (B.S.), Stanford University (M.S.)

Majors: Computer engineering (B.S.), computer science (M.S.)

During his time at Michigan, Page took on a lofty senior project that involved hacking a PalmPilot to "do something that it wasn't supposed to do." His professor was unsure Page would be able to complete the project, but he pulled it off and he got an A+.

Sergey Brin — cofounder, Google

Foto: sourceEric Risberg/Associated Press

Alma Maters: University of Maryland (B.S.), Stanford University (M.S., PhD)

Majors: Mathematics and computer science (B.S.), computer science (M.S., PhD)

Brin met his Google cofounder, Page, when they were both at Stanford's computer science program. They together developed the algorithm that Google Search was founded on, and called it PageRank.

Jeff Bezos — founder & CEO, Amazon

Foto: sourceChip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Alma Mater: Princeton University

Majors: Electrical engineering and computer science

While at Princeton, Bezos served as the chapter leader of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.

Marissa Mayer — former CEO, Yahoo

Foto: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.sourceAP Photo/Eric Risberg, File

Alma Mater: Stanford University (B.S, M.S.)

Major: Symbolic systems (B.S.), computer science (M.S.)

Mayer was hard-working and focused on classes, and apparently didn't have much of a social life in college. She was shy, focused, and "not much for socializing," classmates have said.

Logan Green — cofounder & CEO, Lyft

Foto: sourceLaura Buckman/Reuters

Alma Mater: UC Santa Barbara

Major: Business economics

As a student, Green would leave his car at home and "experiment" with other modes of transportation to try to find creative solution and better alternatives. This fascination with transportation led him to create a ride-sharing program on his own campus.

Sundar Pichai — CEO, Google & Alphabet

Foto: sourceGetty

Alma Maters: Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (B.S.), Stanford University (M.S.), University of Pennsylvania (MBA)

Major: Metallurgical engineering (B.S.), material sciences and engineering (M.S.), MBA

Pichai was honored as a global Siebel Scholar while at Stanford, and a Palmer Scholar during his MBA program at the Wharton School.

Marc Benioff — cofounder & CEO, Salesforce

Foto: sourceJustin Sullivan / Getty

Alma Mater: University of Southern California

Major: Business administration

Benioff was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

Masayoshi Son — founder & CEO, Softbank

Foto: sourceAP

Alma Mater: University of California at Berkeley

Major: Economics and computer science

Son spent much of his time at UC Berkeley selling early versions of Pac-Man and Space Invaders arcade games to local bars and restaurants. The lucrative business reportedly earned him his first million dollars.

Steve Wozniak — cofounder, Apple

Foto: Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak.sourceDaniel Garzon Herazo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Alma Mater: University of Colorado Boulder (expelled), University of California, Berkeley (B.S.)

Major: Electrical engineering and computer science (B.S.)

Wozniak was expelled from his first university for hacking the school's computer system and sending prank messages over it. He continued his antics at UC Berkeley, but he left under his own will to work at Hewlett-Packard and eventually started Apple with Steve Jobs. He didn't return until more than a decade later to complete his degree.

Safra Catz — CEO, Oracle

Foto: sourceOracle

Alma Mater: University of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D.)

Major: Business and economics (B.S.), law (J.D.)

Though Catz received a law degree from UPenn, she completed her final year of law school at Harvard before pursuing a stint in banking.

Daniel Ek — cofounder & CEO, Spotify

Foto: Daniel Ek, cofounder and CEO of SpotifysourceGreg Sandoval/Business Insider

Alma Mater: Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden

Major: Engineering

Ek left college after just eight weeks, reportedly because he realized his entire first year would be focused on theoretical mathematics.

Stewart Butterfield — cofounder & CEO, Slack

Foto: Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield.sourceGetty

Alma Maters: University of Victoria (B.A.), University of Cambridge (M.A.)

Majors: Philosophy (B.A. & M.A.)

"Studying philosophy taught me two things," Butterfield told Forbes. "I learned how to write really clearly. I learned how to follow an argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings."

Bill Gates — cofounder & former CEO, Microsoft

Foto: sourceJohn Lamparski/Getty Images

Alma Mater: Harvard University (dropped out)

Major: Pre-law

When Gates left Harvard, he took it as an official leave of absence. Doing that would've allowed him to return to school "if things hadn't worked out."

Enrique Lores — CEO, Hewlett-Packard

Foto: HP CEO Enrique Lores.sourceHP

Alma Maters: Polytechnic University of Valencia (B.S.), ESADE Business School (MBA)

Major: Electrical engineering (B.S.), MBA

Lores was born in Madrid, and stayed in Europe for his education. He first joined HP as an engineering intern more than 30 years ago.

Emily Weiss — cofounder & CEO, Glossier

Foto: sourceVivien Killilea/Getty Images for Fast Company

Alma Mater: New York University

Major: Studio art

"NYU's very competitive and I was not a good student in high school," Weiss told Fashionista in 2015. "So the only way I thought I had a shot in hell of getting in was applying to the studio art program, because I heard that was easier." While at NYU, Weiss scored a coveted internship at Teen Vogue, where she ended up working for three years.

Ma Huateng (Pony Ma) — cofounder & CEO, Tencent

Foto: sourceBobby Yip/Reuters

Alma Mater: Shenzhen University in China

Major: Computer science

Ma founded Tencent with a fellow Shenzhen University classmate, Zhang Zhidong, in November 1998.

Steve Ballmer — former CEO, Microsoft

Foto: Former Microsoft CEO Steve BallmersourceREUTERS/B Mathur

Alma Mater: Harvard University

Major: Applied mathematics and economics

Ballmer was involved in a number of extracurriculars at Harvard: He was a student manager for the Crimson football team, and he wrote for both the school's newspaper and its literary journal.

Dan Schulman — CEO, PayPal

Foto: sourceGetty

Alma Mater: Middlebury College (B.A.), New York University (MBA)

Major: Economics (B.A.), MBA

Schulman worked as a truck driver before getting accepted to Middlebury College for the spring semester.

Jack Dorsey — cofounder & CEO, Twitter

Foto: sourceAssociated Press

Alma Mater: New York University (dropped out)

Major: Unknown

Dorsey first enrolled at the University of Missouri-Rolla, but he transferred to NYU after two years. He reportedly thought of the idea for Twitter while at NYU, where he dropped out a semester short of graduating and moved to the West Coast.

Michael Dell — founder & CEO, Dell

Foto: sourceJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Alma Mater: University of Texas (dropped out)

Major: Pre-med

Dell only completed his freshman year of college before he decided to drop out. The summer before sophomore year, Dell sold $180,000 worth of reworked PC computers, and he never returned to UT.

Stacy Brown-Philpot — CEO, TaskRabbit

Foto: sourceReuters/Stephen Lam

Alma Mater: University of Pennsylvania (B.S.), Stanford University (MBA)

Major: Economics (B.S.), MBA

Brown-Philpot was a member of Delta Sigma Theta, a predominately black sorority. At Stanford, she was president of the Venture Capital Club.

Tim Sweeney — cofounder & CEO, Epic Games

Foto: sourceMike Coppola/Getty Images

Alma Mater: University of Maryland

Major: Mechanical engineering

Sweeney founded Epic Games while a student at Maryland, but it was called Potomac Computer Systems at its launch.

Drew Houston — cofounder & CEO, Dropbox

Foto: sourceRamsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE via Getty Images

Alma Mater: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Major: Computer science

At MIT, Houston was a member of the Entrepreneurs Club and Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

Jeremy Stoppelman — cofounder & CEO, Yelp

Foto: sourceGetty / Michael Kovac

Alma Mater: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.S), Harvard Business School (MBA)

Major: Computer engineering (B.S.), MBA

Stoppelman met his cofounder, Russ Simmons, while studying at U of I.

Meg Whitman — cofounder & CEO, Quibi

Foto: sourceAP Images

Alma Maters: Princeton University (B.S.), Harvard Business School

Majors: Economics (B.S.), MBA

Whitman originally wanted to be a doctor and studied pre-med, but she switched to economics after she spent a summer selling ads for Princeton's magazine.

Adam Neumann — cofounder & former CEO, WeWork

Foto: sourceGetty Images

Alma Mater: Baruch College

Major: Business

Neumann dropped out of school in 2002 to give his full attention to his struggling business venture. However, he decided to finally finish his degree in 2017, and pursued a four-month independent study to graduate.

Patrick Collison — cofounder & CEO, Stripe

Foto: sourceReuters/Albert Gea

Alma Mater: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (dropped out)

Major: Mathematics

While attending MIT, Collison and his brother sold their first company, Auctomatic, for $5 million, and became teenage millionaires.

Apoorva Mehta — cofounder & CEO, Instacart

Foto: sourceReuters/Beck Diefenbach

Alma Mater: University of Waterloo

Major: Electrical engineering

Mehta entered college not knowing what he wanted to do with his career. He knew he had an "avid curiosity in how technology worked," which led him to choose electrical engineering.

Rony Abovitz — founder & CEO, Magic Leap

Foto: sourceGetty

Alma Mater: University of Miami (B.S. & M.S.)

Major: Mechanical engineering (B.S.), biomedical engineering (M.S.)

While at the University of Miami, Abovitz threw javelin for the varsity track team and was a weekly cartoonist for the school's newspaper.

Stephanie Korey — cofounder & co-CEO, Away

Foto: sourceForbes/YouTube

Alma Mater: Brown University (B.A.), Columbia University (MBA)

Major: International relations (B.A.), MBA

Korey has said that her early job experience at startups was more valuable than anything she learned at business school. In an interview with CNBC, she referred to her gigs at Warby Parker and Casper as "start-up grad school."

Vlad Tenev — cofounder & co-CEO, Robinhood

Foto: sourceBrendan McDermid/Reuters

Alma Mater: Stanford University (B.S.), University of California at Los Angeles (dropped out)

Major: Mathematics

Tenev earned a masters degree in math from UCLA, but dropped out of the school's math PhD program to work on Robinhood with his cofounder and co-CEO, Baiju Bhatt.

Baiju Bhatt — cofounder & co-CEO, Robinhood

Foto: sourceRobinhood

Alma Mater: Stanford University (B.S. & M.S.)

Major: Physics (B.S.), mathematics (M.S.)

Baiju met his Robinhood cofounder and co-CEO, Vlad Tenev, while studying at Stanford.

Marillyn Hewson — CEO, Lockheed Martin

Foto: sourceMark Wilson/Getty Images

Alma Mater: University of Alabama (B.S. & M.A.)

Major: Business administration (B.S.), economics (M.A.)

Hewson met her husband while at school. The couple donated $15 million to University of Alabama's business school in July 2018, and the funding is being used to build a new academic building named after them.

John Hanke — founder & CEO, Niantic

Foto: sourceNiantic

Alma Mater: University of Texas at Austin (B.A.), University of California at Berkeley (MBA)

Major: Plan II liberal arts honor program (B.A.), MBA

On the day Hanke graduated from business school, he and a classmate sold the gaming company they had created. The startup, called Archetype Interactive, produced a 3D multiplayer role-playing video game called "Meridian 59."

Tony Xu — cofounder & CEO, DoorDash

Foto: sourceSteve Jennings/ Getty Images

Alma Mater: University of California at Berkeley (B.S.), Stanford University (MBA)

Major: Industrial engineering and operations research (B.S.), MBA

Xu met his DoorDash cofounders - Andy Fang, Stanley Tang and Evan Moore - while he was working on his MBA at Stanford. The four students first tested out their food-delivery idea by doing orders for students and campus groups.

Anne Wojcicki — cofounder & CEO, 23andMe

Foto: sourceGetty Images/Kimberly White

Alma Mater: Yale University

Major: Biology

While attending Yale, Wojcicki played for the varsity women's ice hockey team and competed as an ice skater.

Pierre Omidyar — founder, eBay

Foto: sourceBrian Harkin/Getty Images

Alma Mater: Tufts University

Major: Computer science

Omidyar's fascination with computers started in high school, and led him to his degree in computer science. Omidyar returned to Tufts in 2011 to receive an honorary doctorate degree in public service.