NEW YORK (AP) – Harvard is top of the IPO class for 2014.
The Ivy League school is the alma mater for seven chief executives who led their companies’ IPOs last year. That’s more than twice the amount of the next highest schools in the rankings, according to figures from Equilar, an executive compensation data firm.
Harvard’s performance wasn’t a fluke. The Cambridge, Massachusetts, school has led the rankings for at least the last three years, according to Equilar.
Tied for second place last year were Columbia University, Stanford University, Texas Tech University and University of North Carolina. Each school produced three CEOs who took their companies public.
The seven newly publicly traded companies led by Harvard alumni range from online bank Ally Financial to pharmaceutical company Kite Pharma. The group notched an average gain of 74 per cent from the date of their market debut to the end of the year.
By comparison, the FTSE Renaissance US IPO index, which tracks the performance of US initial public offerings, gained 9.6 per cent last year.
The average gain of the companies led by Harvard-schooled CEOs was also better than that of other schools. The IPOs led by former University of North Carolina students rose an average of 39 per cent. Stanford graduates posted an average gain of 37 per cent. Texas Tech University graduates saw an average increase of nearly 7 per cent, while IPOs led by Columbia alumni had an average loss of almost 3 per cent.
The Harvard executives are following one of the school’s most famous students. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, studied computer science at the school from September 2002 to May 2004 before leaving to focus on the social networking company. Facebook raised about $16 billion in its market debut in 2012.
Among the Harvard graduates who oversaw IPOs in 2014, two earned undergraduate degrees, one completed a residency at Harvard Medical School, while four earned graduate degrees, including two who studied at Harvard Business School.
Thomas Eisenmann, a professor at the business school, says that the program has been placing an emphasis on entrepreneurship for at least a decade. “It’s a very strong focus for us,” he said, noting that almost half of the school’s alumni have started at least one company.