However, due to the very high risks associated with most private equity investments, investors will rarely invest in firms led by a CEO without a college degree, unless the CEO possesses other extraordinary attributes in terms of industry experience, previous outstanding accomplishments, or, as in the case of Mark Zuckerberg, a concept so compelling so as to offset his personal risk profile.
The CEO who possesses a college degree (and ideally an advanced degree from a top school), will be far more likely to advance to the next stages of investor scrutiny. Tightly coupled with an appropriate college credential, personality traits play a critical role in gaining investor interest. Once credentials are established, investors look for CEOs who John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, is a great example of an extroverted, driving leader who was able to close big deals, and who has a vision and persona that attracts and motivates top talent. Beginning CEOs would do well to invest time studying the traits of great CEOs and picking appropriate role models. When you get stuck and cannot seem to find a solution,
it might be useful to ask yourself “What would [your favorite CEO] do in this situation?” In short, appropriate degrees from notable schools and the right personality will buy you enough time for investors to then consider your experience.