Beta Theta Pi leads list of top fraternities for future CEOs

By Bryna Zumer Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service (KRT) For many students, joining a fraternity is about parties and creative drinking games. But for future businessmen, it may also be a steppingstone into the corporate world. Last month, released a list of the best fraternities for future CEOs, based on which fraternities produced the most CEOs on the Forbes 500 list. Beta Theta Pi ranked No. 1 with 11 Forbes 500 CEOs, followed by Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Chi, both with nine CEOs. Lambda Chi Alpha and Alpha Tau Omega were fourth and fifth for producing eight and seven CEOs, respectively. writer Davide Dukcevich said he thinks fraternity pledges tend to possess certain personality traits, such as sociability, that would be valuable for a CEO. “You hear often that fraternities are able to create certain advantages,” he said. However, Dukcevich said some fraternities produce larger numbers of CEOs because they simply have more members. “That’s pretty much the single most important reason,” Duckevich said. All the fraternities ranked have more than 150,000 members. Nationwide, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi and Lambda Chi Alpha are the three largest fraternities, and all are on the list. However, Ann Hass, Beta Theta Pi communications director, disagrees with Dukcevich’s theory about the size of fraternities being the main factor in the rankings. “It’s about quality, not quantity,” she said. Hass said Beta Theta Pi has produced many CEOs because of its high academic standards and commitment to volunteerism. “Our young men are excelling in the classroom and serving in the community,” she said. Beta Theta Pi member Michael Hillenmeyer, a sophomore business major at the University of Iowa, said the fraternity appealed to him because of the variety of members. “In the business world, you’re obviously not going to have everyone be the same person you are,” he said. Although he’d like to think that Beta Theta Pi focuses more on academics and volunteerism, Hillenmeyer said, all Greek organizations probably have similarly high standards. G. Kennedy Thompson, CEO of Wachovia, said in a statement that his membership in Beta Theta Pi allowed him to meet a variety of people, “and the connections have continued beyond my university years to my business life.” Dukcevich said he would like to do a similar ranking for sororities but it would be difficult because he does not know of any large sorority organization to provide the data. Also, he said, “there’s very, very few female CEOs.” ___ (Bryna Zumer is a journalism student at the University of Maryland in College Park and is an intern for KRT Campus.) ___ ‘copy 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.