THE University of Bradford produces more chief executives than any other university in Yorkshire, a study has found.

The research, which was carried out by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, analysed data from more than 8.4 million alumni who had left 121 UK universities since the year 2000 and had gone on to become either CEOs or Managing Directors, or found their own business.

The University of Bradford topped the table of universities that produce the most CEOs and MDs in Yorkshire, with 10.5 per cent of alumni going on to hold one of these positions. It finished 13th on the overall list.

Bradford finished well ahead of neighbours University of Leeds, which produces the second highest number of CEOs (8.96 per cent), while University of Hull is the third highest with 8.58 per cent of alumni going on to become a CEO or MD.

Leeds Trinity University was revealed as the university producing the least number of CEOs and MDs, with just 5.6 per cent of alumni going on to hold these positions.

Looking at the list of universities across the UK in full, a clear North South divide was evident in the research, with 12 of the top 20 universities based in London.

The University of Cumbria is the highest ranking northern university on the list, while the Universities of Leicester, Bradford and Manchester also featuring in the top 20.

The research also examined the universities that produce the highest number of small business founders, with the University of Leeds (7.91 per cent) just beating York St John University (7.84 per cent) to the top spot.

The University of Bradford finished third in this list for the percentage of alumni that found their own firms, with 7.83 per cent.

The university’s School of Management is world renowned - it was the first business school to be jointly accredited by AMBA and BGA in England and in February this year, its MBA was ranked No.1 in the world for value for money by the Financial Times.

Professor Sankar Sivarajah, head of the university's School of Management, said: "The management school has always been driven by the need for developing business ideas and really targeted at developing people who had the skills to be able to move into industry and business and giving back to business world.

It’s a kind of grass-roots Yorkshire grit which champions entrepreneurialism, underpinned by a curriculum that is informed by and speaks to business and that’s why our graduates flourish

"Our FT-recognised MBA is world renowned and one of the reasons why people join it is that once they complete the course, they see a career progression into these high-ranking roles.”

Andy Dodd, Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance managing director, said: "Our research proves that you don’t necessarily need to go to the top universities (according to the guides) to ensure you enjoy a highly successful business career.

"Many of the top universities for producing CEOs and business founders are among the lower ranked university guide schools, which should provide food for thought for many beginning the long process of applying for university.

"Hopefully some of our research helps to inspire the next generation of small business owners."