There are people in the world who have proven you don’t need a degree to become a billionaire. However, while they might have found immense financial success after dropping out of college, they’re typically the exception to the rule. Most billionaires have a degree to their name, and a lot of them all graduated from similar institutions. We suppose that’s not too surprising given most of them opted to study at Ivy League schools.
Harvard is a name that most people are familiar with, whether they studied there or not. It’s frequently ranked as one of the best colleges in the United States, with many graduates going on to achieve incredible things. As of right now, it’s also the institution that has produced the majority of the world’s billionaires.
Apparently, a report from 2017 found that 131 people had left Harvard and gone on to make ten-figure sums. The combined wealth of all these graduates reportedly came to around $529 billion, which is definitely no small sum. Included in the list of graduates from here are Michael Bloomberg – the man responsible for Bloomberg L.P. – and Steve Ballmer – a former Microsoft CEO.
University of Pennsylvania
Entering at third place on the list is the University of Pennsylvania, where a total of 47 former students were classed as billionaires back in 2017. The difference in the number of graduates between Pennsylvania and Stanford was only slight at just three people. However, there was a far more significant gap when it came to combined wealth. Those 47 alumni had earned $247 billion between them, putting the average at around $5.25 billion per graduate.
While the University of Pennsylvania might not have produced the most billionaires, it does have one of the most notable graduates. Elon Musk studied here in the ’90s where he earned degrees in economics and physics.
While other colleges might also produce billionaire graduates, none have even come close to Harvard. Stanford University was in second place in 2017, but they didn’t even have half the number of billionaires as their competitor. According to the report, 50 people who went Stanford have since achieved this illustrious status, a small amount compared to the Massachusetts institution.
However, while the college might have produced far fewer billionaires, the combined wealth of the graduates isn’t quite so small. $339 billion split between 50 people makes for an average of $6.78 billion. That’s more than the $4 billion you get from dividing $529 billion between 131 graduates. Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike, is one of Stanford’s richest graduates with a net worth of $35.6 billion.
Other notable universities
Several other colleges in the United States have also produced billionaire graduates, including Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cornell University. By 2017, these places had collectively seen 87 billionaires through their doors, with Columbia topping the pack at 38 former students. Their combined wealth was $218 billion, with Massachusetts at $158 billion and Cornell at $57 billion.
Yale University’s billionaires actually had a higher combined wealth at $99 billion, but a slightly lower number of graduates at 21. Included in their alumni is Stephen A. Schwarzman, the CEO of The Blackstone Group.
If you’re fortunate enough to study at one of these places, there’s a good chance that you’ll go far in life. You may even find yourself adding to these statistics one day if you’re really lucky.