A study of the top 500 universities and subjects studied by millionaires has been compiled for UK wealth management website Spear’s in association with WealthInsight.
The research shows that the US produces more millionaires through its university system than any other nation, with eight US universities making the global top ten for those most attended by millionaires.
Harvard, whose alumni include Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy, has produced the most millionaires of any university globally, with Harvard Business School (2) and Stanford University (3) following closely behind.
Meanwhile Oxford (6) and Cambridge (9) in the UK both make the top ten, with the London School of Economics (27), University of London (45), London Business School (63) and Imperial College (68) also placing within the top 100 universities.
As for which subjects produced the most millionaires, engineering came first, followed by an MBA, economics and law – though millionaires produced by these subjects have often left their degree behind in professional life.
Commenting on the findings, Spear’s editor Josh Spero said: ‘Entrepreneurs, who ultimately end up being the wealthiest in the world, are innovators, and the top subjects are those which encourage new and smart thinking, whether technical or financial.
‘But it’s also no surprise to find that the brightest people, who go to the best universities, often leave their degrees behind and go into high finance to seek their fortune.’
Oliver Williams of WealthInsight added: ‘You would expect to see a high number of scientific or financial degrees in the top 10, like engineering, commerce and accounting. Numerical degrees are a notable advantage when it comes to amassing a personal fortune.
‘But, interestingly, few of these degrees turn out to be outright vocational; most engineering graduates, for example, are not engineers but entrepreneurs. The same goes for most law and politics graduates, who owe their fortunes not to practicing their professions but climbing the ranks of the financial services sector.’
Computer science is an interesting addition to the list at number nine. According to Williams, ‘This shows the rise of the tech industry. In future years, as more and more tech entrepreneurs make it big, we should expect it to move further up the list.’
Only just over 1 per cent of the world’s millionaires did not study at university or dropped out before they graduated. In this exclusive latter category are a number of the world’s wealthiest billionaires, including Bill Gates, Richard Branson – who left school aged sixteen – and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who dropped out of Harvard to concentrate on building up his business.
To see the Top 100 universities in full, visit the Spear’s website.