How do billionaires become billionaires? Is it creativity? Education? Family life? Education may not be a key. Oracle founder Larry Ellison did not graduate from college. Neither did Bill Gates who entered Harvard and was supposed to graduate in 1977. Instead, he left after two years to found Microsoft and go on to become one world’s richest men.
Match College looked at the world’s 100 richest billionaires based on net worth data from Forbes. It then matched them with the degrees they earned in college. Their methodology was such that the people on the list did not have to graduate, which means people in the Gates category of “no degree” made the cut. Data were available on 70 of the 100. People who gained a graduate degree from a university counted along with those who got bachelor’s degrees.
The most common degree among the top 100 billionaires is economics at 16. Computer science ranks next at nine. Jeff Bezos and Sergey Brin of Google fall into this category. Next is electrical engineering at 5, the same number as mathematics. Four have law degrees.
The list of subjects the billionaire studied is slightly different. It is topped by economics and finance at 18. Warren Buffett, Alice Walton, and Elon Musk fall into this category. Buffett and Musk created their own wealth. Alice is the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton. Engineering is next at 16, followed by computing at 12, business at six, law at five, science at five, politics at three, and marketing at three.
Among the universities where the top 100 billionaires went, Harvard ranks first at eight, followed by Stanford at 5. MIT ranked next at 4 along with Princeton, Univerisity of California Berkeley, and the University of Pennsylvania at the same number.