Most Common Majors of Billionaires

Apparently, the world's most influential billionaires have more in common than cash!

Elizabeth Hoyt

August 21, 2015

Most Common Majors of Billionaires Most Common Majors of Billionaires

Who wants to be a billionaire? Well, most people probably. Money shouldn’t be the ultimate factor in your academic pursuits, however, if you’re dying to be a billlionaire, there’s a list that may make you rethink your chosen field.

According to Vista College, the world’s top billionaires had certain college majors in common.

According to the list, the following majors are the most popular held by the world’s billionaires, in undergraduate studies from around the globe.

If you’re debating on whether or not a college degree is worth it at all, please note that just over one percent of the world’s billionaires dropped out or did not attend college. So, the odds of making billions without a college degree are slim to none.

It’s important to note, however, that even if a billionaire has an engineering degree, for example, he or she has likely applied entrepreneurial and business skills to his or her career as well. Most of the wealthiest in the world would actually classify themselves as entrepreneurs, regardless of what their degree states.

In other words, take these with a grain of salt because a major doesn’t guarantee billionaire status.

Check out the most common majors of the world’s billionaires:

1. Engineering: 14 Billionaires

It’s no surprise that engineering claims 14 of the world’s billionaires, from Charles Koch and David Koch (Net worth $41.3 B each) , Michael Bloomberg (Net worth $34.5 B) and Jeff Bezos (Net worth $30.4 B), just to name a few.

It’s difficult to say, however, if engineering gave these giants their wealth or if they would have become among the elite no matter what their majors due to their business savvy and genius.

2. Economics: 14 Billionaires

Economics, tying with engineering, also claims 14 of the world’s billionaires. With billionaires like Steve Ballmer (Net worth $20.8 B), Jorge Paulo Lamann (Net worth $22.8 B), Tadashi Yanai (Net worth $16.4 B) and Laurene Powell Jobs (Net worth $16 B), it certainly seems like majoring in economics is another way to bring in the big bucks.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, seeing as the entire study is based in money – and how it can be made, traded and manipulated within the market.

3. Business and Finance: 11 Billionaires

You’ll recognize big names like Warren Buffett (Net worth $66 B), Aliko Dangote (Net worth $26.6 B), Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud (Net worth $21.1 B) and Susanne Klatten (Net worth $18.4 B) on this list.

These big business moguls tended to major in business administration, business and finance (or one of the two) or commerce, in case you were wondering the specifics.

And, while we assume Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud would have become a success no matter what, folks like Warren Buffett made his own billions, starting from the bottom.

4. Mathematics, History, Philosophy, Politics: 12 Billionaires

The rest of the world’s billionaires held other majors. And, while some had commonalities, many were combined in tandem with the top three majors.

Mathematics: 3 Billionaires

Steve Ballmer (Net worth $20.8 B), Sergey Brin (Net worth $31.1 B) and James Simons (Net worth $12.5 B) all have this undergraduate major in common.

However, two of these billionaires took on double majors. Ballmer also studied economics at the same time while at Harvard and Brin took on computer science at the same time at the University of Maryland.

History/Art History: 3 Billionaires

Three of the world’s billionaires are history buffs and have the undergraduate major in common: David Thomson (Net worth $24.1 B), Abigail Johnson (Net worth $18 B) and Alejandro Santo Domingo Davila (Net worth $13.4 B). Interestingly enough, all three of these undergraduates focused solely on history or art history (Abigail Johnson) as their sole undergraduate major.

Philosophy: 3 Billionaires

Rupert Murdoch (Net worth $14.5 B), Carl Icahn (Net worth $23.9 B) and George Soros (Net worth $23 B) all took on philosophy majors as undergraduates.

Murdoch studied more than philosophy, however. He took on three majors in total, also studying politics and economics at the University of Oxford.

Political Science/Politics: 3 Billionaires

Three of the world’s major money-makers, Ananda Krishnan (Net worth $11.8 B), Tadashi Yanai (Net worth $16.4 B) and Rupert Murdoch (Net worth $14.5 B) studied politically-related majors while undergraduates. It’s important to note, however, that both Yanai and Murdoch took on other majors as well.

Yanai studied both economics and politics while at Waseda University. Murdoch studied philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford.

5. Law/International Law: 2 Billionaires

Two of the world’s billionaires, Alisher Usmanov (Net worth $19.5 B), and Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken (Net worth $11.6 B) chose to take on law majors while in undergraduate school.



Does this affect your choice of major? Why or why not?

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