What should you study at university if you want to join the ranks of the world’s richest?

A company called Approved Index set out to find out, and analyzed the educational background of billionaires by examining Forbes’ list of the richest 100 people in the world.

The top subject?


OK, yes, it might look like I have an agenda here but I swear, it’s a coincidence. I didn’t even participate in the research, which shows that 32% of the world’s richest – including world’s wealthiest man Bill Gates and world’s youngest richest guy Mark Zuckerberg – don’t have university degrees. The moral of the story: save your money and do something else.

The end.

Nah, I’m just messing with you. Let’s see what the rest of them studied.

Engineering, came in second to nothing, according to The Telegraph, which reports that 22%, or nearly one quarter, of Forbes’ folks studied engineering at university creating nearly twice as many billionaires as the next subject, business, which accounts for a paltry 12% of the billionaires. Perhaps surprisingly, this was followed in third place by the arts, which came in a 9%, then “other” – whatever that means – then economics, finance, science, math, and law.

In defence of actually getting the degree, engineering graduates are actually the wealthiest, with an average wealth of $25.8 billion, compared to a net worth of $24 billion for billionaires without a degree. Still, when you’re at that level of wealth, what’s a billion dollars give or take?

The research also looked into which industries made the billionaires and found that the top two were tech and retail.

Here are some fancy charts by Approved Index to illustrate the findings, which you can see more of here at Approved Index.



Amy Catlow, director at Approved Index, said: “These findings undoubtedly add a new dimension to the debate about the relevance and value of a degree today and suggest that in order to have a thriving and diverse economy, we need to encourage a varied range of specialisms.”

See also:
The university degrees that earn the highest starting salaries
So what can you do with that English degree?
Study: Where can that liberal arts degree take you on the Canadian job market right now?
Ten career paths that can make you a millionaire