From tech entrepreneurs to real estate tycoons to lifestyle moguls, billionaires come in many forms these days. Some lack formal higher-learning — like almost-billionaire Kylie Jenner and billionaire college dropouts Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. But most super-wealthy individuals earned a bachelor’s degree before becoming accomplished professionals.
If you’re hoping to use your undergrad credentials to vault you into the one-percent, certain college majors may prove more effective than others. Business Insider recently reported on a Forbes analysis of billionaires and their educations, discovering that 3 majors are especially popular among graduates who eventually entered the 3-comma club.
While certainly not a universal truth about the super-rich, it stands to reason that professionals with extremely high incomes possess a strong understanding of money, the labor market, and business practices. Therefore, economics stands atop the list of the most popular college majors for future billionaires.
Business Insider explains that, at Ivy League universities and other prestigious institutions (which produce more billionaire grads than lower-tier schools), economics is the most commonly-pursued degree program for undergraduates. An economics major can prepare students for a wide range of business-related careers, from financial analysis to investment banking to financial consulting to accounting. As a result, graduates with this major earn an average starting salary 20% higher than their peers in other, related industries.
Famous billionaires who majored in economics include New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, prominent hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, and US President Donald Trump.
Another relevant major for aspiring CEOs and industry leaders, business administration claims the number 2 spot on the “most popular majors amongst billionaires” list. This course of study offers students a holistic understanding of company operations, including financial practices, accounting, marketing, management, and international relations. It therefore provides grads with a solid knowledge base for career advancement in numerous business-related fields.
Berkshire Hathaway CEO and celebrated philanthropist Warren Buffett earned a degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska, proving the merit of this course of study for those who dream of their own billionaire status.
A less direct degree program for hopeful business magnates, history is the 3rd most popular major for billionaires. While economics and business administration teach students the science, theory, and practice of financial gain, history can offer valuable business lessons from the past, contributing to its appeal.
Billionaires who chose to study history in college include real estate mogul and former L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, U-Haul CEO Joe Shoen, and SAS co-founder John Sall.