These Are the Most Popular College Degrees Earned by Millionaires

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This piece originally appeared on John A. Byrne‘s LinkedIn Influencers page.

Having a net worth of one million dollars may not be what it used to be. But it’s still a mark of success for those who are able to achieve it. Which college degrees helped to produce the most millionaires?

The answer to that question came out in a new survey and the MBA degree held up surprisingly well in the millionaire sweepstakes. The survey reveals that engineering degrees produce the most millionaires, followed by MBA, economics and law degrees. The review, conducted by wealth management magazine SPEAR’s and consultancy company WealthInsight, assesses some 70,000 millionaires worldwide (individuals with over U.S. $1 million in assets–excluding primary residences), to reveal their most popular degrees and top-attended universities.

However, the results are slightly misleading: Many of those engineering majors made their millions in entrepreneurship, points out WealthInsight’s Oliver Williams in a statement. “…Interestingly, few of these degrees turn out to be outright vocational; Most engineering graduates, for example, are not engineers but entrepreneurs,” he says. “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.”


Predictably, business degrees dominate the list. “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,” Williams points out.

The survey results also dispel the myth that college dropouts, such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, regularly make it to millionaire status. Roughly 1% of millionaires in the survey did not obtain a degree, meaning the other 99% clearly depended–at least in part–on a diploma.

Not surprisingly, Harvard University and Stanford University top the table for millionaires’ most-attended universities. University of California, Columbia University and University of Oxford round out the top five.

The U.S. claims nearly half of the millionaires’ 500 most-attended universities with 216 institutions on the list. The UK comes in a distant second with 42, followed by Canada and France with 27 universities, each.

SPEAR’s editor Josh Sepro explained in a statement that top schools equip their millionaires with more than academics: “The universities which dominate are exactly the ones you’d expect, not just because of the quality of the education but because of the self-confidence they instill in their students. They also have strong alumni networks which give their students a leg up when they move into the world of work.”

For the full top 100 list of global universities visit SPEAR’s story.