The 10 Colleges Most Likely to Make You a Billionaire (Harvard Is #1)

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In news that will shock no-one, earning a Crimson pedigree may be the surest-fire way to amass greenbacks. Almost 3,000 graduates of Harvard University are worth more than $30 million (each), according to rankings compiled by market research firm Wealth-X seen by Quartz, and most of them earned the money themselves. That's more than twice the number of what Wealth-X calls "ultra-high-net-worth individuals" (UHNWIs) produced by any other institution in the world. (The report, by the way, counts both undergraduate and graduate degrees.)

That Harvard is a multi-millionaire factory probably surprises no one. But here are some report findings that might:

  • Of course, the top of the list is rather dense with Ivy. But even among top schools, wealth varies greatly: while the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University graduated a combined 2,390 UHNWIs, Yale, Princeton and Cornell count among them only 1,604, in total.
  • Of the US schools in Wealth-X's Global top 20, just three are public: University of Virginia, the University of Michigan and University of California, Berkeley.
  • At least in the US, having a business school probably helps. The top five on the global list--Harvard, Penn, Stanford University, Columbia and New York University, in that order--all have top-flight MBA programs. Of the top 15, only Princeton lacks a B-school. On the non-US list, meanwhile, France's Insead and LBS are both exclusively graduate business schools.
  • Proximity to Hollywood and Silicon Valley may help, as well, though. Combining Wealth-X's lists of public and private universities, the ranking Californian schools put out the most UHNWIs, with 4,672 of them--more even than posh school-dense Massachusetts, which produced 4,198.
  • Nearly one-quarter of Brown's and Cornell's UHNWIs' ultra-high net worths came exclusively from inheritance. And around two-fifths of the super-rich from Penn, Columbia, Northwestern and Boston University made the list thanks to old money alone.
  • What of the nouveau riche? At the University of Virginia, which also happens to be the highest-ranked public university, some 78% of the über-rich were self-made. Harvard, Chicago, Princeton and New York University were close behind.

Portion-of-High-Net-Worth-Alumni-with-inherited-wealth_chart

  • Women who want to strike it rich should consider Northwestern and Brown Universities--almost 15% of their UHNWIs are women, compared with 2%-4% for the University of Chicago, MIT, and Yale. But in terms of raw numbers, Harvard produces the most ultra-affluent women:

Number-high-net-worth-alumnae-women_chart

  • On the international list, Australia's Monash University has the highest proportion, with 17%.
  • The UK is churning out top-earners too, though. UHNWI alumni of Oxford and Cambridge totaled 401 and 361, respectively, breaking into the global top 20. And Wealth-X's non-US ranking included four more: the London School of Economics, Imperial College of London, the London School of Business, and University College London.
  • The University of Mumbai was the only university outside of the US and the UK to make the top 20, with it 372 UHNWIs worth a combined $37 billion.
  • Of emerging-market universities, India's University of Mumbai and University of Delhi produced 601 super-rich alumni, while China's Tsinghua and Peking Universities together graduated 291.
  • In addition to simply having the most UHNWIs, Harvard also boasts the most billionaire alumni -- 52 of them, to be exact. But in the top 10 of UHNWIs from schools that made Wealth-X's list, it only has one (Brazil's Jorge Lemann, who just co-bought Heinz):

University UHNW Alumni Rankings Special Report, Wealth-X

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Gwynn Guilford is a reporter and editor for Quartz.

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