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Quick! Name a billionaire. If you thought of Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, then you also might think dropping out of college is a necessary step to becoming one of the wealthiest people on earth. If you look at those two guys, it isn’t hard to convince yourself the best route is to do a few years in undergrad, meet some really smart people, and then drop out and form your own company.

While it’s true that more than a few billionaires did drop out from their undergrad institutions, a far greater number stuck around to get their bachelor’s degree. We’ve assembled a list of fifty of the world’s wealthiest people — none have a net worth of less than ten billion dollars — who earned a degree at an undergraduate institution.

More importantly, we’ve also listed what each of these billionaires majored in at their colleges. If you’ve been asking yourself, “What should I major in?” and also wouldn’t mind being listed among the world’s wealthiest people, this list is certainly worth a look. Let’s take a look at which majors had the most billionaires.

Charles Koch
Net Worth: $41.3 B
Undergraduate Education: General Engineering at MIT

David Koch
Net Worth: $41.3 B
Undergraduate Education: Chemical Engineering at MIT

Michael Bloomberg
Net Worth: $34.5 B
Undergraduate Education: Electrical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University

Larry Page
Net Worth: $31.5 B
Undergraduate Education: Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan

Jeff Bezos
Net Worth: $30.4 B
Undergraduate Education: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Princeton

Carlos Slim Helu
Net Worth: $77 B
Undergraduate Education: Civil Engineering at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Bernard Arnault
Net Worth: $34.5 B
Undergraduate Education: Engineering at Ecole Polytechnique

Mukesh Ambani
Net Worth: $23.6 B
Undergraduate Education: Chemical Engineering at University of Mumbai

Viktor Vekselberg
Net Worth: $17.6 B
Undergraduate Education: Engineering at Moscow Transportation Engineering Institute

Stefan Quandt
Net Worth: $16.3 B
Undergraduate Education: Engineering at University of Karlsruhe

Leonid Michelson
Net Worth: $16 B
Undergraduate Education: Civil Engineering at Kuibyshev Civil Engineering Institute

Gennady Timchenko
Net Worth: $15.7 B
Undergraduate Education: Electrical Mechanical Engineering at Mechanical Institute of St. Petersburg

Azim Premji
Net Worth: $15.5 B
Undergraduate Education: Electrical Engineering at Stanford

Hansjoerg Wyss
Net Worth: $11.5 B
Undergraduate Education: Civil and Structural Engineering at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Zurich

You probably already knew engineering was among the best college majors for finding a job after undergrad. But while computer engineer salaries are nothing to sneeze at, it also seems as though this type of degree has given a lot of people a leg up in becoming super-wealthy as well. Of course, as with any of these majors, it’s difficult to say for sure whether these engineers would’ve became billionaires because they majored in engineering or if they would’ve made a ton of money no matter what they did in undergrad. But, the high number of billionaires with this degree cannot be ignored.

For some, it seems an engineering degree had a much more direct effect on their career than it did for others. Take Viktor Vekselberg for instance. A graduate of the Moscow Transportation Engineering Institute, Vekselberg used his engineering knowledge to actually work as an engineer before he founded an aluminum company. His engineering background undoubtedly helped him have a good foundation of knowledge for the aluminum business.

You don’t just have to be somebody who was able to benefit from the collapse of the Soviet Union to get incredible results from your engineering degree. Stefan Quandt, the heir to the BMW throne, must have found his engineering degree to be very useful while he helped run one of the most engineer-friendly companies around.

Others were able to find success in fields not exactly related to engineering. Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in electrical engineering. Instead of going into the engineering field, he decided to attend Harvard Business School. After getting his MBA from Harvard, he made most of his money in investment banking. This is a far cry from becoming an aluminum magnate in Ukraine, but still a good use of his degree.

Steve Ballmer
Net Worth: $20.8 B
Undergraduate Education: Applied Mathematics and Economics at Harvard

Jorge Paulo Lemann
Net Worth: $22.8 B
Undergraduate Education: Economics at Harvard

Masayoshi Son
Net Worth: $18.2 B
Undergraduate Education: Economics at UC Berkeley

Tadashi Yanai
Net Worth: $16.4 B
Undergraduate Education: Economics and Politics at Waseda University

Laurene Powell Jobs
Net Worth: $16 B
Undergraduate Education: Economics at University of Pennsylvania

Donald Bren
Net Worth: $15.5 B
Undergraduate Education: Business Administration and Economics at University of Washington

Vladimir Potanin
Net Worth: $15.5 B
Undergraduate Education: International Economics at Moscow State Institute of International Relations

Georg Schaeffler
Net Worth: $14.8 B
Undergraduate Education: Business and Economics at University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

Rupert Murdoch
Net Worth: $14.5 B
Undergraduate Education: Philosophy, Politics and Economics at University of Oxford

Lee Kun-Hee
Net Worth: $12.8 B
Undergraduate Education: Economics at Waseda University

Rinat Akhmetov
Net Worth: $12.8 B
Undergraduate Education: Economics at Donetsk National University

Hans Rausing
Net Worth: $12 B
Undergraduate Education: Economics, Statistics and Russian at Lund University

Sergei Galitsky
Net Worth: $11.9 B
Undergraduate Education: Economics at Kuban State University

Andrey Melnichenko
Net Worth: $11.7 B
Undergraduate Education: Economics at Plekhanov Russian University of Economics

If you were asked what college major makes the most money, chances are you probably wouldn’t choose one in the liberal arts. However, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that economics ties for the top spot in this list. The whole purpose of the major is to educate students on money and the many ways it can be made, lost, and traded.

Some billionaires with an economics degree found it necessary to also pursue some sort of grad school degree, as well. Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, decided to get an MBA from Stanford after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in economics. She definitely didn’t base her decision to go to grad school off of not being able to find employment as an economics major, though.

She worked at Goldman Sachs as a trading strategist before moving on to Stanford. Although she received a significant portion of her fortune from her husband, Powell is certainly no trophy wife. She used the knowledge from her economics degree to co-found a natural foods company before she ever met Steve.

Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, graduated from Harvard with a degree in economics before he went to Stanford to pursue an MBA. However, he dropped out before he graduated in order to join a gentleman named Bill Gates, to work at Microsoft. Once again, it’s hard to tell for sure how useful the undergrad degree was here, especially since Gates did just fine without one at the same company. But in theory, the knowledge Ballmer got from his degree would have been applicable while helping to run a young company. At the very least, it couldn’t have hurt.

Some people might consider economics to be one of those degrees that require you to go to grad school. While you’re asking yourself “What should I major in?” you probably also want to ask yourself if you’d be willing to go to grad school to get the most out of your degree. But, you should know that economics doesn’t necessarily need to be followed by an MBA.

Not every billionaire on the list found it necessary to try for a Master’s degree. Masayoshi Son founded an electronics company called “Unison” after graduating from Berkeley with a degree in economics. He was able to recognize the economic potential of computers without an MBA.

Likewise, Jorge Paulo Lemann made due with just his undergraduate economics degree. After graduating from Harvard, Lemann used his knowledge in economics to found a Brazilian investment banking firm that soon became one of the country’s best.

It appears that economics might not be the best college major for finding a five-figure salary right out of undergrad, but it’s really valuable if you plan to start your own company or find yourself working for an amazing start-up somewhere.

Warren Buffett
Net Worth: $66 B
Undergraduate Education: Business Administration at University of Nebraska

Aliko Dangote
Net Worth: $26.6 B
Undergraduate Education: Business at Al-Azhar University, Ciaro

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud
Net Worth: $21.1 B
Undergraduate Education: Business Administration at Menlo University

Susanne Klatten
Net Worth: $18.4 B
Undergraduate Education: Business Finance at International Institute for Management Development

Charles Ergen
Net Worth: $17 B
Undergraduate Education: Business Administration at University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Lakshmi Mittal
Net Worth: $16 B
Undergraduate Education: Commerce at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata

Dilip Shanghvi
Net Worth: $15.6 B
Undergraduate Education: Commerce at University of Calcutta

Donald Bren
Net Worth: $15.5 B
Undergraduate Education: Business Administration and Economics at University of Washington

Georg Schaeffler
Net Worth: $14.8 B
Undergraduate Education: Business and Economics at University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

Ronald Perelman
Net Worth: $14.2 B
Undergraduate Education: Business at University of Pennsylvania

John Paulson
Net Worth: $13.5 B
Undergraduate Education: Finance at NYU

You might be surprised not to find this major at the very top of the list, but business majors are still very well represented here. If you’re wondering what college majors make the most money, a business major is very much among them. We’re only looking at undergraduate degrees for this list, but if you counted business degrees earned in Master’s programs, then business would certainly be at the top of the list.

Warren Buffett has got to be one of the most well-known billionaires in America and he managed to earn his astounding $66 billion by not attending an Ivy League school. Well, not for undergrad anyway. Buffett did go on to get his MBA from Columbia Business School, but not before he earned his bachelor’s in business administration from University of Nebraska—Lincoln.

It’s very fitting that Buffett went for a business-related degree immediately because he was not one of those people who needed college to figure out where he was going in life. He spent his childhood going door to door selling magazines and soda, and first invested in the stock market at the age of 11. If you already love saving and investing money, you might want to be like Warren and major in business.

John Paulson, on the other hand, took a different kind of route to earn his finance degree. Paulson, who made his money as a hedge manager, studied topics as diverse as creative writing, philosophy, and film production during his first years at college. After staying with his rich uncle in Ecuador, Paulson realized he would prefer to be a wealthy person — seriously — and decided to major in finance, after all. That decision played no small part in getting him the $13.5 billion he is worth today.

Steve Ballmer
Net Worth: $20.8 B
Undergraduate Education: Applied Mathematics and Economics at Harvard

Sergey Brin
Net Worth: $31.1 B
Undergraduate Education: Computer Science and Mathematics at University of Maryland

Ananda Krishnan
Net Worth: $11.8 B
Undergraduate Education: Political Science at University of Melbourne

Carl Icahn
Net Worth: $23.9 B
Undergraduate Education: Philosophy at Princeton

George Soros
Net Worth: $23 B
Undergraduate Education: Philosophy at London School of Economics

David Thomson
Net Worth: $24.1 B
Undergraduate Education: History at Cambridge University

Alisher Usmanov
Net Worth: $19.5 B
Undergraduate Education: International Law at Moscow State Institute of International Relations

Phil Knight
Net Worth: $19.3B
Undergraduate Education: Journalism at University of Oregon

Abigail Johnson
Net Worth: $18 B
Undergraduate Education: Art History at William Smith College

Tadashi Yanai
Net Worth: $16.4 B
Undergraduate Education: Economics and Politics at Waseda University

Rupert Murdoch
Net Worth: $14.5 B
Undergraduate Education: Philosophy, Politics and Economics at University of Oxford

Alejandro Santo Domingo Davila
Net Worth: $13.4 Billion
Undergraduate Education: History at Harvard

Robin Li
Net Worth: $13.4 B
Undergraduate Education: Information Management at SUNY Buffalo and Peking University

Henry Sy
Net Worth: $13.1 B
Undergraduate Education: Commercial Studies at Far Eastern University

Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken
Net Worth: $11.6 B
Undergraduate Education: Law at University of Leiden

James Simons
Net Worth: $12.5 B
Undergraduate Education: Mathematics at MIT

You may notice that the numbers of billionaires with each major don’t add up to fifty. That’s because some of these overachieving billionaires had a double major. A double major is a good idea if you have a passion for learning, but also want the benefits of a more practical degree. Steve Ballmer’s applied mathematics degree, for instance, might not have been able to get him much work outside of academia, but we’ve already seen how useful his other degree, economics, became.

Some billionaires though, managed to make their way in the world pretty well with degrees people typically love to scoff at. A total of three billionaires on the list majored in philosophy, two of which didn’t have any other majors. Rupert Murdoch had a cross-disciplinary major in philosophy, politics and economics, but his recent legal trouble suggests he could’ve paid more attention when he was learning about ethical dilemmas in his philosophy courses.

James Simons, a math major at MIT, found a direct use for his undergrad education. First, he took the traditional career trajectory for somebody who majors in math and goes on to get a master’s in it as well: he taught mathematics at a university. But, since there aren’t too many professors making a list of billionaires, he of course changed paths.

However, his new career was also very much relevant to his undergrad degree. He founded Renaissance Technologies, a company with hedge funds that use mathematical models to make their trading decisions. They work by collecting as much data as possible and then searching for any non-random patterns to predict changes in the market.

So How Important Is Your Major?

The main thing to take away from this list is not that you have to major in economics or engineering to become a billionaire. As we’ve seen, these majors certainly don’t hurt, but what proved to be more important were these billionaires’ passions for the field they entered. Few became economics majors with the goal of being a billionaire in mind.

They did it because they already had an interest in learning about how different economies work. The lesson to take away here is not that you should definitely major in one of the programs listed, it’s that you should identify what you’re passionate about and study that. Hey, it worked for Warren Buffett.

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