Engineering degree most popular among world’s millionaires

Survey of 70k high net worth people reveals higher education trends.

Comments Off on Engineering degree most popular among world’s millionaires November 21, 2013
Mike McLeod

Nov-13-spears-millionaires-engineering-360According to a survey conducted by consulting firm WealthInsight and Spear’s, a British magazine for the wealthy, an engineering degree is the most popular among the 70,000 worldwide millionaires surveyed (i.e. those with US$1 million or more in assets–excluding primary residences). MBA came in second on the list followed by economics, law and business administration degrees.

For those engineers wondering why their bank accounts aren’t quite as flush, the results are a bit misleading, admits WealthInsight analyst Oliver Williams. He said most of those surveyed didn’t make their fortunes as practitioners.

“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.”

In addition to degrees held, the survey also ranked the universities attended. Harvard predictably topped the list followed by Standford, the University of California, Columbia and Oxford. Although no Canadian universities made the top 10, five made the top 100. The University of Toronto ranked 37 followed closely by McGill University at number 40. Also making the list were the University of British Columbia (55), Queen’s University (60) and the University of Western Ontario (78).

Further bolstering the value of higher education, the survey revealed that only 1 percent of the world’s millionaires didn’t go to university or dropped out early. However, the list does include a select group of the world’s wealthiest billionaires who didn’t go to university — including Bill Gates and Richard Branson — as well Mark Zuckerberg, who dropped out of Harvard to focus on founding Facebook.