Who hasn’t dreamed of life as a millionaire – nay, a billionaire?
We all have. Admit it!
The good life of penthouses, yachts, champagne, and caviar.
Or, if you’re more like a me, an indoor pool completely filled with sour worms… and gummy bears.
Ahhh, the simple and frivolous joys money can buy!
But dreaming of getting rich won’t make you rich; unfortunately, you need to put in time and effort to achieve that.
Yep, it's true. Unless you’ve been born into wealth, you’ll need to work pretty damn hard to enter the upper echelon of society, where sour worm pools abound.
While you may have heard about tech geniuses and entrepreneurs bypassing or dropping out of university to develop an app or start their own business, this pathway is fraught with risks and for every success story you hear, there are countless failed attempts you don’t hear about.
The best approach to making bank is the tried and tested one – head to university and work your butt off!
Because technically you can't get a graduate job unless you graduate, right?
Okay, okay, settle down now, I know that’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but it’s true.
The vast majority of the world’s wealthiest have been to university. They put in the time to study early in their life to help them prosper later in life.
But what are the careers that make you wealthy? What and where do you study to secure a killer, high paying job in one of these fields? And most importantly, how are you going to turn your graduate job into millions?
Degrees most likely to make you a millionaire, sooner rather than later
Well let’s start with degrees, shall we.
We all know medicine and law are popular degrees that have great earning potential in the long term, but that’s just the problem, it takes too damn long!
We want to get rich quick, so what degrees have the most potential for wealth at a young age?
Well, in the changing times where STEM subjects are heralded as the future, it seems there’s some merit to this statement.
Not only can taking STEM subjects at secondary school impact your future wealth but of the world’s top 100 billionaires, a majority studied a STEM subject at university!
For secondary school students,
This particularly applies to women. According to the UK Telegraph, girls who study just one A level in a STEM subject during secondary school could earn an extra £4,500 (USD$5762) each year.
But wait, it gets better!
Women who study two STEM subjects could see their salaries increase by more than a third!
Though not quite as high, boys who study STEM subjects will also see a wage boost of 8%.
According to a study on the educational background of the billionaires on Forbes' list of the 100 richest people in the world:
Engineering graduates make up over one fifth (22%) and are the richest of their fellow list-makers, with a combined wealth of $25.8 billion!
Math, science, finance, and economics graduates combine to make up a further 15% of the top 100 billionaires rounding out the STEM subjects with the biggest impact.
Finance is always going to be a college major that features near the top of any wealthy list, largely due to the fact that a large portion of the world's richest maintain their wealth through investing and finance options.
A total of 8% of the world’s top 100 billionaires studied finance and have a combined wealth of $15.83 billion.
Which makes sense, right? I mean if you learn about money, you’re probably gonna make some money at some stage of your life.
Any one of those STEM degrees has great potential to convert you into an earning machine before you turn 30.
“But why?” I hear you asking.
Well aside from the stats and facts showing these courses have high prospective earning potential and they’ve produced some of the world’s wealthiest, they also provide graduates with fast-tracked pathways to success through potential for growth and the copious opportunities available.
Let’s take a closer look.
Here’s the deal:
You wanna be a millionaire? Study engineering!
Carlos Slim, once the world’s richest men, studied civil engineering and has a worth of $55 billion.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, has a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University and is worth $72.8 billion.
Larry Page, co-founder and CEO of Google, got his bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and a Master’s in Computer Science. Page is currently worth $40.7 billion.
These are just facts, people. Simple facts.
If you study engineering you’re more likely to become a billionaire.
In fact, as mentioned above, 22% of the world’s top 100 billionaires studied engineering in some form or another.
Those odds are insane – one in every five of the world’s richest billionaires studied engineering!
As you can see from the graph below, traditional engineering degrees such as civil engineering and mechanical engineering provide comfortable career potential, but not outrageous wealth:
Mining engineering provides the most reward for graduates who are looking for a traditional career pathway of staying in the same company for a number of years. However, unless you work your way to the top of the business, which is possible, it's hard to make any serious bank this way!
However, it's the newer strands of engineering that offer the greatest earning and entrepreneurial potential. Degrees such as computer engineering and software engineering support both innovation and entrepreneurialism and have produced countless young successes who go beyond the standard engineer career path.
This has a lot to do with the rapidly changing marketplace – evolving from the brick and mortar shop to online buying and spending.
Founders of companies like Google, Amazon, and PayPal have essentially changed the way the world works on a day to day basis, and computer and softawar engineers have been at the forefront of this revolution and cashed in big time!
Focusing on STEM subjects is a great direction to go if you're looking to develop your career and earning potential.
Given the technologically charged society we live in, pursuing a career in STEM will not only future-proof your career, but set you up to be at the cutting edge of the next wave of innovations that you can cash in on!
Basically, with technology developing at such a fast rate, the billionaires of the future could look very different to those of today. We've already seen the number of students taking chemistry at A level rise by almost a fifth, while physics, biology, and maths have increased by 15%, 12%, and 8% respectively.
Get in now before the world changes again. Join the movement, like many others have, and get ahead of the curb by studying engineering.
Sticking with the STEM theme, we'll continue onto computer science – a subject you've no doubt heard in the same sentence as "billionaire" before.
Over the past decade, computer science has become one of the most popular college degrees. As the tech industry and startup culture around the world continues to grow, so too will the demand for computer scientists and whiz kids!
Even now, there are over 500,000 open computing jobs across many sectors in the US, but there are only 50,000 computer science graduates a year... definitely way more demand than supply!
The average starting salary for graduates of computer science degrees is projected to be around $61,000, second only to engineering graduates.
The real potential for wealth, however, comes the from the power to develop your own product and found a company in the same vein as Google, Microsoft, and Apple.
In fact, computer science is fast becoming the highest paying, fastest growing field in the whole US economy, so get on board and watch your stocks rise!
Basically, computer science and software engineering are the future and offer great perks for graduates who have the potential to work at top global firms.
For example, check out the base salaries at the top five companies where the highest paid software engineers and computer scientists work:
There's massive earning potential for both the traditional pathway of working your way up through a company or the entrepreneurial pathway of founding your own company.
Just take a look at Zuckerberg – he didn't even finish his computer science degree at Harvard and he's worth billions!
Be warned, though; if you're thinking about taking the entrepreneurial route, make sure you're taking time out from your studies to refine your non-technical skills, too. Startup founders need to take on many roles in the early stages, so it will help to learn the ins and outs of business management before diving in head first.
Bar the dropout Zuckerberg, some notable computer science graduates who became entrepreneurs include Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google, and Reed Hastings, co-founder of Netflix.
Learning about money, particularly in the US, will mean you have the potential to make some money… SERIOUS money.
I mean it makes total sense, right?
But besides the obvious, what is it that a degree in finance can offer you?
Well, it’s not so much about the degree itself, but the many prospective career avenues that it opens up to you and the growth rate within the finance industry.
The average growth rate across all sectors of the workforce at 7%, but finance workers can expect their career to develop 5% faster than the average career. This means you'll become a millionaire faster than anyone else! (Well, except engineers and computer scientists, of course.)
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are many avenues to take once you’ve graduated with a finance undergrad degree, all of which present you with a comfortable living.
- Personal financial advisors earn a median salary of $89,160 USD per year
- Financial managers bring home a median salary of $117,990 USD annually
- In professional and scientific services, financial managers make $140,160 USD
- Working for the government the median salary is $107,120 USD for finance managers
That’s the kind of wage that gives you comfort... the white picket fence, two children, a family car, and plenty of space to run around in the backyard. However, if you’re looking for a more lucrative lifestyle then there are plenty of opportunities for you, too.
According to Business Insider, the highest paying finance gigs on Wall Street can earn you in excess of $20 million!
These high paying jobs may require a change of scenery, though, because most are found in the beating heart of global finance, New York City. Check them out:
- CCO – Chief Compliance Officer, $1 million to $2 million
- CRO – Chief Risk Officer, $1 million to $3 million
- CTO – Chief Technology Officer, $2 million to $3 million
- Proprietary Trader, $2 million to $3 million
- Hedge Fund Research Head, $2 million to $3 million
- Top Partner, $2 million to $5 million
- Head of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), $2 million to $6 million
- Head of Investment Banking, $3 million to $8 million
- Chief Hedge Fund Traders, $1 million to $20 million (or more)
Oh yeah! Now we’re talking. Seven figures, baby!
All of these jobs can be obtained with a bachelor degree, however, most high level positions are filled by employees with a master's or other postgraduate degree, so it may require a second stint at college in your late 20s, albeit a shorter one with a very high return on investment.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Wall Street is a meritocracy, meaning it’s one of the most merit-based industries, so if you’re willing to work hard, you’ll reap the rewards.
Wall Street holds no prisoners and is ruthless on underperformers!
Despite that, no matter what your definition of wealthy is – $100,000 or $10,000,000 – a finance degree can help you get there, fast!
In fact, look at Crimson’s founder and CEO, Jamie Beaton, as an example. Technically, he was a multi-millionaire by age 20 thanks to his finance degree, becoming the youngest ever analyst at Wall Street hedge fund, Tiger Management.
Obviously it wasn't just his degree that got him his coin, but where he got his degree played a pretty crucial role too.
Harvard, inarguably one of the best universities in the world, allowed Jamie to build connections, network, and prove himself worthy of his place on Wall Street.
On campus, Jamie was provided with plenty of opportunities, which ultimately paved the way for his wealth. Jamie was the president of Black Diamond Capital Investors, the largest student-run hedge fund at Harvard.
The skills he gained at Harvard and Tiger enabled him to raise $50 million for his own startup, which resulted in the founding of Crimson Education and becoming a young millionaire.
Yep, it's that simple... just get into Harvard!
Where to study to become a millionaire
Okay, so maybe that isn't simple...
Though no college, not even Harvard, can guarantee you'll become a millionaire, it can increase your odds of becoming one.
In its history, Harvard has produced 52 billionaires, with a collective fortune of $205 billion... and these numbers don't even include Harvard dropouts Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg whose combined worth is about $45 billion!
The correlation between Harvard graduates and big money is not a coincidence, my friend. No, sir!
The university you go to can have a huge impact on the way your life turns out... in particular how deep the pockets in your trousers will need to be.
You know, for all your money... do you get it?
Below is a list of the top ten universities for producing billionaire alumni... judging by the list, you might want to start preparing to apply somewhere in the US!
As you can see, there is a distinct Ivy League difference with five of the eight Ivies making the top ten... half the whole list of billionaires!
The second placed college, University of Pennsylvania, is an Ivy known for its strong focus on financial services careers, and around 25 seniors are hired directly by Goldman Sachs each year!
That's one of the massive Ivy League benefits – they act as feeder schools to top global firms.
While it helps, this isn't to say you can't become a billionaire if you're not an Ivy graduate, I mean there are five other schools on the list too.
It's simply to highlight the fact that where you study is vitally important to your life path.
If you're motivated to become the best, you should be vying for a place amongst the best at the world's top schools. Now it really is that simple!
Regardless of the university you attend, becoming successful still takes a lot of hard work! Watch the day in the life video below of a USC student/entrepreneur/millionaire and check out how jam-packed his schedule is:
How a UK university can make you rich
While nine of the top 10 schools on the list above are located in the US, there are plenty of options outside America, too.
So, if you're looking to break into the top 1% or just earn a more than comfortable living, don't be afraid to look elsewhere. In fact, it might end up being your differentiating factor.
For example, number 10 on the list, University of Cambridge, is one half of the famed Oxbridge duo, the other being University of Oxford. These famed British universities are renowned for producing Prime Ministers, Nobel Prize Laureates, and... Mr Bean.
Get a spot into one of these two colleges and you'll be networking with the future's most talented and powerful on a daily basis. From world leaders to world renowned artists, actors and comedians, some of the world's most recognisable and powerful have attended an Oxbridge college.
Additionally, an Oxbridge education can make a significant improvement to your wealth and can bump up your starting salary by an average of £7,600 ($9,821 USD).
Having said that, it's also shown that a degree from the London Business School (LBS) is the most lucrative for UK graduates.
London Business School is also ranked in the top five UK schools for producing millionaires and offers graduates a starting salary of £15,000 ($19,383 USD) higher than the Oxbridge colleges.
Yep, £15,000 higher. That's an average starting salary of £69,000 ($89,162 USD). So there's much more to the UK system than just the Oxbridge schools, that's for sure!
The main difference between US and the UK universities is their approach to education. Neither one is better than the other, just different.
The US values breadth of knowledge and encourages experimentation and exploration beyond your chosen major, while the UK focuses on depth of knowledge in one given field.
The US approach is more aligned with producing dishevelled tech geniuses who start their own company while the UK has a reputation for producing geniuses who work their way to the top of an already established system through hard work... and the application of their genius, obviously.
Having said that, London's tech scene is growing at a rate faster than that of both New York and Silicon Valley, so this could all change over the coming years.
It's tough deciding where to study; both the US and UK have world class education systems. Ultimately it comes down to your learning style and your aspirations – you need to choose the system that suits you best!
Securing a high paying graduate job
Obviously you can't just make bank as soon as you graduate, regardless of where you studied, and you'll probably need to start working towards your millions by first getting your foot in the door and gaining experience.
Sure, your first job probably won't be your dream job, but it can start a pathway to your dream job or inspire you to take your side hustle to the next level.
Here, in rank order, are the top 10 degrees most likely to get at least one job offer by the time graduation day rolls around:
- Computer science
- Business administration
- Sociology/social work
- History/political science
It's interesting to note that these pretty accurately align with the degrees and jobs more likely make you a millionaire: computer science, economics, and engineering all featuring near the top of both lists!
Whether you're reading this blog to help kickstart your passion project, help you prepare for your college applications, or you're having a mid-degree crisis and are looking to transfer into a new course, there's plenty of time for you to consider pathways and start working towards those dreams of making serious stacks!
Soon enough, you'll be making paper, just know that is doesn't come easily and it won't happen overnight. It'll take some sacrifice in the short term to achieve the long term pay off.
Whether it takes a four-year degree to get your foot in the door or having less of a social life to start your own company, there will be some things you have to give up.
Putting in the effort now, through education and time, will pay off in the long run and is the best approach to fast-tracking your wealth.
Whatever you end up doing, the sheer fact that you're reading this blog means you're driven, inspired, and willing to learn to get what you want – three invaluable attributes of any millionaire.
Everyone dreams of making serious bank one day. It's totally natural to do so.
But while everyone dreams, very few act upon those dreams. Are you a dreamer and a doer?
You're going places, champ! Just don't forget about us when you've made it big.