Those who have graduated from a private, Ivy League school in the U.S. have a better chance of being worth more than $30 million than someone who didn't. However, there are various public universities that have produced millionaires and billionaires. Although most of the top millionaire-making schools are located in the U.S., plenty of schools on the list are located throughout the globe, including Canada, Australia, Europe, and Asia.

Key Takeaways

  • Many ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals have graduated from some of the most prestigious schools in the world.
  • Harvard University has 1,830 high-net-worth graduates, while Stanford University has 775, and the University of Pennsylvania has 744.
  • The top international schools were the University of Cambridge with 259 and the University of Oxford with 218 UHNW alumni.
  • Boston University had the highest percentage of women, with 12%, representing the school's UHNW alumni population.
2:03

Where The Ultra-Wealthy Go To School

Where the Ultra-Wealthy Get Educated

Research firm Wealth-X compiled a list of schools that produce millionaires and billionaires. It looked at alumni and reviewed the schools they were graduating from and whether they inherited, were self-made, or both. The firm then ranked the schools according to how many ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals—people with more than $30 million in assets—each school had among its graduates. The results only included undergraduate and graduate degrees but did not count diplomas, certificates, honorary degrees, or any degrees that weren't completed.

According to the firm, the term "net worth" is defined by all holdings including privately- and publicly-held businesses as well as investable assets. The results aren’t too surprising at first blush with Harvard University topping the list.

Top U.S. Schools with Ultra-Wealthy Alumni

Harvard counts some 1,830 high-net-worth graduates. That's twice the number of the next two ranking colleges, Stanford University, with 775 and the University of Pennsylvania, with 744 (despite its name, it's a private institution). Rounding out the top five were Columbia University (516) came in 4th place, while New York University (456) came in 5th place.

The remaining top ten universities with ultra-high-net-worth graduates were Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which came in at 6th place with 351 graduates. Northwestern University (365) and the University of Southern California (319) were in 7th and 8th place, respectively.

The University of Chicago (326) was 9th while Yale University came in tenth place with 358 graduates. Both Princeton (309) and Cornell (299) landed in the top fifteen along with the University of Notre Dame with 316 UHNW alumni.

Other Public Universities

The public universities on the list were the University of Texas at Austin with 332, the University of California, Berkeley with 295, the University of Michigan with 281, UCLA with 277, and the University of Virginia with 251. Boston University and the University of Miami were tied with 203 UHNW graduates.

Top International Schools with Ultra-Wealthy Alumni

Of the millionaire-producers abroad, the University of Cambridge holds the top spot (259) with the University of Oxford (218) in second place. In third place was France's INSEAD, which graduated 174 of the upper-end millionaires, followed by the University of Singapore (142) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (102).

Canada

Two of the top ten were located in Canada. The University of Toronto had 94, and McGill University had 81 UHNW alumni.

Asia

China also has two spots in the top ten with Tsinghua University with 74 and Peking University with 67 UHNW graduates. However, the American University of Beirut in Lebanon produced 104 UHNW alumni. India was well represented with the University of Mumbai with 119 and 58 for the University of Delhi.

Australia

Australia had three schools in the top twenty. The University of Sidney had 55, while the University of Melbourne produced 37, and Monash University had 30 UHNW graduates.

Self-Made vs. Inherited Wealth

Although the Wealth-X report doesn't offer details on how the super-rich made their money, it does show the difference in the number of alumni who are self-made, inheritors of wealth, or a mix of the two.

The schools with the highest percentage of inherited wealth in the United States were Columbia University with 12%, followed by Northwestern University with 11%, and Boston University at 10%.

The top two schools that had the largest number of ultra-high-net-worth individual alums who were reportedly self-made were the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago. Both schools had 84% of their UHNW graduates produce self-made wealth. The next two schools were Harvard University and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with 79% of their UHNW graduates who were self-made millionaires or billionaires.

Ultra-Wealthy Alumni by Gender

The report also broke down the UHNW graduates by gender and university. The school with the highest concentration of ultra-rich alums who were male was the University of Notre Dame with 96%. MIT and the University of Pennsylvania followed with both schools showing that 95% of their UHNW alumni were men.

Female graduates represented a smaller percentage of the UHNW population. The top school with the highest percentage rate of female UHNW graduates was Boston University, with 12%. Northwestern (11%), Columbia (10%), New York University (10%), and University of Southern California (9%) completed the top five schools with the highest percentage of female UHNW graduates.

Networking Premium

The data also shows the value of networks. Harvard is famous for having people in high places: Harvard has among its alumni Lloyd Blankfein, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, and economist Paul Krugman, who got an Economics Ph.D. at MIT. Even the dropouts can become successful—Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook while he was a student at Harvard.