These 10 American colleges have minted more than 500 billionaires, including Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, and the founders of Google

Stanford University is a billionaire-producing machine.

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Stanford University is a billionaire-producing machine.
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Shutterstock/MintImages

  • Billionaires don’t all follow the same path to success, but some of them look pretty similar.
  • Of the world’s 2,754 billionaires, more than 560 hold an undergraduate or graduate degree from one of 10 American colleges.
  • Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, and the founders of Google are all part of this group.
  • The top-producing billionaire colleges are Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania.

The world’s total billionaire population grew by nearly 15% from 2016 to 2017, to 2,754 people, according to Wealth-X’s latest Billionaire Census.

While the path to mega-riches certainly isn’t the same for all, more than 560 of those billionaires – 567, to be exact – hold a degree from one of 10 top American colleges. That includes Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, and the founders of Google.

In its tally, Wealth-X counted alumni with both undergraduate and graduate degrees, counting alumni of multiple institutions more than once, but left out those with diplomas, certificates, honorary degrees, and those who dropped out.

According to the report, 188 living billionaires are Harvard University alumni – and that doesn’t include Harvard dropouts Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, two of the richest men in the world.

The next highest-billionaire producing school is Stanford University, with 74 known billionaire alumni, including Nike cofounder Phil Knight. Notably absent from the list is Princeton University, the alma mater of Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person.

Below, check out the 10 US colleges that have minted the most billionaires.


10. University of Michigan — 26 billionaire alumni


(TIE) 8. University of Southern California — 29 billionaire alumni

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George Lucas, founder of Lucasfilm and creator of the Star Wars franchise, class of 1967.
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Gerardo Mora/Getty


(TIE) 8. University of Chicago — 29 billionaire alumni

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David Rubenstein, cofounder and co-CEO of Carlyle Group, class of 1973.
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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters


7. Yale University — 31 billionaire alumni

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Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of the Blackstone Group, class of 1969.
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REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

6. Cornell University — 35 billionaire alumni

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Hedge fund manager David Einhorn, founder of Greenlight Capital, class of 1991.
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Reuters/ Brendan McDermid

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) — 38 billionaire alumni

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David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, class of 1962 and 1963.
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Reuters/Brendan McDermid

4. Columbia University — 53 billionaire alumni

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Warren Buffett, investor, philanthropist, and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, class of 1951.
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Lucas Jackson/Reuters

3. University of Pennsylvania — 64 billionaire alumni

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Elon Musk, cofounder of PayPal and founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, class of 1997.
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Rashid Umar Abbasi / Reuters

2. Stanford University — 74 billionaire alumni

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Phil Knight, cofounder and chairman emeritus of Nike, class of 1962.
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Getty Images / Steve Dykes

1. Harvard University — 188 billionaire alumni