John Grisham and Neil Armstrong: 4 degrees behind the world’s top millionaires

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Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and Co-Chairman of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, graduated with degree in Economics.

By U2B Staff 

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What degrees did the world’s top millionaires study? You may be curious if you’re trying to make your first million by the time you hit 30. There are many factors towards becoming a millionaire, and there’s no simple way to become one.

For those who aren’t born into money, it can often take years of hard work, ingenuity, and financial planning to earn big bucks, even for the most successful millionaires today.

However, a number of degrees tend to produce more millionaires than others. If you want to start your journey towards becoming a millionaire, consider these degrees if you have the passion and interest to pursue them.

Not all programmes are created equal though, as some have a tendency to produce graduates with higher earning potential due to the high-quality academics and teaching, as well as networking opportunities.

In 2016, data was compiled on the top degrees taken by millionaires by Spear’s in association with WealthInsight, the leading wealth consultancy company.

Oliver Williams, Head of WealthInsight pointed out that entrepreneurial and innovative thinking is a major factor towards becoming a millionaire, no matter the degree.

“Wealthy individuals are often entrepreneurs and innovators who benefit from degrees that encourage new and smart thinking. It is therefore no surprise to see that a high number of scientific and financial degrees are studied by millionaires: Numerical degrees are a particular advantage when it comes to amassing a personal fortune.

‘With the exception of the MBA and Business Studies, few of these degrees materialise as outright vocational pursuits. Most engineering graduates, for example, are not engineers but entrepreneurs. The same goes for most law and accountancy graduates who make their wealth in professions outside their degrees.”

Here are the top four that steadily yield a high number of high-income earners.


According to the study, engineering produces the greatest number of millionaires more than any other degree subject.

One of the most famous millionaire to graduate with a degree in Engineering is Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple. He graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences in 1986.

Another notable engineering graduate to earn an exceptional salary is the famed Neil Armstrong, who was not only the first person to set foot on the Moon, but also an aeronautical engineering graduate.

Master of Business Administration

There’s a reason why the MBA is the most popular graduate degree as if often pays off with a substantial increase in salary. Harvard Business School, specifically, yields the second-highest number of millionaires worldwide.

According to Forbes, out of the top 100 people in the Forbes Billionaires list, 11 of them are MBA degree holders. The richest person to date to hold an MBA is no other than Michael Bloomberg, founder, CEO, and owner of tech giant Bloomberg LP, who also earned his degree from Harvard Business School.

Interestingly enough, one of the most famous millionaires in the world is an MBA dropout – Steve Ballmer. The American businessman and investor was the chief executive officer of Microsoft from 2000-2014 and currently owns the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.


An Economics degree is another popular one taken by high-income earners, although the study points out that graduates who became millionaire have often left this degree behind in their personal life.

It’s also noteworthy that a number of US presidents are economics degree holders, including Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Donald Trump.

The most prolific billionaire to have studied Economics is most likely Warren Buffet, an American investor and business tycoon who is currently the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

He has a net worth of US$71.8 billion as of July 2020, which makes him the fourth-wealthiest person in the world.



Studying Law may be laborious but it pays off with high dividends as the fifth most highly-paid profession in the US. As successful lawyers can charge a fortune per hour, many lawyers have gone on to make millions and even billions of dollars in their careers.

One interesting success story is that of John Grisham’s. He is better known as a bestselling author, but he actually graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1983 and went on to practice as a criminal lawyer for a decade before writing his debut novel, A Time to Kill. He has since earned USD $200 million selling over 200 million copies of his books.