A Learjet on standby for treks to St. Barts. A heated marble driveway for their Lamborghini Veneo Roadster. An Olympic-sized swimming pool surrounded by waterfall grottos. Twenty-four-karat gold-leafed walls peppered with Picassos, Monets, and Cézannes.
Admit it: You’ve probably dreamed of living like business titans, with their labyrinth gardens and two-story wine cellars. Ah, ‘champagne wishes and caviar dreams.’ And who would turn down the opulence, glamor, and renown of being a billionaire? Just imagine your face dotting the cover of Fortune or walking past buildings bearing your name? Still, any bliss inherent to wealth must be rooted in something deeper than ritz, ego, and security. It’s about knowing that you’ve left a legacy . . . and that your sacrifices were worth it.
Make no mistake: business majors are looking to make it big. They may not aspire to be a Carlos Slim or Abigail Johnson, but they’re ultimately seeking certain comforts. That’s why they forfeit steady paychecks for two years; they’re polishing their skills and building their networks for a pending payout. If future captains of industry are looking to hit the jackpot and join the billionaires’ club some day, there is one undergraduate program that stands above all others: The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
PENN TOPS UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS
Among undergraduate programs – which were not restricted to business schools – the University of Pennsylvania ranked No. 1, with 25 billionaire alumni. That was the finding from the 2014 Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census released Nov. 11. According to their research, Penn was closely trailed by Harvard University (22) and Yale University (20), and the University of Southern California (16). Princeton University, Cornell University, and Stanford University were tied with 14 billionaire bachelor’s degree holders each. Overall, American undergraduate programs held the top eight spots (and 16 of the top 20 spots) for alumni billionaires, with the University of Mumbai (12), the London School of Economics and Political Science (11) and the Lomonosov Moscow State University (11) performing best among non-U.S. undergraduate programs.
Nearly 25% of billionaires who held a bachelor’s degree from American programs started as international students. And 39% who pursued post-bachelor’s degrees in the U.S. were born outside the country. While half of MBAs congregated in 10 programs, just 16% of billionaires with bachelor’s degrees attended the 20 undergraduate programs with the most MBAs.
THE BILLIONAIRE POPULATION IS EXPLODING
According to Wealth-X, there are currently 2,325 billionaires globally, an increase of 7% over the previous year. Their combined wealth – $7.3 trillion – reflects a 12% jump over the previous year. Despite this lofty figure, billionaires only control four percent of the world’s wealth. Wealth-X also projects that the number of billionaires will exceed 3,800 by 2020, a 39% increase in just six years.