The college majors—and first jobs—of the world's richest people

More billionaires started out in sales than any other field, according to a new report from Aaron Wallis, a British recruiting firm.

The firm analyzed Forbes' list of the world's 100 richest people and researched the billionaires' first career and college major, reports Bob Wile for Money.

The path to riches for the top 100 billionaires is broken down by their first jobs below:

  • More than half of the world's wealthiest started out working at an organization not owned by their family;
  • Less than 20% started their own business; and
  • About 30% inherited their wealth or worked for a family business.

What do rich kids study in college?

Next, Aaron Wallis investigated the first career choices of the billionaires who began their careers working at an organization not owned by themselves or by family.

Billionaires' five most common first jobs:

  1. Salesperson;
  2. Stock Trader;
  3. Software Developer;
  4. Engineer; and
  5. Analyst.

According to the Aaron Wallis report, the sales field may be especially fertile for billionaires as it gives people deal-making experience.

Revisiting the career outcomes conversation

Billionaires' five most common college degrees:

  1. Engineering;
  2. Business;
  3. Finance & Economics;
  4. Law; and
  5. Computer Science.

The engineering degree's top slot reflects the list's many entrepreneurs who made their money in technology, reports Aaron Wallis. For example, the list includes Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Google's Larry Page.

How Susquehanna University repackaged their English program to meet student demand

While digging into the educational background of these billionaires, the firm also found that 25% of the wealthiest people on the list did not have a college degree. Bill Gates is just one example of a billionaire college dropout, writes Wile (Aaron Wallis results, 9/20; Wile, Money, 9/20).  

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