Billionaires: What is the most popular PhD? – Postmaster of Economics

By | May 7, 2023

Many billionaires never went to college. Some others, like Mark Zuckerberg, are famous for quitting.

But on the other hand, at least 35 American billionaires read day and night, spending years at desks to earn a Ph.D., before landing a place in the world of zaplotus, Forbes reports.

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top 5

In total, at least nine American billionaires have earned PhDs in engineering, the most popular degree among all PhDs. Another 26 earned their PhDs in fields ranging from biology and chemistry to business research, marketing and social policy.

These billionaires, who make up 5% of the 735 Americans on Forbes’ 2023 list, have a combined fortune of $165 billion. Many have made money from their specialized knowledge, while others have become rich in entirely different fields.

The top 5 PhDs by wealth index are as follows:

1. Mechanics
2. IT
2.Biology (there is a tie for second place)
4. Chemistry
5. Physics

number 1

Long before he became CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt met his future wife Wendy while wandering Telegraph Avenue as a PhD student at UC Berkeley. “It seemed like a new world was developing right here on campus, in all the different labs and dormitories,” recalls Schmidt. “There was something in the air that made you think, something that made you dream,” he adds.

Schmidt (with an estimated net worth of $16.2 billion) studied electrical engineering and computer science for his Ph.D. in 1982, then worked for technology companies Sun Microsystems and Novell before being hired to run Google, where he was a consultant from 2001 to 2011.

The man behind Garmin GPS, Min Kao ($4.2 billion), also studied electrical engineering at the University of Tennessee. So is Henry Samueli ($7.7 billion), who earned his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1980 and was a professor at the school when he co-founded semiconductor giant Broadcom in 1991 with a fellow student, Henry Nicholas III ($6.66 billion). Dollars).

a special exception

Peggy Cherng ($2.5 billion) has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri and worked in software engineering for McDonnell Douglas and 3M, but built her fortune by co-founding the Panda Express fast-food chain with her husband in the 1980s. .

“While I may not use the specific content of my Ph.D.,” says Cherng, whose thesis involved developing a computer program to detect congenital heart disease, “the critical thinking and analytical skills I have gained have been invaluable in all aspects of my further course,” he characteristically emphasizes.

“A Ph.D. opens doors but doesn’t define your success,” he adds.

from 2 to 5

Both David Shaw ($7.9 billion) and David Siegel ($6.8 billion) made their fortunes on Wall Street thanks to a Ph.D. in computer science, which is the second most popular, with six graduates in all. .

Other computer scientists include Charles Simonyi ($5.2 billion), a Microsoft employee largely credited with creating Word and Excel, and James Clark ($2.9 billion), who founded the netscape website.

In addition, biology was tied for second with six billionaires, including Apple Chairman Art Levinson ($1.3 billion), who spent decades at biotech company Genentech and has written more than 80 scientific papers, and Timothy Springer ($2.1 billion), biology professor. Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard and is the first investor in Moderna, the maker of Covid-19 vaccines.

Chemistry follows in fourth place with at least five PhDs, including Li Ge ($5.6 billion) and Ning Zhao ($1.2 billion), US citizens living in China who studied at Columbia University before opening a Shanghai-based pharmaceutical company.

Physics completes the top five, with at least three doctorates.

other fields

However, it is not necessary to have one of these five degrees to become rich. Cliff Asness ($1.6 billion) studied finance, wrote a thesis on “variables that explain stock performance” and then built his own fortune as an investor.

Scott Smith ($1 billion), who founded the cloud computing company Qualtrics with his two sons, has a Ph.D. in “Marketing, Quantitative Methods, and Social Psychology.”

Then there’s Jeffrey Lurie ($4.4 billion), who got rich from his family’s movie business but earned his Ph.D. in social policy from Brandeis University.

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