The 19 Richest Billionaires with Master's Degrees

By Gregory John "G.J." Vitale on November 1, 2013

This article is brought to you by Kaplan, the leader in test preparation for over 90 standardized tests including the GRE, GMAT, LSAT and MCAT. To learn more about Kaplan’s Test Prep offerings, click here.

Everyone rich is a college dropout, right? After all, the only wealthy people you hear about are lucky to have finished high school.

It’s the side-effect of a good story. No one wants to hear about the guy/gal who managed to earn a graduate and wound up making a sizable fortune in finances…

No, that’s too predictable.

This is the story people want:

Taylor grew up in southern Mississippi to a poor family in 1967. The family business was alligator farming (raising alligators for meat to sell to local shops and restaurants). Taylor never finished high school and dropped out before senior year. When Taylor was 17, the idea to expand the family business to deliver to Alabama spurred an interesting business venture. For the first year, Taylor made all deliveries into Alabama via personal truck and trailer. After a year, the local newspaper did a story about Taylor and the family alligator company. The spot got the attention of media mogul Pat, who happened to live in Buloxi during the winter months. Pat contacted Taylor to make an order. When Taylor arrived at Pat’s house, there was a business proposition to make the alligator company nationwide. Five years and 500,000 dollars in revenue later, Taylor and Pat sold their company to Omaha Steaks for 5 million dollars, making both of them millionaires.

Not this:

Taylor’s father was the Vice President of Financial Operations at ExxonMobile. Taylor was the smartest student all through high school. After attending Yale for four years and earning a Bachelor’s in Economics, Taylor got an internship at ExxonMobile during the summer after graduation. That fall, UPenn’s Wharton School of Business was next. After earning an M.B.A., ExxonMobile hired the business prodigy as their Assistant Director of Marketing. In four years, Taylor became the head of the marketing department. In four more years, after Taylor’s father retired, Taylor took over as Vice President of Financial Operations. After four years there, Taylor became a Senior Vice President. On Taylor’s 50th birthday, Taylor took over the CEO role.

We like to hear about some nobody who built a multi-billion dollar portfolio despite a lack of higher education. A story that perhaps convinces us that even though we’re not the smartest guy/gal, look at this person and the success they’ve had with even less education than me.

I will now list off some of those “predictable” people: the billionaires with a Master’s or a Doctorate from an American university.

Please note that not all of these 20 earned their fortune directly because of their degree…when you inherit a billion-dollar-a-year company, however, you may have some leftover change to perhaps go get yourself some expensive education.

The numbers information are provided by Forbes.

1. Warren Buffett

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Worth: $58.5 billion

Title, Company: CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

Degree, School: Master of Science, Columbia University

2. Charles Koch

Worth: $36 billion

Title, Company: CEO, Koch Industries

Degree, School: Master of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3. David Koch

Worth: $36 billion

Title, Company: Executive Vice President, Koch Industries

Degree, School: Master of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4. Michael Bloomberg

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Worth: $31 billion

Title, Company: Mayor of New York City; Founder and Owner of Bloomberg LP

Degree, School: Master of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

5. S. Robson Walton

Worth: $33.3 billion

Title, Company: Chairman, Wal-Mart Stores

Degree, School: Doctor of Jurisprudence, Columbia University

6. Larry Page

Worth: $24.9 billion

Title, Company: Cofounder/CEO, Google

Degree, School: Master of Science, Stanford University

7. Sergey Brin

Worth: $24.4 billion

Title, Company: Cofounder/Director of Special Projects, Google

Degree, School: Master of Science, Stanford University

8. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud

Worth: $20 billion

Title, Company: Founder/CEO/95%-owner, Kingdom Holding Company

Degree, School: Master of Science, Syracuse University

9. Forrest Mars, Jr.

Worth: $20.5 billion

Title, Company: Co-inheritor, Mars, Inc.

Degree, School: Master of Business Administration, New York University

10. Len Blavatnik

Worth: $17.8 billion

Title, Company: Founder, Access Inustries

Degree, School: Master of Business Administration, Harvard University/Master of Science, Columbia University

11. Phil Knight

Worth: $16.3 billion

Title, Company: Chairman, Nike

Degree, School: Master of Business Administration, Stanford University

12. Abigail Johnson

Worth: $17.2 billion

Title, Company: President, Financial Services, Fidelity Investments

Degree, School: Master of Business Administration, Harvard University

13. Ray Dalio

Worth: $12.9 billion

Title, Company: Founder & Co-Chief Investment Officer, Bridgewater Associates

Degree, School: Master of Business Administration, Harvard University

14. Ronald Perelman

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Worth: $14 billion

Title, Company: Chairman/CEO, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc

Degree, School: Master of Business Administration, University of Pennsylvania

15. Ananda Krishnan

Worth: $11.7 billion

Title, Company: Owner/Sole Proprietor, Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd

Degree, School: Master of Business Administration, Harvard University

16. James Simons

Worth: $12 billion

Title, Company: Founder, Renaissance Technologies Corp.

Degree, School: Doctorate, University of California Berkeley

17. John Paulson

Worth: $11.4 billion

Title, Company: Founder/President of Paulson & Co.

Degree, School: Master of Business Administration, Harvard University

18. Laurene Powell Jobs

Worth: $11.7 billion

Title, Company: Founder/Chair, Emerson Collective; Inheritor, Apple

Degree, School: Master of Business Administration, Stanford University

19. Charles Ergen

Worth: $12.5 billion

Title, Company: Founder/Chairman, DISH Network

Degree, School: Master of Business Administration, Wake Forest University

Are you looking for college advice and tips from successful students? Download the free Uloop & Kaplan eBook, Student to Student today!

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