One question on the minds of college students everywhere is this: What degree is going to provide me with the very best opportunity to become truly successful? And this same question is often very much on the minds of people already working full time who want to get a second degree--perhaps an MBA or other graduate degree--to boost their work skills and career prospects.
U.K.-based Approved Index took a close look at Forbes's list of the 100 wealthiest people in the world to answer this question, and the results are often surprising. Consider these facts:
- 32 percent of billionaires do not have a college degree. (Famously, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of college prior to completing a degree, and the dyslexic Richard Branson dropped out of high school.)
- Twice as many billionaires have degrees in the arts as in math and science.
- The average age of the billionaires in Approved Index's survey is 68.
So, what college degree will make you rich? Perhaps no college degree at all. Here's the breakdown for the world's 100 wealthiest people, according to Approved Index:
- 32% No college degree
- 22% Engineering
- 12% Business
- 10% Other
- 9% Arts
- 8% Economics
- 3% Finance
- 2% Science
- 2% Mathematics
"These findings undoubtedly add a new dimension to the debate about the relevance and value of a degree today, and certainly suggest that in order to have a thriving and diverse economy, we need to encourage a varied range of specializations," says Amy Catlow, a director at Approved Index.
Now, if all you're looking for is a job offer and not necessarily billionaire status, the National Association of Colleges and Employers has compiled a list of the academic majors most likely to get you at least one job offer by the time graduation day rolls around. Here, in rank order, are the top 10:
- Computer science
- Business administration
- Sociology/social work
- History/political science
- Health care