Number of Olympic athletes, number of Nobel Laureates, number of CEOs . . . there are many “numbers” one could look at to gauge the reputation and prestige of a certain university. We add to that list the number of Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) alumni — that is, the number of alumni worth at least $30 billion.
In September 2019, Wealth-X released its report on the universities churning out the highest numbers of UHNW individuals. Of the top 10 universities, nine are located in the United States.
1. Harvard University
Number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals: 13,650
Wealth: $4.769 trillion
When it comes to producing Ultra High Net Worth alumni, Harvard University dwarfs the competition. The Ivy League research university has produced a whopping 13,650 UHNW individuals — more than twice the number to have graduated from the #2 school on our list! Often cited as the best university in the world, Harvard was established in 1636 and is America’s oldest institution of higher education. Besides its nearly 14,000 UHNW individuals — who are worth a collective $4.8 trillion — Harvard has produced eight U.S. presidents, over 30 other heads of state, 158 Nobel Laureates, 108 Olympic medalists, and 359 Rhodes Scholars.
2. Stanford University
Number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals: 5,580
Wealth: $2.899 trillion
The university which has produced the second highest number of Ultra High Net Worth individuals is Stanford University. Located in California’s Silicon Valley, Stanford University is an elite private school known for its rigorous academics and overall excellence. Indeed, Stanford is almost always included on lists of the best universities in the world. Nearly 5,600 individuals with a combined wealth of $2.9 trillion call Stanford their alma mater. Additionally, Stanford can count amongst its alumni 83 Nobel Laureates, 17 astronauts, 27 Turing Award laureates, and myriad members of the United States Congress.
3. University of Pennsylvania
Number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals: 5,575
Wealth: $1.780 trillion
University of Pennsylvania, or “Penn” as it’s commonly known, counts 5,575 Ultra High Net Worth individuals among its alumni. Collectively, these wealthy people are worth an incredible $1.780 trillion! One of the oldest universities in the United States, Penn has also produced 44 U.S. governors, three U.S. Supreme Court justices, 16 Pulitzer Prize winners, 35 Nobel Laureates, and 14 heads of state (including two U.S. presidents, one of which is current president, Donald Trump). Penn is well known for its rigorous academics and, in particular, its excellent professional and graduate schools including the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School of Business.
4. Columbia University
New York, New York
Number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals: 3,925
Wealth: $1.501 trillion
As the state of New York’s oldest institution of higher education, and the 5th oldest in the United States, it really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Columbia University has graduated the fourth highest number of UHNW individuals. Collectively worth more than $1.5 trillion, Columbia’s ultra high net worth individuals include 38 living billionaires. Other distinguished alumni of Columbia University in the City of New York include five U.S. Founding Fathers, three U.S. presidents and 29 other heads of state, 10 Supreme Court justices, 96 Nobel laureates, 11 Olympic medalists, 125 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 39 Academy Award winners.
5. New York University
New York, New York
Number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals: 3,380
Wealth: $712 billion
Another New York City-based university which is remarkably adept at churning out ultra high net worth individuals is NYU. This private research university — which also includes degree-granting campuses in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi — boasts among its many distinguished alumni nearly 3,400 UHNW individuals with a collective wealth totaling $712 billion. In addition to the myriad heads of state and members of royalty which have chosen NYU as their alma mater, the university has graduated 37 Nobel Laureates, eight Turing Award winners, 30 Pulitzer Prize winners, 30 Academy Award winners, and hundreds of members of U.S. Congress.
6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals: 2,785
Wealth: $990 billion
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) comes in at #6 on our list of universities with the wealthiest alumni. Established in 1861, MIT has played a vital role in countless scientific developments of the last two centuries. Known worldwide for its rigorous academics and innovative research, MIT consistently ranks as one of the best universities worldwide. Nearly 3,000 ultra high net worth individuals have graduated from MIT, and their collective wealth totals $990 billion. Among MIT’s notable alumni are 93 Nobel Laureates, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation winners, 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force, and 41 astronauts, to name but a few.
7. University of Cambridge
Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
Number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals: 2,760
Wealth: $390 billion
Of the top 10 universities churning out ultra high net worth individuals, University of Cambridge is the only one located outside of the United States. Situated in the university town of Cambridge in England, this elite public research university has been around since about 1209. Cambridge consistently ranks as the best university in the United Kingdom, and has also been named among the top five universities worldwide by publications such as Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Academic Ranking of World Universities, and U.S. News & World Report. Amongst its many distinguished alumni, University of Cambridge counts 117 Nobel Laureates, 194 Olympic medalists, 14 British Prime Ministers, and seven Turing Award winners.
8. Northwestern University
Number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals: 2,725
Wealth: $389 billion
Northwestern University, located in Evanston, Illinois, is a highly selective private research university. While its undergraduate degree programs are greatly respected, Northwestern is perhaps best known for its many top-tier professional schools, including the Kellogg School of Management, Feinberg School of Medicine, Medill School of Journalism, Pritzker School of Law, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Bienen School of Music. Besides 2,725 UHNW individuals, Northwestern has produced 19 Nobel Laureates, 16 Rhodes Scholars, two Supreme Court Justices, and 38 Pulitzer Prize winners, to name but a few.
9. University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
Number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals: 2,645
Wealth: $548 billion
Established in 1880, University of Southern California (USC) is California’s oldest private research university, and as such it has graduated its fair share of successful alumni. More than 2,600 ultra high net worth individuals claim USC as their alma mater, as do nine Nobel Laureates, a Turing Award winner, 11 Rhodes Scholars, and more Academy Award winners than any other institution on Earth. USC is consistently ranked among the best universities in the world by such publications as U.S. News & World Report, Academic Ranking of World Universities, and Times.
10. University of Chicago
Number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals: 2,405
Wealth: $707 billion
Last, but certainly not least, on our list of the top 10 universities with the wealthiest alumni is University of Chicago. More than 2,400 ultra high net worth individuals have graduated from this elite private research university, and their collective wealth totals more than $700 billion. The university is known worldwide for its professional schools, which include the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, Booth School of Business, and the University of Chicago Law School. Among the university’s many distinguished alumni are 98 Nobel Laureates (one of the highest numbers of any university in the world), 54 Rhodes Scholars, four Turing Award winners, and 25 Pulitzer Prize winners, plus myriad members of the U.S. Congress.