What the world’s billionaires studied and where – including South Africa

 ·15 Apr 2022

The recently published Hurun Global Rich List 2022 ranks over 3,300 billionaires from 69 different companies and 2,500 companies – including South Africa.

The report highlights the industries and companies behind some of the wealthiest people in the world.

Chairman and principal researcher of the report, Rupert Hoogewerf, said: “The Russia-Ukraine war, Covid-19, and the US-China Trade War all contributed to 337 billionaires going off the list this year, almost one a day.”

Nevertheless, continuous economic digitisation, technological advancements, and inflation supported the addition of 490 new billionaires to the list, resulting in an unexpected net gain of 153 billionaires, said Hoogewerf.

The report showed that the energy, biotech, luxury goods, semiconductor, software services and shipping industries had good results.

Hoogewerf stressed that there are now 10 individuals with $100 billion in wealth, up from zero a mere five years ago.

“At this rate, by 2030, expect to see 8,000 billionaires, 600 with $10 billion and more than fifty with $100 billion,” noted Hoogewerf.

World’s most wealthy

Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Alphabet fame joined the top 10 at the expense of Mark Zuckerburg and China-based Zhong Shanshan.

Elon Musk of Tesla fame remains the richest man on the planet, with an estimated wealth of $205 billion.

The table below details where and what the 10 wealthiest people in the world studied:

Rank Name Wealth US$bn Age Main Company University Degree
1 Elon Musk 205 50 Tesla University of Pennsylvania Bachelor in economics and physics
2 Jeff Bezos 188 58 Amazon Princeton University Bachelor degree in electrical engineering and computer science
3 Bernard Arnault 153 73 LVMH The École Polytechnique Bachelor degree in engineering
4 Bill Gates 124 66 Microsoft Harvard University Dropped out but enrolled in a pre-law major with mathematics and graduate-level computer science course
5 Warren Buffet 119 91 Berkshire Hathaway University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia Business School Bachelor of Science in business administration and a master of science in economics
6 Sergey Brin 116 48 Alphabet The University of Maryland, and Stanford University Bachelor of Science in computer science with honours in computer science and mathematics
7 Larry Page 116 48 Alphabet The University of Michigan, and Standford University Bachelor of Science in computer engineering and a master of computer science from Standford University
8 Steve Ballmer 107 65 Microsoft Harvard University Bachelor of Arts in applied mathematics and economics
9 Mukesh Ambani 103 64 Reliance The Mumbai Insitute of Chemical Technology Bachelor in chemical engineering
10 Bertrand Puech & Family 102 N/A Hermes Axel Dumas (current CEO) Paris-Sorbonne University Bachelor degree in philosophy and master of laws.

Both degrees relating to engineering and computer science dominated the education of the ultra-rich. Economic and mathematic related courses followed. Whereas expertise in the legal, physics and business administration fields was less common.

Prestigious universities such as the Californian University of Standford and the University of Pennsylvania were the schools of choice for many mega-wealthy business people.

These universities have low acceptance rates due to their exclusivity. Despite the University of Standford not having a minimum SAT score requirement, it is recommended that students achieve within the 75th percentile of 1,580 or above. The average score for the American mathematical and verbal skills tests (SAT) is 1,051.

South Africa

The number of South African billionaires in the ranking has remained unchanged from 2021, with five listing among the global elite.

Due to solid gains in luxury goods and the financial sector, South Africa’s billionaires have increased their wealth from $21.4 billion in 2021 to $24.6 billion in 2022.

South Africa’s richest person, Johann Rupert, saw his wealth increase by 56% over the last year to $10 billion, placing him ahead of the local ranking, with Nick Oppenheimer and Koos Bekker following.

Rank Name Wealth US$bn Age Main Company University Degree
238 Johann Rupert 10 71 Compagnie Financiere Richemont Stellenbosch University Honorary doctorate in economics and an honorary doctorate in commerce
356 Nicky Oppenheimer 8.1 76 De Beers Group Christ Church, University of Oxford Master of Arts in philosophy, politics and economics
1408 Koos Bekker 2.6 69 Naspers Stellenbosch University Bachelor of Laws and literature
1636 Patrice Motsepe 2.3 60 African Rainbow Minerals University of Swaziland, and University of Witwatersrand Bachelor of Arts degree and a law degree in mining and business law
2237 Michiel le Roux 1.6 72 Capitec Bank Stellenbosch University Bachelor of commerce in law and bachelor of laws

Three out of the five South African billionaires got a law degree, two of which were business and commerce-related. All five billionaires, either honorarily or through completing a degree, had expertise in business and economics.

Read:  What it takes to be middle-class in South Africa right now

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