The university degrees and subjects to study to become a millionaire in South Africa

 ·7 May 2022

New World Wealth and Henley & Partners have published their African Wealth report for 2022, detailing the education trends of South Africa’s wealthiest citizens.

The report focuses on high net worth individuals (HNWIs) with a wealth of $1 million (R15.70 million) or more. Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each country. It includes all their assets  –  property, cash, equities, business interests – less liabilities.

The largest portion of the country’s HNWIs acquired their wealth through financial and professional services (including banks, law firms, accountants, fund managers and wealth managers), followed by the real estate sector.

The technology and telecoms sector also ranks highly on the list for acquiring wealth.

The data shows that South Africa’s HNWIs typically studied either law, finance or accounting degrees when at university. The University of Cape Town is the most popular university among HNWIs (20%), followed closely by the University of the Witwatersrand (18%) and Stellenbosch University (13%).

You can find a complete breakdown of what South Africa’s wealthiest people studied and what industries they work in below.

What they studied 

Subject Percentage of HNWIs
Law (LLB, LLM) 30%
Finance and Accounting (B.Com, MBA, CA, CFA) 28%
Other 20%
Medicine and Science 7%
Computers and Information Technology 7%
Engineering 5%
Mathematics and Statistics 3%

Where they studied 

University Percentage of HNWIs
University of Cape Town (UCT) 20%
University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) 18%
Other 14%
Stellenbosch University (SU) 13%
Rhodes University (RU) 9%
University of South Africa (UNISA) 8%
University of Pretoria (UP) 7%
University of Johannesburg (UJ) 4%
US universities (Harvard, Yale, MIT etc.) 4%
UK universities (Oxford, Cambridge etc.) 3%

How they made their money 

Industry Percentage of HNWIs
Financial and Professional Services* 35%
Real Estate 12%
Technology and Telecoms 10%
Basic Materials 8%
Healthcare 7%
Diversified 7%
Retail 5%
Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) 4%
Media 4%
Manufacturing 3%
Transport and Logistics 3%
Hotels and Leisure 2%

* Financial and Professional Services include banks, law firms, consulting firms, fund managers and wealth managers.

Read: Here’s how many South Africans are moving to Portugal – and the changes for Golden Visas

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