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Chart: Harvard is Billionaire University

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Chart: Harvard is Billionaire University

Harvard is Billionaire University

The school pumps out more billionaires than Saudi Arabia and Spain combined.

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Want to learn about the history of economics, how to code with Ruby on Rails, or the essentials of string theory? It’s all out there for free on the internet, and anyone who has the time or energy can learn it directly from the experts.

The Information Age grants us an unprecedented amount of access to the world’s knowledge – and some thinkers like James Altucher or Peter Thiel see this leading to a path where the role of colleges and universities will continue to diminish.

We share that sentiment. The most recent crop of successful entrepreneurs like Evan Spiegel or Mark Zuckerberg already proves that entrepreneurs can make billions without spending a full four years in the classroom. The forthcoming generation will be even less tied to attending brick-and-mortar institutions.

There’s one caveat to this line of thought, however, and it coincides with this week’s chart. While one can say that the actual academic value of these institutions may be undermined by access to the digital world, the value of these as places to “rub shoulders” with up-and-comers still remains entrenched.

A Billionaire Making Machine

Talk to any successful person in business and they will tell you that developing a strong network is half of the battle. As far as schools go, Harvard is the perfect example of the “network effect” at work.

To date, a total of 35 of the richest 500 people in the world have emerged from the storied halls of Harvard. In fact, more billionaires have graduated from Harvard than all of those hailing from Saudi Arabia and Spain combined.

The total net worth of the top 35 Harvard billionaire graduates? It’s $309 billion – roughly equivalent to the GDP of Hong Kong or Ireland. With alumni like Charlie Munger, Meg Whitman, John Paulson, Steve Ballmer, Paul Singer, Ken Griffin, Ray Dalio, and Michael Bloomberg among the ranks of Harvard graduates, it’s a powerful hub to tap into. Today’s Harvard students and professors take advantage of this prestigious network every day.

Elite universities still serve as filtering mechanisms that only bring in students that are smart, well-connected, or both. Top schools like Stanford or Harvard have acceptance rates less than 6%, and this exclusivity gives graduating students a connected and privileged network from the get-go.

One hundred years from now, will these institutions still have the same track records from the exclusivity factor alone? It remains to be seen, but for now they are still undisputed billionaire making machines until proven otherwise.

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Ranked: The World’s Top 10 Billionaires in 2024

With a $205 billion fortune, Elon Musk is currently the world’s richest billionaire.

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Bar chart showing the world's top 10 billionaires as of June 2024.

The World’s Top 10 Billionaires (June 2024)

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Elon Musk has reached a net worth of $205.4 billion in 2024, securing his position as the richest billionaire in the world, ahead of Jeff Bezos at $203.2 billion and Bernard Arnault at $200 billion. Arnault, the billionaire chairman and CEO of the global luxury goods company LVMH, led the ranking at the beginning of the year.

Using data from Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires List, we provide a snapshot of the top 10 billionaires in the world as of June 11, 2024. It is important to note that the rank changes frequently due to fluctuations in stock prices, market conditions, and significant business transactions.

$1.6T in Combined Wealth

The wealth of the top 10 wealthiest people ($1.6 trillion) is almost equivalent to Mexico’s GDP, the 14th largest economy in the world.

At the top of the list, Elon Musk’s wealth derives primarily from his stake in Tesla, his holdings in SpaceX, and the social media platform X.

RankNameNet Worth (USD in Billions)Source
1Elon Musk$205.40Tesla, SpaceX
3Jeff Bezos$203.20Amazon
2Bernard Arnault & family$200.00LVMH
4Mark Zuckerberg$176.50Facebook
5Larry Ellison$153.70Oracle
6Larry Page$145.10Google
8Sergey Brin$139.00Google
7Warren Buffett$134.00Berkshire Hathaway
9Bill Gates$131.00Microsoft
10Steve Ballmer$126.50Microsoft

Recently, Tesla shareholders voted to approve a pay package worth approximately $50 billion for Musk at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. This decision is being challenged by a Delaware judge, who has described Musk’s award as “unfathomable.”

Meanwhile, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos overtook Bernard Arnault as the second-wealthiest person in June 2024, after LVMH’s shares fell and Amazon’s shares slightly increased.

As a relevant side note, Arnault has also been carefully laying succession plans for LVMH this year, with the 75-year-old recently appointing two more of his sons to the company’s board in April 2024. This leaves just his youngest son without a spot on the board, though he is employed at the company.

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