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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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The Richest People in the World in 2024

The combined wealth of the 10 richest individuals in the world amounts to $1.44 trillion.

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A list of the richest people in the world in 2024.

The Richest People in the World in 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.

The combined wealth of the 10 richest individuals in the world amounts to $1.44 trillion.

Using data from Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, we provide a snapshot of the richest people in the world as of February 2024.

Bernard Arnault Ahead of Elon Musk

Bernard Arnault overtook Elon Musk as the richest person in 2024 due to a 21% decline in Musk’s wealth, from $245.3 billion to $194.6 billion.

The billionaire chairman and CEO of the global luxury goods company LVMH runs dozens of luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Sephora, and Tiffany & Co. The French businessman also has investments in businesses such as Netflix and ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok.

RankNameNet WorthSourceCountry
1Bernard Arnault & family$212.1BLVMH🇫🇷 France
2Elon Musk$194.6BTesla, SpaceX🇺🇸 United States
3Jeff Bezos$192.4BAmazon🇺🇸 United States
4Mark Zuckerberg$161.8BFacebook🇺🇸 United States
5Larry Ellison$144.0BOracle🇺🇸 United States
6Warren Buffett$128.7BBerkshire Hathaway🇺🇸 United States
7Bill Gates$123.1BMicrosoft🇺🇸 United States
8Larry Page$120.3BGoogle🇺🇸 United States
9Steve Ballmer$119.2BMicrosoft🇺🇸 United States
10Sergey Brin$115.4BGoogle🇺🇸 United States

The cumulative net worth of the top five richest individuals grew 4% in 2023, to $904.9 billion.

Among women, the richest person, L’Oréal’s Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, saw her fortune grow by $1.2 billion in 2023.

In China, Zhong Shanshan, the chairman and founder of bottled water and beverage producer Nongfu Spring, remains the country’s richest person with a net worth of $60.5 billion.

In India, the list is topped by Mukesh Ambani. The chairman of Reliance Industries, which has interests in petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecom, retail, and financial services, has a $102.1 billion fortune.

How Fortunes Have Changed

Just as in 2023, Mark Zuckerberg saw the most significant growth in his fortune among the top 10 richest individuals. The Facebook co-founder’s net worth surged by over $45 billion by February 2024 compared to November 2023, after Meta’s latest results far exceeded Wall Street’s expectations, sending its shares up.

Zuckerberg’s net worth growth of 39% moved him from 7th to 4th, overtaking Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Larry Ellison.

A list of the top 10 richest people in the world in 2024.

Meanwhile, Larry Ellison, Oracle’s chief technology officer and former CEO, saw his net worth retreat by $3 billion after the company reported disappointing revenue in 2023.

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