We recently highlighted the number of billionaires on the Forbes 400 list who came from a hedge fund or alternative investment background. MSN India took it a step further and explored what these titans of finance have in common. Was it the right university? Wealthy parents? Blind luck?
The authors analyzed the backgrounds of these ultra-wealthy individuals, looking at everything from their parents’ professions to where they went to school, early successes or failures and other life experiences. Number one on the list? A high aptitude for math. The ability to crunch numbers is a key to becoming a billionaire, and it turns out many tycoons may have inherited this aptitude from their parents, who tended to be engineers, accountants and business owners themselves.
And while some notable self-made billionaires on the Forbes 400 list were college drop-outs (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison of Oracle and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, to name a few), when it comes to finance, higher education was a key. Half of the Forbes 400 financial tycoons have graduate degrees, and nearly 70 percent of those with MBAs earned them at the nation’s most prestigious schools: Harvard, Columbia or Wharton.
If you can’t attend one of these schools, you’d do well to land a job at Goldman Sachs, which proved to be the training ground for 11 billionaire financiers. And if you’re finding it tough to get your hedge fund career where you want it, take heart. Several Forbes 400 billionaires credit a failure or major obstacle early in their careers with giving them the motivation to reach dizzying levels of success later on.