UM among top in producing billionaires

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Ten of the world's billionaires — that's with a "b" — are alums of the University of Michigan.

The Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census ranks Michigan as tied for 12th worldwide, with 10 billionaire alumni. The top 20 universities include 16 American institutions, with the University of Pennsylvania at the top slot.

Eleven other U.S. universities and three foreign schools laid claim to more billionaires than UM.

The top 20 universities include 16 American institutions; the University of Pennsylvania is No. 1.

One of the Wolverine billionaires, Google co-founder Larry Page, earned degrees at two top-20 universities: his bachelor's in engineering at UM and master's in computer science at Stanford, which comes in tied for 5th among universities.

UM officials had no comment.

While U.S. colleges and universities dominate the list those producing future billionaires, more than a quarter who earned their bachelor's degrees from U.S. schools were born outside the country, according to the report. At the post-graduate level, almost 40 percent of graduates came from abroad.

Higher education is not a prerequisite for becoming a billionaire. In fact, a third of the world's billionaires do not have bachelor's degrees, and some didn't finish high school.

The report was compiled by analysts at Wealth-X, an ultra high net worth intelligence and prospecting firm headquartered in Singapore, in partnership with UBS, a financial services company based in Switzerland.

Researchers identified a record high of 2,325 billionaires worldwide, a 7 percent increase from 2013. The combined wealth held by these individuals is $7.3 trillion.

The "typical" billionaire: A 63-year-old man worth $3.1 billion.

And if you're wondering how many were born super rich: 81 percent of billionaires made a majority of their own fortunes, rather than inheriting them. And there's still room at the top: The study estimates that the number of global billionaires will increase by 56-78 percent by 2020.

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