Can anyone ever get rich, and we mean really rich, with an engineering degree? We asked ourselves that question after Forbes published its most recent list of the top 100 billionaires in the world.
Sure there are plenty of the usual famous names and high-flying financiers on the list, but we also identified 15 billionaires with engineering degrees -- some well known, others not so much, and a few people we didn't even realize had engineering degrees.
Some of them inherited their wealth (numbers come from the Forbes list); others made it themselves. The engineering degrees they earned are diverse, as are the industries they work in.
Despite these differences, there are several key traits that many of these über-rich engineers appear to have in common:
- Earned an engineering degree in a discipline related to the industry in which they struck it rich
- Stayed in or close to the same basic industry throughout his entire career
- Possesses a deep understanding of technology and has the ability to shrewdly leverage it in a lucrative manner
- Has the ability to grasp the importance of vertical integration and diversification and execute accordingly
- Knows how to exploit market opportunities, disruptions, and tensions for financial return
- Manages assets well
- Has a Y Chromosome
If you have an engineering degree and possess at least some of the above qualities -- with a hefty dose of luck to go along with them -- perhaps in the future you too will find your name on a list of billionaires. And if that doesn't turn out to be the case, you can always keep in mind this famous quote by Steve Jobs:
Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful... that's what matters to me.
A Quick Look at Billionaire Engineers by the Stats