This College Major Could Make You a Billionaire (Hint: It’s Not Business)

By the time you hit college, it's hard to narrow down the perfect major for you. A good place to start: the one that will make you the most money.

studentESB Professional/shutterstockIn an ideal world, your career not only pays well, but it’s also in a field you feel passionate about. There’s some truth in the cliché that money doesn’t buy happiness, after all. But if the clock is ticking and you have no idea what you want to do with your life, a high-earning college degree isn’t a bad place to start.

According to new research by the British recruitment agency Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, your best bet to earning the big bucks is through an engineering degree. (And if you want to make money, don’t pick any of these college majors.)

Using Forbes’ list of the 100 richest people in the world, the agency evaluating what the billionaires studied in college, as well as their first jobs. Out of the 75 billionaires who have a degree, 22 studied engineering. (These results have an interesting link to the most important job skill in the future, by the way.) Corporate skills came in second place, with 16 of billionaires studying business and 11 studying finance and economics in college.

As for their first jobs? Over half of the top 100 richest people in the world started working in a non-family owned business, according to the report. Salesperson positions made up nearly a quarter of their first jobs, and 17 percent started as a stock trader. Meanwhile, 17 percent of the world’s top 100 billionaires began their careers by launching their own business.

Translation: While just any old college degree can set you up for financial success, certain majors will help you rise above the rest.

“Today we are seeing that nearly all of the top people in business are graduates and that a degree can be a great first step into preparing you for your career ahead,” Rob Scott, managing director at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, said.

Regardless of your major, this is the underrated skill you really need to succeed, according to three billionaires—and no, it’s not intelligence.

[Source: Business Insider]

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Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.