Students looking to excel financially should set their sights on studying engineering at university, according to new research.

The study revealed that 22% of the world’s wealthiest people have studied engineering at university, with a degree in the subject twice as likely to help someone to become a billionaire as one in business education.

Approved Index – a business-to-business buying platform – analysed the educational background of billionaires by examining Forbes’ list of the richest 100 people in the world.

Studying business helped 12% to amass their fortune, whilst 9% studied an arts subject – surprisingly a higher number than those that specialised in business-orientated topics, such as finance and economics.

With just 4% having studied science and maths at university, the results of the research point towards a need for greater focus on ensuring students know the value of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).

Value of studying STEM subjects

Girls who take just one A-level focused on a STEM subject have the potential to earn an additional £4,500 each year, according to research from Sutton Trust.

The focus on STEM subjects could see a change in the stereotype of billionaires in the future. The number of students taking chemistry at A-level has risen, as has those taking physics, biology and maths.

Engineering graduates are also the richest of their peers within the list, with a combined wealth of $25.8bn (c. £17.8 billion), compared to a net worth of $24bn (c. £16.6 billion) for billionaires without a degree and $22.5bn (c. £15.5 billion) for those who studied finance.

The findings point towards the need for variety when it comes to studying subjects at university while highlighting the effect on future earning potential.

If you’re a graduate looking to kick-start your career, have a chat with Discovery Graduates and see how they can help get you started