Semi-OT: M among 10 U.S. colleges that have produced most billionaires

Submitted by rposly on May 25th, 2018 at 10:07 AM

Sorry if already posted and I missed it.  Michigan is 10th on this list of U.S. colleges that have produced the most billionaires.  Pretty good company.

  1. Harvard
  2. Stanford
  3. Penn
  4. Columbia
  5. MIT
  6. Cornell
  7. Yale
  8. Chicago (t-8th)
  9. USC (t-8th)
  10. Michigan



May 25th, 2018 at 10:28 AM ^

But what if your family with money doesn’t give you money? Then it can actually be harder than someone who started with nothing...cause you will get no help if your family has money and they refuse to help you.


May 25th, 2018 at 10:40 AM ^

Yea I mean I’m not disagreeing with you generally speaking, a lot of it just depends on what you consider wealthy. My point is just because you grow up poor it doesn’t mean you always have to be poor and just cause you grow up rich doesn’t mean you will always be rich (but you probably will). That’s why what you define as wealthy is important in this discussion. A lot of people who their parents make less than 100k would be considered wealthy by some and poor by others. Those people have it the hardest especially when their parents don’t help them. Many billionaires have come from that faction.


May 25th, 2018 at 11:27 AM ^

less than $100,000/ year wealthy, but I also strongly disagree that it is harder for someone from that family than it is for someone that grew up poor.  The opportunity costs, connections, and all that are always greater if you grew up with more money.  Kids that are poor and are hungry in school are going to have a much harder time than a middle class student who is at least well fed.  The stresses of being poor (I did not grow up poor, this is from readings, not personal experience, I was in the middle class pool), are large. Transportation, food, housing, all get very stressful the poorer you are.

No one is arguing that poor people can't become rich and rich people can't become poor.  Ths is America, and there are plenty of stories of rags to riches. But people are stating that it is much easier to go from Riches to riches than rags to riches. 


May 25th, 2018 at 11:53 AM ^

I was poor growing up. My dad was in jail, my mom made pennies. I got to go to college for free, no debt. My mom got plenty of government money for me to live fine. My wife was middle class, her parents made 85k combined and gave her nothing to help for college. Colleges didn’t care that her parents were greedy. We are still paying her loans after many years. I had it easier trust me.


May 25th, 2018 at 12:13 PM ^

than your wife even though you grew up poor and she was middle class, but i am guessing that this cannot be applied universally to the poor and middle class families.  

I do think there is still a massive hole in the affordability of College for Middle class families.  I consider my wife and I to be upper middle class as we both work (nurse and Engineer), and I am not sure how I will afford my 3 kids education at this rate of inflation.  Not going down that political lane.

I don still think the point of the conversation, it's easier to grow up rich and be a rich adult than it is to grow up poor and be a rich adult holds true for populations. 



May 25th, 2018 at 12:47 PM ^

It probably doesn't, but it's a very interesting world view that you won't hear often. 

One side of the political aisle insists if you work hard everything takes care of itself (not recognizing that many work very hard, as hard as them, and it still doesn't work out due to race, upbringing, environment, etc), the other side insists all decks are stacked against the have-nots, and the haves are only where they are due to race, upbringing, environment, etc. 

The truth obviously lies somewhere between.  But both sides are too busy trying to one-up LOL each other on twitter that they must remain in extremes.  


May 25th, 2018 at 3:38 PM ^

I worked for a moving company in the summers during college.  There was a good range of people there, some smart and some as dumb as rocks.  As a mover, especially loading a truck, you are tasked both mentally and physically.  You have to go into a house and look at the stuff and plan for how it's all going to fit as tightly as possible into the truck to keep things from moving around and also to fit it all.  These guys worked hard and did not make a lot to live on.  80 hour weeks lugging in 100+ degree weather can suck.  This is true of a lot of different occupations.  There is money to be made if you own your own truck, but you have to be relatively smart to do that and let me tell you, some of those guys are as dumb as a rock.

I work hard, and a lot of my success is based on that fact.  I also am above average intelligence in Math and sciences, which means engineering was easier for me (I was not doing well in SNRE) and this allowed me to go to Michigan and get a career that pays relatively well. Lucky to be born with some smarts.  Also have had no major health issues, which again, luck. My family was middle class, which allowed me to do extra curriculars when younger, focus on studies during the school year (working mainly over the summers), attending a good school, and having food to eat.  I didn't earn any of that.  I was born to that.  Luck. Just being born in America means I am ahead of the game compared to Chinese and Indian coworkers who have to come on Visas.  Again, luck. I didn't choose to be born in the USA.  

Like you said, it's complex, and anyone who ever says, just pull yourself up by the bootstraps and you can make it, or who see themselves as predestined to a fate based on birth are oversimplifying a complex issue.  There are built in advantages in this world.  To deny that is stupid. If you don't work hard, no matter what, the likelyhood you will succeed is small. 


May 25th, 2018 at 11:08 PM ^

Totally agree. It's funny I worked as a mover when younger as well.

Both sides need to give, or just be obliterated bc how can one side possibly reflect anyone's view. I think it's important to note that the right oversimplifies the bootstraps thing, and that's widely recognized, but the left massively underestimates how much work the majority of haves have put in.

College is a good example. Lots of people who haven't been believe it's this rolling walk in the trees, and in many ways it is. But it's also very hard. If you want good grades, which you need to obtain the best income opportunities, it can become very, very hard. There's a lot of pressure. You can't ease up. It's easy and tempting to walk away or pull back. Those who keep going are more likely to succeed in the jobs they've earned. Because those jobs are very difficult for many of the same reasons. No one should apologize for succeeding in that context.

... but we need to make sure those that want to put in that work, regardless of race, upbringing, environment, have that opportunity.


May 25th, 2018 at 7:35 PM ^

While obviously a major component, money isn't the only advantage of growing up middle or upper class.

Middle/Upper class kids still go to better schools, have a peer group who are more than likely also going to college, grow up on a community filled with role models and overall have higher expectations about where their lives should end up.... Not to mention a better network of references and or job opportunities once they're done with school.


May 25th, 2018 at 12:24 PM ^

This is silly, nobody is saying the it is impossible to become rich if you were born poor or vice versa. But the odds of that happening is pretty low. Most people end up in the same class, income wise, as their parents. Why is that so hard to understand?


May 25th, 2018 at 12:51 PM ^

"My point is just because you grow up poor it doesn’t mean you always have to be poor and just cause you grow up rich doesn’t mean you will always be rich (but you probably will)"

Pretty much every economic study ever undertaken about this topic completely disagrees with you.

The answer is that, yes, while there is a way out of poverty - and a way to squander wealth - odds that you will do the latter are far, far less than the former. 

There was an incredibly well-written and hotly debated article in the Atlantic recently on this topic (…). One quote here:

"none of this matters, you will often hear, because in the United States everyone has an opportunity to make the leap: Mobility justifies inequality. As a matter of principle, this isn’t true. In the United States, it also turns out not to be true as a factual matter. Contrary to popular myth, economic mobility in the land of opportunity is not high, and it’s going down.

"Imagine yourself on the socioeconomic ladder with one end of a rubber band around your ankle and the other around your parents’ rung. The strength of the rubber determines how hard it is for you to escape the rung on which you were born. If your parents are high on the ladder, the band will pull you up should you fall; if they are low, it will drag you down when you start to rise. Economists represent this concept with a number they call “intergenerational earnings elasticity,” or IGE, which measures how much of a child’s deviation from average income can be accounted for by the parents’ income. An IGE of zero means that there’s no relationship at all between parents’ income and that of their offspring. An IGE of one says that the destiny of a child is to end up right where she came into the world."

"According to Miles Corak, an economics professor at the City University of New York, half a century ago IGE in America was less than 0.3. Today, it is about 0.5. In America, the game is half over once you’ve selected your parents. IGE is now higher here than in almost every other developed economy. On this measure of economic mobility, the United States is more like Chile or Argentina than Japan or Germany."










May 25th, 2018 at 11:23 AM ^

This is literally the same exact thing as being poor. So what you're saying is, it's harder to get rich when you start poor than to get rich when you start poor.


Also, even if your well-off family isn't paying for your education, you still reap the benefits of a well-off family in countless other ways. Coming from a poor kid who went to Michigan, I can tell you there is still a massive difference.


May 25th, 2018 at 1:49 PM ^

The way to get in the middle class in this country is to do 3 things:

1. Graduate high school

2. Hold down a job

3. Wait until married to have a kid

People may be born in poverty, but in this country there is no one to blame but yourself if you stay there.


May 25th, 2018 at 10:39 AM ^

It costs $61K all in for out of state undergrad students. Very limited, if any, financial aid.

While Michigan is a great school, it is way more expensive and out of reach of most upper middle class and especially middle class families out of state. It wasn't that way when I started in the mid 80s ($5,500/year tuition). Yes, all places are more, but Michigan is more expensive than any other public university out of state.

I'll encourage my kids to take their chances in the University of California system.



May 25th, 2018 at 10:52 AM ^

in terms of the quality of education.  Biggest difference between Michigan and an Ivy League school is being public vs. private, of course.

I used to live in Michigan.  IMO, if U-M is going to make a choice between "increasing cost of attendance for in-state folk" vs. "increasing cost of attendance for out-of-state folk", I hope they ALWAYS choose the latter. 

I knew a few people from less economically-advantaged (rural Manistee County, the Upper Peninsula) areas that were able to attend U-M.  It was a great boost for them as they made their life journey.  The school truly served as a resource for those particular residents of the state of Michigan.


May 25th, 2018 at 11:18 AM ^

But for undergrad, if you look at the rankings, we aren't in the same class as Ivy League schools. There isn't an Ivy League school ranked below us for undergrad programs with one exception...Cornell's B school is ranked lower than ours. It's not even close.

I can see how Michigan has such a good reputation for its B School, but I just don't see how spending a minimum of $250K for 4 years is justified. My connections from Michigan undergrad hasn't helped me at all. I'm closer with my fellow Carlson (Minnesota) MBA students.

My friend's daughter got in to UC Davis and wait listed at U of M. He asked me what she should do. I said go to Davis because it's nearly as good of a school at 50% of the cost. She graduated and is now headed to law school. Her U of M degree wouldn't have opened any more doors for her. If you are in state in Michigan, great. But private universities hand out much more financial aid so the value isn't there out of state.


May 25th, 2018 at 11:59 AM ^

Michigan has top ranked sociology, political science, and history departments that rank about Ivy League. You also act like the rankings matter. When you pay for college you pay for prestige and to be sorrounded by people who are more likely to succeed. The actual education you receive at Harvard isn’t any better than at most state schools


May 25th, 2018 at 12:49 PM ^

You can get a very good education at many state schools, especially in places like CA, MI, WI, IL, VA, NC, WA and even TX.

However, rankings can matter based on where employers recruit. Many employers will recruit based on proximity to campus, where the executives went to school and their school loyalty, and also rankings. But let's not kid ourselves that someone would take a student at Bemidji State over one from Harvard or Penn, even though the education may be comparable. And major also matters.

My point was that I don't believe that the cost of a Michigan degree justifies attending there. I was a history major and other than maybe an edge in grad school applications, it didn't help me in finding a job after graduation. I struggled as much as others from less prestigious schools.


May 25th, 2018 at 1:40 PM ^

A history degree is the second most common degree behind business for the top 100 richest people in the us. It’s an incredibly valuable degree that can help you in fields ranging from business to foreign affairs. There is an increasing acknowledgment that to truly develop economic models an understanding of sociology is important. History is a major thing to understand to better deal with public health issues. I know plenty of Michigan history degree majors that had no problem with getting a job. With my liberal arts undergrad degree I still got offers from the big management consulting firms before deciding to stay in the non profit world. Don’t confuse an inability to market yourself with a weakness in the value of the degree.

One thing Michigan Lsa could certainly do better is to support students learning how to market their degrees and experience and it’s something the business school does incredibly well.