UC Berkeley ranks 14th among universities producing ultra wealthy alumni

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UC Berkeley ranked 14th in producing ultra wealthy alumni among global universities, according to a study published last month.

The campus, according to the report, boasts 447 “Ultra-High Net Worth” alumni worth $72 billion in total, making it the second-highest ranked public university on the list.

Wealth-X, an intelligence firm that analyzes ultra high-net-worth individuals, or UHNW — people with a net worth of at least $30 million — published the report. The study ranked global universities by the number of UHNW alumni from each institution.

Seventy-two percent of UC Berkeley’s UHNW alumni obtained their wealth on their own, and 12 percent of the individuals inherited their wealth. Women made up around 8 percent of these high-net-worth individuals from UC Berkeley.

“UC Berkeley was right up there among other universities,” said Wealth-X President David Friedman. “There’s an opportunity for public universities to grow and emulate what the top private schools have done in terms of cultivating placement of graduates in the right networks and companies.”

Private universities dominated the list. According to Friedman, the top universities had cultivated their professional networks to help students and graduates gain an early advantage in developing their careers.

“The relationship and networks are just as important as anything, in addition to your IQ,” Friedman said. “It’s also about your ability to leverage social capital.”

The Cal Alumni Association plans on launching the Berkeley Network, a professional community of alumni, next fall in response to students’ calls in a 2010 survey for more career development opportunities.

“Inherently it’s harder at large universities to build those professional networks because the community is much larger and more heterogeneous,” said Cindy Leung, chief program officer of the Cal Alumni Association. “When we launch the Berkeley Network, we hope to build that place for alumni to professionally support each other and support the graduating students in career development.”

Friedman noted that the report only accounts for a small percentage — around 8 percent — of the estimated 186,000 UHNW individuals worldwide. Many of these UHNW individuals didn’t go to the top universities, according to Friedman, and instead relied on their determination and interpersonal skills.

“If you consider wealth your goal, the report can be an indicator,” Friedman said. “If you have your own path and want to make an impact, there are different strategies you can do.”

Contact Sophie Ho at [email protected].