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Want to be a billionaire? Get one of these jobs first

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 21-09-2017 David Carrig
A composite image from archive files shows the some of the eight richest people of the world, (top row L-R) Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Spanish Inditex fashion founder Amancio Ortega, U.S. investor Warren Buffett, (bottom row L-R) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Oracle founder Larry Ellison. © EPA A composite image from archive files shows the some of the eight richest people of the world, (top row L-R) Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Spanish Inditex fashion founder Amancio Ortega, U.S. investor Warren Buffett, (bottom row L-R) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Oracle founder Larry Ellison.

Who wants to be a billionaire?

If you do, you might want to heed this study  that looked at the beginnings of the richest 100 people in the world to see if there was a connection between their education and first job and making billions.

More than half (53) of the top 100 people on Forbes magazine's World’s Billionaires list started out by working for another company and of those, the first job that led to the making of the most billionaires was: salesperson. That was closely followed by stock trader, software developer, engineer, analyst and accountant. 

The first career path for 17 of the top 100 were as entrepreneurs who started their own businesses, like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

And, of course, legacies help. Thirty of them inherited or worked for the family business.

These are the top 10 richest people from Forbes' billionaires list and their first jobs as determined in the study by United Kingdom-based Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment. (The agency used information from Forbes, company websites and Wikipedia.)

Billionaire (Company): First job

1. Bill Gates (Microsoft founder): Computer software (entrepreneur)

2. Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway CEO): Investment salesman

3. Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO): Software developer

4. Amancio Ortega (Inditex founder): Shop hand for a shirtmaker (retail assistant)

5. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO): Social media creator (entrepreneur)

6. Carlos Slim Helu (America Movil telecom): Stock trader  

7. Larry Ellison (Oracle executive chairman): Software developer

8. David Koch (Koch Industries executive vice president): Technical services manager (inherited)

9. Charles Koch (Koch Industries CEO): Oil refining (inherited)

10. Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg CEO): Investment banking 

See the complete list:  Top 100 billionaires

“Our results suggest that those starting in a sales role are more likely to become a billionaire,” the study concludes as it acknowledges it is based on a small sample size.

Becoming familiar with business deals at an early part of your career may give you an advantage, the study suggests. 

Getting an education is also closely tied to the likelihood of making it into the billionaire’s club. Three-fourths of the top 100 have a university education and the most common degree was engineering.

Other top degrees associated with billionaires include: business, finance and economics, law and computer science.

     

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