The university degrees and subjects to study to become a millionaire in South Africa

New World Wealth and Henley & Partners have published their African Wealth report for 2022, detailing the education trends of South Africa’s wealthiest citizens.

The report focuses on high net worth individuals (HNWIs) with a wealth of $1 million (R15.70 million) or more. Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in each country. It includes all their assets  –  property, cash, equities, business interests – less liabilities.

The largest portion of the country’s HNWIs acquired their wealth through financial and professional services (including banks, law firms, accountants, fund managers and wealth managers), followed by the real estate sector.

The technology and telecoms sector also ranks highly on the list for acquiring wealth.

The data shows that South Africa’s HNWIs typically studied either law, finance or accounting degrees when at university. The University of Cape Town is the most popular university among HNWIs (20%), followed closely by the University of the Witwatersrand (18%) and Stellenbosch University (13%).

You can find a complete breakdown of what South Africa’s wealthiest people studied and what industries they work in below.


What they studied 

SubjectPercentage of HNWIs
Law (LLB, LLM)30%
Finance and Accounting (B.Com, MBA, CA, CFA)28%
Other20%
Medicine and Science7%
Computers and Information Technology7%
Engineering5%
Mathematics and Statistics3%

Where they studied 

UniversityPercentage of HNWIs
University of Cape Town (UCT)20%
University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)18%
Other14%
Stellenbosch University (SU)13%
Rhodes University (RU)9%
University of South Africa (UNISA)8%
University of Pretoria (UP)7%
University of Johannesburg (UJ)4%
US universities (Harvard, Yale, MIT etc.)4%
UK universities (Oxford, Cambridge etc.)3%

How they made their money 

IndustryPercentage of HNWIs
Financial and Professional Services*35%
Real Estate12%
Technology and Telecoms10%
Basic Materials8%
Healthcare7%
Diversified7%
Retail5%
Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs)4%
Media4%
Manufacturing3%
Transport and Logistics3%
Hotels and Leisure2%

* Financial and Professional Services include banks, law firms, consulting firms, fund managers and wealth managers.

This article was previously published on Business Tech

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