Which College Majors Will Make You A 1%'er: The Answer May Surprise

Tyler Durden's picture

By now we know that at least according to conventional wisdom says one has to be a banker, lawyer, or hedge fund manager to be guaranteed a spot in the fabled "1%". But a still outstanding question is what college-level studies do future 1%'ers take to end up in the top of the social pyramid? As the NYT shows, the result is quite surprising. As it turns out, "the majors that give you the best chance of reaching the 1 percent are pre-med, economics, biochemistry, zoology and, yes, biology, in that order." Just as curious, in terms of actual proportional representation, coming in at 1.9 million, the second most represented major within the 1% is... English and English Language. Bottom line - good news for Liberal Arts majors: all you have to do to get that PM job in Greenwich is to convince the boss that extensive knowledge of Shakespeare's sonnets is conducive to procuring some quality "information arbitrage" (on an untapped phone line of course). Alas, bad news for sociology and geology majors - these two are nowhere to be found, dooming the Rocks for Jocks crowd to a life of "99%"ism.

From the NYT:

Below is a chart showing the majors most likely to get into the 1 percent (excluding majors held by fewer than 50,000 people in 2010 census data). The third column shows the percentage of degree holders with that major who make it into the 1 percent. The fourth column shows the percent of the 1 percent (among college grads) that hold that major. In other words, more than one in 10 people with a pre-med degree make it into the 1 percent, and about 1 in 100 of the 1 percenters with degrees majored in pre-med.


Of course, choice of major is not the only way to increase your chances of reaching the 1 percent, if that is your goal. There is also the sector you choose.


A separate analysis of census data on occupations showed that one in eight lawyers, for example, are in the 1 percent — unless they work for a Wall Street firm, when their chances increase to one in three. Among chief executives, fewer than one in five rank among the 1 percent, but their chances increase if the company produces medical supplies (one in four) or drugs (two in five). Hollywood writers? One in nine are 1 percenters. Television or radio writers? One in 14. Newspaper writers and editors? One in 62.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Tortfeasor's picture

I'd like a comparison between - % of the 1% who have bachelors v. % who have masters v. % who have doctorates.

Clueless Economist's picture

Will my degree in African American Lesbian Studies do me well?

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture


Top tier investment banks, elite hedge funds and select prop firms are more concerned about the calibre of the candidate than the specific area of education. The educational institution is of particular importance - graduates of colleges such as Harvard, MIT, Carnegie Mellon and Princeton will have a significant advantage over candidates from mediocre colleges. These institutions like to hire natural leaders who have demonstrated exceptional initiative both in the classroom and in their personal lives. Successful candidates tend to be top of their class, head of the investment club, national chess champions or Olympic athletes. These institutions are serious about hiring and developing future talent, and they want the best of the best only,

hedgeless_horseman's picture



It has indeed been my experience that 10% of the people make 90% of the money in any industry.

Viva the 2% to 10%!

iDealMeat's picture

If you're envious of 1% and make it your goal to become one. You will lie, cheat, copy, and steal in your [insert profession] to get there.

If your desire is just to be a FIAT 1%er you are a failure.


trav7777's picture

economics?  I guess a lot of them become lawyers or are just already the children of 1%ers.

Economics is a shit degree that is commonly studied by legacies, as are a lot of the others on that list.

The "real majors" are down at the bottom...chem eng?  Lol.  Produce something?  Actually create something?  Fuck you...get down below those confettiers.

francis_sawyer's picture

becoming a 1% er...

Hmmm... I didn't know that "being born a Rothschild" was offered as a college university course...

GiantVampireSquid vs OWS UFC 2012's picture

(excluding majors held by fewer than 50,000 people in 2010 census data)

Ahmeexnal's picture

"Community Organizer" is not on the list? HHHMMMMMMMMMMM

economics1996's picture

You fail to understand why so many economists are 1%ers.  Economists are the propagandist of the university.  All students have to take a course in economics and this is where the Keynesian bull shit is spread far and wide.  University professors make good money and with some outside work can easily reach the top 1%. 

Economists are also the way politicians justify ripping you off.  Do you understand their role better?  Economists baffle the peasants with bull shit and provide the smoke screen politicians and the Federal Reserve need to plunder and pillage million and billions of people all over the world.

Is that clear?

Taint Boil's picture




I work in the industrial automation field. I spend half of my time on Zero Hedge and surfing the internet BUT …. When there is work to be done you are on the floor working your ass off and getting dirty. It is challenging work and the money is good (top 5% easy last year), this year much less. Google Peter Principle and / or the Dilbert Principle (Oh wait Wiki is down today! LOL) and I can tell you that these are both very, very true – well at least in the automation field.

Bonus video: Taint Boil himself can be seen wandering about ha ha. No hints as to which person it is.



BobPaulson's picture

They also like to hire rich people who have connections, especially their children, neices and nephews, grandchildren, etc, not to mention people who went to the university they attended and have the same colour skin and don't have black hair.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Not for yard work they don't.

economics1996's picture

You must be referring to affirmative action Herman Cain.  

economics1996's picture


I mean if I get one more of these poor negro post I will pull my hair out.  All we have been doing for the last fucking 50 years is promoting black haired idiots over smarter blonde haired people.  Will these mother fuckers ever shut the fuck up.


MrTown3's picture

No one cries about more bullshit on this planet than white men. BAR NONE. White bitches man up before you guys do. Funny things you guys cry when people call out facts...instead of the bullshit you promote that only you believe and get upset when no believes it. Shit you're crying now.

trav7777's picture

True.  White people are complete bitches.  They let a bunch of desert nomad war tribers convince them that THEY INDIVIDUALLY are responsible for shit that other people did and bear some guilt for being part of a group that has invented nearly literally EVERYTHING useful in the entirety of history.

They let a group of cousins become oligarch parasites and subvert their entire moral ethos, work ethic, sense of community, everything.  People shake the hands of savages that murder their daughters, and don't feel "whole" until their daughters' wombs are used for propagating colored bastards.  And even then, they are STILL guilty, just for EXISTING.

The control structure of parasitism is inherently antagonistic to COMPETITION.  There is plenty of money to be made on things like vice trades and slavery, even in a world absent anglosaxon innovation.

MrTown3's picture

I know this is as cathartic as it gets for you so have at it. That is unless you're around a group of friends or family. People like yourself should be grateful that you have a few psychopaths at the "top" that allow certain benefits to extend to you. You're not superior...you're a fucking benefactor that better pay his taxes or else.

economics1996's picture

STFU.  Unles you have trigger time you didn't do shit.

MrTown3's picture

Unless I was taken advantage of? LOL....ask Henry Kissenger what you low asvab punk motherfuckers are good for...

Incubus's picture

I think those two think this is stormfront, or something. 


Your "disadvantaged & disgruntled" white guy forum is that way.

These fucking idiots love to fall back on race because it's a convenient excuse for them.  It allows them to 'act' superior without any effort. 


For the record, you "angry white guys": it's nurture, not nature.  And every time "race" is brought up, you'll always see the same idiots hanging around.  Do they get off on this shit?  I bet they do.  Fucking conditioned little monkeys.  I'm getting sick of this dumbass economics guy spamming up every thread, too.


Dear "Economics,"

I've read in your past comments that you're a teacher.   How about you try to teach people instead accepting yourself as a fucking failure of an instructor and soaking up your institution's funds. You're doing a wonderful job of dumbing down the Zero Hedge population, though.


Thanks and GTFO,


MrTown3's picture

Agree wholeheartedly.

Incubus's picture

They (disgruntled white guys) like the "race" crutch as a basis for supposed "superiority" just as much as black people love using it as an excuse for their inequity.

They're a bunch of balding or middle aged losers who need an excuse as to why their lives amount to massive amount of failure--and what better way to do that than to blame everyone and everything but themselves?


"Race" is a nice way to socialize the achievements of a few individuals and pin it on to yourself, like the fuck you did anything that any of those individuals did.  God, I fucking hate people, let me tell you. 


I'm a misanthrope for a reason: people come in too many flavors of stupid.  None of these zero hedge wannabe badass "racists" will tell me anything differently other than excuse upon excuse as to why they're supposedly better because they're trying to claim accomplishments that they themselves had nothing to do with. 

And I bet a lot of them love that nasty bitch, Ayn Rand, too.  Bunch of fucking hypocrites.  They love to talk tough, but they're just a bunch of blubbering pusses.


And what the fuck are they gonna do?  Downrate me?  I'm so fucking hurt, you bunch of worthless fucking failures.  Why don't you losers go kill yourselves. And I mean it, too.  You're (ZH racist crew) all a bunch of ugly trash that hate the world because you can't do anything with your lives. (and I mean that, also.  I look better than you ugly disgruntled fucks.  Seriously, I have better looks than most people...and I bet you hate me because I was "genetically lucky," huh?)

Back to that cretinous economist1996:  if he was serious about being a teacher, it's no wonder America is going down the drain:  when you have extra chromosomal trash like him teaching the future of America, what do you expect to happen?  This is a lesson in why America fails, people.  After reading his comments here on Zero Hedge, lord help anyone in his class that doesn't fall into his preferred demographic;  there's hardly anything objective about his perspective.  If he's man enough, he'd state what school he teaches at, so he can be reported and reviewed--if he's so confident in his instructional abilities and capability of remaining objective. But no, he's too comfortable collecting his welfare sum from a college while sabotaging people he doesn't like, based on genetic preferences.

 Come on, you bitch: state your name and where you teach.  Let's see how far removed Zero Hedge is from your parasitic social existence. 


You see, though, people?  This is another example of why western civilization can't cut it:  too many pussies who are more interested in safeguarding what they've been handed in life than to work for anything greater than themselves.  I hope all of these people like "economics1996" suffer greatly.  When TSHTF, he doesn't deserve a quick death for what he's done in life.

StychoKiller's picture

Then prove yer moral superiority, alleviate some suffering:  http://www.worldvision.org

kekekekekekeke's picture

so fucking relieved to finally see this called out on zerohedge, keep at it.

kekekekekekeke's picture



If you are a white dude and you still can't make it in life?  You are a failure at life.

Caggge's picture

It all makes sense to me now. You would have to have a liberal arts degree to construct a financial system such as we have. I am not surprised it isn't required to have a degree in Art appreciation to dream up this masterpiece.

Hober Mallow's picture

The amount of people studying accounting (big regulations) and political science (big government) vs health (which everyone really needs) just shows how fucked up everything is.

I'm curious to see how many are studying law.

What the fuck are 147k people doing studying international relations?

Those guys should be building more aircraft carriers! the best international relation there is.

clymer's picture

mdb, you ..complete me.


(I realize now exactly why I should be rightfully ashamed of my low-brow, public-school, albeit paid-for u-mass degree)

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

There's no need to be ashamed. These elite institutions offer highly desirable compensation packages, with benefits far exceeding those of the average employee. Places are limited and compeition is fierce, so not everybody can be guarenteed a place.

economics1996's picture

I can see why you are so popular.  Thank you for the infomercial. 

SheepleLOVEcheddarbaybiscuits's picture

These institutions are serious about hiring and developing future talent, and they want the best of the best only,


then why does the industry need countless taxpayer bailouts?  You go to those schools for one reason: to learn how to steal on a massive scale

LaLiLuLeLo's picture

An undergraduate degree is simply conditioning you to turn in your work on time.

homersimpson's picture

Blah blah blah. I can sum up your paragraph in one sentence: Who ever can frontrun the fastest or figure out a way to get more Fed money gets picked.

Best my ass. More like greediest.

rbjmartin's picture

I think I just gave myself a hernia, I laughed so hard.

Iwanttoknow's picture

SF,She was taught by no other than madeline albright's Dad.

JFK.4PREZ's picture

only if it came from Princeton 

The Big Ching-aso's picture



There ought to be a degree in jacking-off.    Most college graduates today would voluntarily take 15 years to get their Bachelor of Arts.

francis_sawyer's picture

That's not a degree study program... It's simply a proficiency exam for getting an SEC license...

Two different things...

Kobe Beef's picture

So if I demonstrate "porn proficiency", I can get a job at the SEC? Parasite sector pays twice as much as the Productive sector, along with all kinds of unearned bennies too. Hope! Change! America-- Fuck Yeah!


VanillAnalyst's picture

Ya know it just might.

There's an argument to be made that the reason you see a higher % of pre med majors becoming "1%ers," than finance majors, is because its a less competitive sector. Surely the brilliant statisticians at the NYT grasp that if 100,000 more people decide to be doctors this year than last, you won't see 10,000 more doctors who are "1%ers." Why bother with facts when you have a good narrative though? (self criticism intended)

mccoyspace's picture

according to the chart, that is one step higher than a finance major.

jekyll island's picture

I agree, biology, zoology and biochem all funnel into Pre-Med, so study may not be sufficiently designed to provide accurate, useful information.  On a side note, I just returned from Ghana and learned that the pay ratio for a physician vs. educated worker (college degree) was about 6-7x higher, and over 10x higher than unskilled laborer, which is similar to ratio that exists in US.  

Sizzurp's picture

This material looks dated to me.  It's not what has happened already, it's where we are going that counts.  Pre-med? Not when they want to take healthcare from 15% of GDP to 10% and force docs to be employed by hsopitals.  That ship has sailed.

EnglishMajor's picture

It would be more interesting to find out if the respondents' parents ranked in the 1%...especially the English majors.

Mercury's picture

Pre-Med.......not for long under Obamacare!

The bureaucrat will see you now....

Also, I'd like to see marriage-adjusted figures for Art History majors.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Indeed. Nothing has the potential to pay better than a strategically earned "MRS" degree!

Captain Kink's picture

Or "Ex-Mrs."   It's an executive program funded by New York State legislation...  You attend only briefly and walk away with huge income.