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Looking to be successful? Here are the top subjects Forbes 30 Under 30 winners studied!

Sarah Jones  · Mar 5th 2024  · 3 min

When it comes to choosing your degree, part of the decision-making process is knowing what you want to do after. Looking to become successful in business? Let’s see where the UK’s Forbes 30 Under 30 winners attended uni and what courses they took.


One of the most prestigious lists to get on to, and what an honour to be on the list! Forbes' acclaimed 30 Under 30 highlights some of the brightest young entrepreneurs around the world in various industries. But how did they achieve their success?

Our recent research looked at 495 previous winners to identify key insights for aspiring young professionals. Our research uncovered the top 10 universities these winners attended, their most common skills, fields of study and industry sector.

Of the winners analysed, 87% held a Bachelor's degree. But, what subjects were the most commonly studied? Let's delve into it!

Top subjects studied by Forbes UK 30 under 30

1. Business

Unsurprisingly, Business degrees led the charge as most commonly studied course at 13%. Business is a fantastic introduction to the world of work, giving you a strong understanding of core principles to set you up for success.

It's not surprising that the successful entrepreneurs and innovators on the UK's Forbes 30 Under 30 brushed up on their business skills to use in their future careers. Business degrees are also among the top 5 searched for courses across Uni Compare and our app, making it a common choice for many students!

2. Engineering

Engineering graduates are known for going on to great things, in a lucrative industry. Whether it's working in manufacturing with mechanical engineering, or getting us to the moon and beyond with aerospace engineering, a career in engineering is a specialist and ever-changing field that welcomes innovation.

An Engineering degree will help you develop so many skills, from project management to product development and more.

3. Computer Science

Third on the list is computer science! With the technology of the world forever developing, and also the subject being the 7th most searched at Uni Compare, this is a shoo-in for this list. Whatever the industry, computer science thrives on innovation. With a Computer Science degree, who knows? Maybe you'll be helping to create the technology of tomorrow!

Graduates in computer science have so many options after graduation, developing skills in coding and knowledge of complex algorithms as well as strong critical thinking skills, you're set for success in your career!

4. Finance

For the entrepreneurs on the list, a Finance degree, or similarly, an Economics degree, is always handy to teach you more about business ethics and policy, financial management and macroeconomics. A course in finance can be an eye-opener to show you how to not only manage a business' accounts, but also how to run a successful, profitable business.

Finance and degrees in related fields open you up to so many opportunities across sectors, as well as budding entrepreneurs looking to set up their own businesses.

5. Management

Of the Forbes 30 Under 30 winners we used in our research, all of these held a job title in a top management position, with 50% listed as CEO. What better degree to ensure they have the skills to equip them for this role than a Management degree!

You'll gain specialist knowledge on a range of business functions including resources, financial planning and logistics. Your degree will diversify your skill set ready for your first job and beyond.

Does your chosen course set your career path?

Of those who attended university, 3 out of 5 (59%) of the winners went on to a career related to the subject they studied, with careers aligning to advertising, informational technology, financial services and more.

But this doesn't mean that what you study is the career you have to end up in. Outside the top 5 subjects, there were winners who studied psychology, Dance, and even Equine Studies!

When looking for a course, many students decide on their chosen career first and then work backwards. This certainly isn't a bad approach.

Our research shows that professionals, even those successful enough to make the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, don't have to follow the same career path as their chosen field of study. In fact, 41% of UK winners have led successful careers in industries different to their degree.

I believe, above all, higher education offers aspiring young professionals the opportunity to grow in confidence and develop the tenacious spirit needed for a successful career.

Additional insights

Most of the UK's Forbes 30 Under 30 work in the software industry

Computer software is an industry that brings in millions of dollars every year. Many of the winners (12.2%) work within this industry. This is followed by financial services (4.8%) and advertising.

Of the UK universities, winners were most likely to have attended the University of Oxford

Oxbridge (Oxford and Cambridge) are known for being top of their class in producing highly-skilled, successful students - it's no surprise that many of the Forbes UK 30 under 30 winners attended both these universities, with University of Oxford coming out on top.

Our data also showed that 1 in 8 winners didn't attend university at all.

A third of the UK's Forbes 30 Under 30 have founded their own business

This acclaimed list is known for highlighting young entrepreneurs already at the top of their game. We found that a third (32.9%) of UK winners were founders and CEOs of their own company, and a further 27.4% had co-founded a business

A fifth of the UK's Forbes 30 Under 30 speak three languages

Many of our list were bilingual and even trilingual! Almost a third of Forbes winners (30%) speak a second language, and over a fifth (21%) speak three! The most common languages are English, Chinese, German and Arabic.

Alongside their knowledge of other languages, many of the winners referenced having strong skills in entrepreneurship (22.8%), leadership (20.1%) and public speaking (11.7%). Many honourees also participate in voluntary activities, supporting education (41.9%), children's charities (15.7%) and civil rights groups (11.6%).

A bit about our methodology

For this research, we used LinkedIn's search function to identify UK professionals who had won a spot on Forbes' 30 Under 30 list. Our sample was a total of 495. We used the information found on their public profiles to delve into the data, using a combination of AI and manual analysis to identify trends. Our profile data was anonymised and swept for inaccuracies or poor formatting before creating our conclusions.


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