Four of the richest one hundred people in the British Isles are Oxford graduates, with a number of others enjoying close links with the University, the Sunday Times Rich List has revealed.
The richest Oxford graduate to feature on the list is Nicky Oppenheimer, who graduated with a degree in PPE from Christ Church in the 1960s and went on to become chairman of the De Beers diamond mining company.
Oppenheimer is the 17th richest man in the UK, but has attracted controversy over the years for his role in extorting blood diamonds out of African states and his comments regarding aid to Africa, which he said is damaging the region due to “donation fatigue.”
Another graduate of Christ Church Michael Moritz, who studied History at the college, also features in the top 100 after earning £1,125 million from internet investments.
Moritz is a senior partner at Sequoia, a venture capital firm based in California, which has made successful investments in LinkedIn, where an initial investment of $4.7m is now valued at $1.5bn, and in Google; where an £8m investment is now worth £6.3bn.
Both these graduates have retained strong ties with their former college, with Oppenheimer supporting a tutorial fund for Christ Church, while Moritz donated £75m to the College in July 2012, the largest single donation ever received by Christ Church.
Charles Malton, a first year at Christ Church, commented that the stature of the alumni from his college demonstrated Christ Church’s superiority to other colleges.
He commented: “Christ Church continues to assert its dominance by producing not only the sexiest and most talented graduates, but also the richest.”
Amongst the other super rich graduates from around the University is Bruno Schroder, non-executive director of financial-services company, Schroders. Educated at Eton, Oxford and Harvard, he is the fourth generation of the German banking family to run the company. His currently wealth is estimated at £1.85bn, placing him 34th in the Rich List.
Another wealthy Oxford graduate is Alex Beard. Ranked 63rd, he holds an MA in Biochemistry and is now worth £1.21bn as director of the oil department at Glencore, the Swiss commodities giant.
Rohit Subramanian, an Economics and Management student at Keble, commented that these graduates acted as inspiration to him. He added: “It’s nice to know that your time time in Oxford can help further your progress in areas beyond your degree.
“The tutorial system obviously has a role to play in making these people deal with high pressure situations and helps them become better businessmen as a result.”
As well as these graduates, Oxford also has close links with a number of other members on the Rich List. One such individual is Wafic Said, a man who achieved notoriety for erecting a 92ft, 300-ton obelisk last year at his 3,000-acre Oxfordshire estate for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
His links with the University started in 1998 when he donated £20m to establish the Saïd Business school. Since then he has also created a Strategic Development Fund for the School with a capital value of £25m and committed another £15m to start construction on a new building that will house the Saïd Business School Centre for Executive Education.
As well as the full list The Sunday Times also released a feature on the 30 richest Britons under 30. Amongst these 30 was recent Oxford exchange student Emma Watson, who has an estimated wealth of £27m. Watson is reported to have made over £9m for each of the last two Harry Potter films, in addition to earnings from the founding of her own fashion brand and modelling for Burberry.
However, Cambridge University achieved a higher number of graduates than Oxford. Of the hundred richest Brits, they count Ajay Kalsi (CEO of Indus gas), Yusuf Hamied (non-executive director of Cipla, a pharmaceutical company), Mark Coombs (an investment banker), Henry Keswick and Simon Arora (both property magnates) as their alumni.
Archie Myrtle, a first year historian from Corpus Christi in Cambridge, commented: “this list clearly shows that Cambridge students are the smarter, more beautiful students who go on to bigger and better things than Oxford students can ever dream of.”
“Soon the wealth of our alumni will allow us to fulfill our ultimate plan of purchasing Oxford University and closing down this insult to the academic tradition.”
However despite the greater number of Cambridge graduates amongst the top hundred it is also the case that none of these students achieved the same heights as Oxford. The highest-ranking Cambridge graduate, Henry Keswick, has accumulated a mere £2,375 m, almost £1,500m less than Oxford grad Oppenheimer.
A report released by Wealth-X has also ranked Oxford University as the UK university with the largest number of ultra high net worth alumni, with 401 UHNW individuals compared to 361 at Cambridge and 273 at LSE.