Which University Is No. 1 for Midas List Members?

If your grad school was the only determining factor in getting onto Forbes magazine’s Midas List of top venture capitalists, which school should you attend?

A.)    Harvard Business School
B.)    Stanford Business School
C.)    None

According to an  analysis of the Midas List by James Newell, a senior associate at Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), the answer is B — Stanford.

Of the 100 investors on the Midas List, 30 have graduate degrees from Stanford; 19 from Harvard; seven from the University of Pennsylvania; five from MIT; four from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University; three from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth; two each from Columbia University and the University of California at Berkeley; and seven from seven different universities, including the University of Oxford, Purdue University and Georgetown University, Newell’s research shows.

It should come as a surprise to no one in Silicon Valley that the school with the second largest number of people on the Midas List is the School of Hard Knocks. Twenty-one people on the list don’t have graduate degrees, according to Newell’s analysis. That list includes Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and venture firm Andreessen Horowitz; angel Ron Conway; Kevin Harvey of Benchmark Capital; Roger Lee of Battery Ventures; Danny Rimer of Index Ventures; Greg McAdoo of Sequoia Capital; Ted Schlein of Kleiner Perkins; and Brad Feld of Foundry Group.



Another interesting factoid from Newell’s analysis: Three of the top 10 people on the Midas List don’t have an MBA: Andreessen (No. 10), Peter Thiel of Founders Fund (No. 7), and Reid Hoffman (No. 3) of Greylock Partners. Thiel has a J.D. from Stanford Law School and Hoffman has a master’s in philosophy from Oxford.

Newell’s list will certainly make for a great recruiting tool for Stanford, but is there anything important to be taken away from it? You tell me.


  • Other than the fact that my fellow Cal Alums need to pick up their game, I don’t find this surprising. What’s surprising is Midas #7 Thiel’s insistance that higher ed is a bubble, that promising entrepreneurs should forego the proven power of academic networks like Stanford’s to join his micro-cohort of prodigies.

    The same Midas list millionaire who benefited from an undergraduate and graduate degree at Stanford where he met and collaborated with his co-founder (http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=1022 ) is encouraging kids to tune-in, turn-on and dropout to become entrepreneurs. Ironic that the direct beneficiary of superior higher ed is arguing so aggressively today that prize money and simple entrepreneurial freedom to fail can take the place of an organic entrepreneurial ecosystem growing from the nexus of superior higher education, government r&d, VC and an early adopter culture that spans consumer and corporate customers alike. What Bob Metcalfe calls the Doriot Ecology http://texasenterprise.org/article/happy-65th-birthday-doriot-ecology

    Rather than calling all top academic programs bubbles, Thiel should consider using his sizable fortune and influence to catalyze other ecosystems of entrepreneurship or simply champion academic excellence. There’s no doubt our nation’s educators could benefit form the clarity of vision and purpose that Thiel’s libertarian streak excites in every project he’s part of.

  • Tuck isn’t the only Dartmouth grad school. (e.g., Terry McGuire has an MS from Thayer, the very high quality engineering school at Dartmouth.)

  • Would be interesting to have the per capita number of Midas List members by school.. I bet Stanford and HBS are not the 1st place.

  • @ Michael, what do you mean by per capita? First of all, I hope you’re kidding because Harvard and Stanford Business Schools undoubtedly dominate the VC business. Secondly, Stanford Business School is actually quite small. Adjusting for school size, that’s an overwhelming 4 Stanford Business grads to 1 Harvard Business grad on the Midas List. Their assertion is more than accurate.

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