Mumbai University, it turns out, has produced more billionaires than IITs.
Singapore-based research firm Wealth-X and Swiss bank UBS said in a recent report that Mumbai University ranks ninth in the world, ahead of even premium institutions such as the London School of Economics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with about 12 billionaire alumni.
University of Pennsylvania led the list with 25 billionaires.
There is a difference, though. Most of the individuals in Mumbai are part of old, large business families and have inherited part of their wealth, compared to the emerging rich from the new economy such as IT and services. Some families that can trace their origins to Mumbai include the Ambanis, the Mahindras and the Piramals, among others.
"Mumbai was the industrial and financial capital for India (since British times)," said Dileep Choksi, a former managing partner of Deloitte, who now looks after the affairs of large business families through Universal Trustees.
But growing population and inadequate infrastructure is forcing businesses to shift away from Mumbai.
"This could eventually lead to a fall in the number of billionaires as money will be made elsewhere," said Mita Dixit, family business adviser and leading researcher of Indian business families.
"Moreover, the new generation of most families are diversifying, which will take some time to grow," said Dixit.
Although UBS did not elaborate, some of the individuals who feature on the list include Mukesh Ambani ($23.6 billion), Anil Ambani ($6.3 billion), Kumar Mangalam Birla ($9.2 billion), Ajay Piramal ($2.1 billion), Rakesh Jhunjhunwala ($1.9 billion), Ashwin Choksi ($1.7 billion) and Niranjan Hiranandani ($1.2 billion).
According to Sunil Shah of Evergreen Family Business Advisors, the main reason for the concentration of wealth in Mumbai is that large business families work on creating growth with harmony.
And family disputes have been mainly responsible for the decline of wealth in cities such as Delhi and Kolkata.
Mumbai University is the only institution outside the US and the UK to feature in Wealth-X's list. The Indian Institutes of Technology did not feature even in the top 20, though they are the best institutions in the country in terms of academic excellence.