People who are considered ambitious attend the best colleges and universities, have prestigious careers and earn high salaries, but they don't necessarily lead more successful lives, according to a study.

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business have discovered that ambitious people have short life span, in spite of their prestigious careers.

"If ambition has its positive effects, and in terms of career success it certainly seems that it does, our study also suggests that it carries with it some cost," said Timothy Judge, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business in a statement.

"Despite their many accomplishments, ambitious people are only slightly happier than their less-ambitious counterparts, and they actually live somewhat shorter lives," he added.

Researchers discovered that highly ambitious people devote most of their time on their careers and neglect several important things that help people to live longer and healthier life such as healthy behaviours, stable relationships and deep social networks.

The study was conducted on nearly 717 high-ability individuals over a span of seven decades.

The researchers used multiple criteria to measure ambition during periods of participants' lives ranging from childhood to young adults just beginning their careers.

Their education ranged from attending some of the world's best universities - Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, Cornell, Northwestern, Berkeley, Oxford and Notre Dame - to more modest educations, including high school diplomas and community college degrees.