Education alone does not make one very rich. Some even argue that too much “education” is not a good thing, especially when it comes to money-making. Those with too much academic degree, tend to over analyse issues. When it comes to making money, street smarts trumps academic degrees. No wonder you see young people with masters degree, jostling for jobs in companies built by people who never finished high school.
However, do not make the mistake of thinking that these great men and women are illiterates. Though they dropped out of school, they all continued learning, using informal channels, and they focus on learning and mastering their specific business sector.
Mark Zuckerberg for instance conducts a “hackaton” which is a gruelling coding marathon exercise. Bill Gates reads at least 2 books every week since he left school.
Listed below are 30 top college dropouts, who became billionaires, with their photos.
1. Bill Gates (Founder of Microsoft & Richest man in the World for over 15 years )
Net worth 2017 = $84.8 Billion
The son of an attorney and a schoolteacher, Gates entered Harvard in the fall of 1973 and dropped out two years later to found Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen.
• Age: 60
• Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States of America
• Profession: Programmer, Software Architect, Businessperson, Investor, Entrepreneur
• Credits: The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires, Freakonomics, Give Us the Money, The Billionaires’ Pledge.
2. Mark Zuckerberg (Founder FaceBook)
Net worth 2017 = $ 55.8 Billion
Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard in his sophomore year to work on Facebook. Together with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, he launched Facebook from Harvard’s dormitory rooms on February 4, 2004. The group then introduced Facebook to other college campuses.
• Age: 31
• Birthplace: White Plains, New York, United States of America
• Profession: Programmer, Businessperson, Entrepreneur
3. Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries India)
2017 Net worth = $ 22.3 Billion
Mukesh Ambani joined his father’s business, Reliance Industries, in 1981 and owns 48% stake in the company. Ambani enrolled at Stanford in 1979 but dropped out to focus on his father’s business.
• Age: 58
• Birthplace: Aden, Yemen
• Profession: Businessperson
4. Lawrence Ellison (Founder Oracle)
2017 Net Worth = $49.2 Billion
The death of his adoptive mother prompted Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, to drop out of his second year at University of Illinois. He then spent a single term at University of Chicago before dropping out again and moving to California in 1964. Ellison is the 5th richest person in the world and has amassed a fortune of $39.5 billion.
5. Eike Batista
2012 Net worth = $30 Billion
Eike Fuhrken Batista is a Brazilian business magnate who made a fortune in mining and oil and gas exploration. Batista dropped out of an engineering program, left Germany for Brazil and started as a gold trader at 23 and constructed the Amazon’s first mechanized alluvial gold mine. He made his first million from gold trading before he was 24 years old.
6. Micheal Dell
2017 Net Worth = $20.4 Billion
When Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc., was in college at the University of Texas, he started building and selling computers for people he knew at college. Soon, he had accounts outside of school and it wasn’t long before Dell dropped out and focused all his efforts on his business.
• Age: 50
• Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States of America
• Profession: Businessperson, Entrepreneur.
7. Marc Rich
Net Worth at time of death = $ 1 Billion
The late Marc Rich was an international commodities trader and hedge fund manager. He was best known for founding the commodities company Glencore and for being indicted in the United States on federal charges of tax evasion and illegally making oil deals with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis.He dropped out of NYU and went to work in the mail room of trading firm Philipp Brothers in 1954 where he launched his career.
• Age: Died at 79 (1934-2013)
• Birthplace: Antwerp, Belgium
• Profession: Trader, Businessperson
8. Ty Warner
2017 Net Worth = $2.7 Billion
Suburban Chicago businessman Ty Warner, is a college dropout who became a billionaire after creating Beanie Babies collectibles. He attended Kalamazoo College for one year before dropping out.
• Age: 71
• Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
• Profession: Businessperson
9. Gautam Adani
Net Worth = $7.1 Billion
Gautam Adani is an Indian entrepreneur and self-made billionaire who is the Chairman of Adani Group. As a second year B.Com student of Gujarat University, his family’s financial condition forced him to discontinue his studies. He is admired for charting his own plan to handle the financial problems that were bothering him and his family.
• Age: 53
• Birthplace: Ahmedabad, India
• Profession: Businessperson
2017 Net Worth = $ 4.9 Billion
Micky ‘Mukesh’ Jagtiani is an Indian businessman who owns the Dubai-based Landmark retail-stores group. He did his schooling in Madras, Mumbai and Beirut, before emigrating to London, where he joined a London accounting school from which he eventually dropped out.
He drove a taxi in London before moving to Bahrain and taking over his deceased family’s baby products shop. He is now a billionaire.
11. Azim Premji
2017 Net Worth = $ 14.2 Billion
Azim Hashim Premji is an Indian business tycoon and philanthropist who is the chairman of Wipro Limited.
He had a single term remaining before earning an electrical engineering degree at Stanford University when his father’s sudden death forced him to return to India and take over the family business in vegetable oils. He successfully diversified the company, once known as Western India Vegetable Products, and developed it into one of the largest software companies in India.
• Age: 70
• Birthplace: Karachi, Pakistan
• Profession: Businessperson, Entrepreneur
12. Jack Taylor
Net Worth = $12.8 Billion
The founder of Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Jack Taylor, dropped out of college to join the Navy, became a sales manager for a Cadillac distributor, then started Enterprise in 1957. He is worth $11.4 billion.
13. Shahid Balwa
Networth = $ 1.06 Billion
Shahid Balwa (born in 1974) is an entrepreneur based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Balwa dropped out of college to enter his family’s hotel business. He is now one of the ten youngest billionaires in the world.
14. Subhash Chandra
Net Worth = $ 4.4 Billion
Subhash Chandra is an Indian media mogul who launched the country’s first private news channel and then satellite television channel Zee TV in 1992.
He was born to a large family in a small village in Northern India that slipped into heavy debt and split up. Chandra had to drop out of college to start working. With less than a dollar in his pocket, he moved to Delhi, found work and launched his career.
• Age: 65
• Birthplace: Eurasia, Hisar, India, Haryana, Hisar
• Profession: Media proprietor
15. Vinod Goenka
2017 Net Worth = $ 1.17 Billion
Vinod Goenka, MD DB Realty is an Indian billionaire real-estate developer and co-founder of DB | REALTY His net worth is estimated at US$1.18 billion by Forbes magazine. He dropped out of college to join his father’s small construction firm in Mumbai and helped expand it.
16. Roman Abramovich
2017 Net Worth = $ 8.7 Billion
Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich is a Russian business tycoon and the main owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC. He is known for founding Chelsea Football Club, the English football team. Abramovich was orphaned as a child and dropped out of college, then made his fortune in a series of controversial oil export deals in the early 1990s.
17. Andrey Melnichenko
Net Worth = $ 14.4 Billion
Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko is a Russian businessman and billionaire with an estimated personal wealth of $14.4 billion. In 1991 communism fell and Melnichenko dropped out of Moscow State University. He started selling computers and established a chain of currency-exchange booths.
• Age: 43
• Birthplace: Gomel, Belarus
18. Li Ka-shing
20 17 Net Worth = $ 30.9 Billion
Sir Ka-shing Li is a Hong Kong business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he is the richest person in Asia, with a net worth of $30.9 billion. He dropped out of High School to begin working at the age of 15.
• Age: 87
• Birthplace: Chaozhou, China
• Profession: Businessperson, Investor, Entrepreneur
19. Sheldon Adelson
Net Worth = $ 29.2 Billion
Sheldon Gary Adelson is an American business magnate. He is the chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the parent company of Venetian Hotel. Adelson is currently listed as the 22nd richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of $29.2 billion. Adelson attended City College of New York, but dropped out.
20. Amancio Ortega
Net Worth = $ 72.8 Billion
Amancio Ortega Gaona is a Spanish fashion executive who founded Zara clothing and accessories retail shops. Ortega dropped out of school at 13, sold shirts in a store, then starting selling his own bathrobes, and eventually began selling his wife’s designs in a store that started the Zara empire.
21. Kirk Kerkorian
Net Worth at time of death = $ 4 Billion
Former MGM owner and Las Vegas real estate magnate Kirk Kerkorian dropped out of school in the middle of eighth grade.
Kerkorian is known for having been one of the important figures in the shaping of Las Vegas and, with architect Martin Stern, Jr. described as the “father of the mega-resort”. He built the world’s largest hotel in Las Vegas three times: the International Hotel (opened in 1969), the MGM Grand Hotel (1973) and the MGM Grand (1993). He purchased the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio in 1969.
22. Francois Pinault
Net Worth = $ 15 Billion
The tycoon got his start working at sawmill in rural France after dropping out of high school. He is now worth $15 billion and is the majority shareholder of luxury goods powerhouse PPR (formerly Pinault-Printemps-Redoute), whose portfolio includes Gucci, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney.
23. David Geffen
Net Worth = $ 7.2 Billion
David Geffen is an American business magnate and music producer who creating Asylum Records in 1970. Geffen’s first job after dropping out of college was as an usher at CBS Television City, but he soon took a job in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency, where he eventually became an agent.
24. Dean Kamen
Net Worth = $ 1 Billion
Dean Kamen, a prolific and ingenious inventor, dropped out of Worcester Polytechnic Institute before graduating. Although best known for the Segway PT, Kamen holds more than 80 US patents and has created many products such as the AutoSyringe and iBOT robotic wheelchair. When Kamen travels to work, he has to decide which of his two helicopters to take. For longer trips, he pilots his own private jet. He also owns a small island near Connecticut that generates its own electricity from wind.
25. Ted Turner
Net Worth = $ 2.2 Billion
Turner is a media mogul who founded CNN and TNT among other things. Turner was expelled from Brown University after he was caught with a woman in his dorm room, which was against college regulations. He is now known as a wildly-successful businessman and one of the richest men in the world.
26. Howard Hughes
Net Worth = $ 3.8 Billion
Howard Hughes, famed eccentric and one of the wealthiest people in the world, dropped out of Rice University shortly after his father died. When he was just a teenager, he was able to audit math and engineering classes at Cal Tech, thanks to a donation by his father.
27. Paul Allen
2017 Net Worth = $ 19.2 Billion
Paul Allen befriended Bill Gates while they were both attending a private school in Seattle. Allen went on to attend Washington State University, but dropped out after two years. He was also the one who convinced Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard in order to start Microsoft. The two co-founded the company in 1975, but Allen has distanced himself from the company since then. In addition to more than 100 million shares of Microsoft, Allen owns 12 professional sports teams, plenty of real estate, and has stakes in dozens of technology and media companies such as Dreamworks Studios
28. Sir Richard Branson
Estimated net worth: 8.6 billion USDSir Branson left school when he was only 16. Ironically, his first successful business was publishing a magazine called Student. Today, Branson is known for his brand Virgin, which includes Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and over 300 other companies. Also adding to his grandeur, Sir Branson bought his own 79-acre Caribbean island when he was just 24 and he was knighted in 1999.
29. Ralph Lauren
Net Worth = $ 5.6 Billion
In high school, Ralph Lauren was known to sell neckties to his fellow students. In his yearbook, he stated that he wanted to be a millionaire. He studied business for two years at Baruch College but never graduated. Nonetheless, he has far surpassed his goal of becoming a millionaire.
30. Steve Jobs (Founder of Apple Inc)
Networth at time of death = $10.2 Billion
The future wizard of Apple computers dropped out of Reed College in Portland, OR after just six months because of the undue financial strain it placed on his working-class parents’ savings. He would go on to eventually found Apple, NeXT Computer and Pixar, becoming an instrumental force in shaping the landscape of modern culture.
• Age: Died at 56 (1955-2011)
• Birthplace: USA, California, San Francisco
• Profession: Businessperson, Entrepreneur, Inventor, Designer
• Credits: Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, The Pixar Story, Toy Story, The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires
So what are you waiting for? Don’t let your lack of University education stop you from becoming the next billionaire. These men and countless other multi-millionaires, prove again and again, that nothing can stop anyone from reaching to the zenith in life. Success is not a respecter of certificates.
Stop complaining about the job market.
Stop spending all your time browsing job boards.
Stop acting like you’re entitled to a job.
Stop waiting for someone else to hire you.
Realize there are ways to make a living that don’t involve depending on someone else.
Get to work creating your own job.
But if you’re smart enough to read this in Pleasures Magazine, you are probably smart enough to create your own job. To quit waiting for the economy to get better before following your dreams. To dig deep within yourself, rather than relying on someone else who may or may not come through.
By Engr Ifeanyi Okoro
Coordinator Millionaires Academy