12 Famous College Dropouts who became Billionaires

by admin

Getting a college education is important, but sometime it is just not necessary.

Forbes magazine reports that the average net worth of billionaires who dropped out of college is $9.4 billion.  This is almost triple that of billionaires with Ph.Ds.  at $3.2 billion.  So who are some of these people who never finished their college degree.

1.  Bill Gates,  US


Doesn’t need to much introduction.  Gates was the former CEO of Microsoft, the worlds largest personal computer software company.  Current estimates of Gates’ wealth are around $66 billion .  During his career he was often criticised for adopting  business tactics that many (including regulators) found anti competitive.  Gates now spends his time giving away his money.

2.  Mark Zuckerberg,  US


Facebook co-creator, and CEO.  Recently took the company public and now allows his net worth to be valued at $9.4 billion.  Currently he is aged 28 (14 May, 1984) and Facebook is a company only just 8 years old.  Has a reputation of not being motivated by money, or being bothered with distractions like relationships.

3.  Larry Ellison,  US


Co-founder and CEO of  Oracle Corporation, a leading business software company.  Larry had 2 goes at completing a degree, but never completed either.  Famously he has a salary of over $70 million  and a net worth estimated at $41 billion.  Oracle, like most mature organization has had several near death experiences, but the leadership has seen it make the necessary adjustments and come through.

4.  Steve Jobs,  US


The co founder and former CEO of Apple Inc.    Jobs however also founded an acted as CEO of the Pixar Animation Studios before selling this business to Disney in 2006.  He has received many honors and public recognition, and was often described as a visionary or an innovator.

5. Michael Dell,  US


Dell is the founder and CEO of Dell Inc.  one of the worlds leading sellers of personal computers.  While a freshman pre-med student at the University of Texas at Austin, Dell started an informal business putting together and selling upgrade kits for personal computers.  He now has an estimated net worth of $15.9 billion.  Aged 47.  When he was 24 he was recognised as the “Entrepreneur of the Year” from Inc magazine

6.  John D. Rockefeller  US


Rockefeller was an Industrialist and philanthropist.  He made his money in Oil in the late 19th century  when he started the Standard Oil company.  His wealth indexed for inflation in 2007 dollars was $663.4 billion  more than 10 times the wealth of todays richest people.  Rockefeller after creating this great wealth, spent the last 40 years of his life in charitable pursuits.  Many of the medical breakthroughs of the day were attributed to his foundation.

7.  Richard Branson  UK


Sir Richard, is best known as the founder of the Virgin Group of companies, of which there are reported at more than 400.  He is a true entrepreneur with a passion for starting companies and then putting in place the best people to run them.  Like many others o this list he was also close to the wall on several occasions before breaking through to accumulate great wealth.  Estimated at $4.2 billion. He is now starting to focus on environmental issues and looking for business to provide solutions to the ecological problems that are currently facing the world.

8.  Howard Hughes  US


A busy man.  Hughes was a business man, an investor, an aviator, an aerospace engineer, and a film maker.  He was one of the most famous aviators in history with many air speed records.  he also produced many of the most controversial films of the 1930s and 40s.  At the time of his death in 1976 his wealth was $1.5 billion. His legacy is maintained through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  Another who turned to philanthropy towards the end of his life.

9.  Roman Abromovich  Russia


Abramovich is a Russian-Jewish business man and the main owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC.  He is probably more famous for his ownership of the Chelsea Football club, in the English Premier League.  He has an interesting business past, starting out selling stolen gasoline when he was in the army, then black market rubber ducks.  He was able to legitimise his operations when perestroika created many opportunities for business people to own previous government operations.  He wealth is estimated at UK 8.4 Billion. 

10.  Ted Turner  US


Turner is a bona fide Media Mogul. He founded CNN and also WTBS. Turners career seems to have been quite focused in  media and he often found innovative ways to get increases in viewers and revenues.  He pioneered the 24 hour news format, revitalised the Atlanta Braves baseball team and made popular professional wrestling through World Championship Wrestling. estimated wealth is $2 billion, and he has been vocal at encouraging his fellow billionaires to use their money for good.  He gifted $1 billion to the United Nations and publicly chastened other for not contributing to the world.

11.  Stanley Ho  Hong Kong


Sometimes know as the “King of Gambling” as he benefitted from a government granted monopoly of casinos in Macau.  He has 4 wives and 17 children and a personal wealth of $2 billion.  Ho has many business interests ranging from entertainment, tourism, shipping, real estate, banking, and air transport.  It is estimated that his businesses employ a quarter of the Macau workforce.

12. Joaquin Guzman Loera, Mexico


Joaquin Guzman Loera, is a fugitive Mexican drug lord.  He heads the Sinaloa Cartel, which is the worlds largest and most powerful drug trafficking organization.  In 2009 he had an estimate net wealth of $1billion.  Just shows that with a deal of persistence you can achieve in any field.  By the way there is currently a $5millionUSD reward posted for his capture.

So what can we learn from all of this?  Completing a university degree isn’t necessary, but a good basis and understanding of the activity that you are undertaking is vital.  This men all were experts in their specific fields (even without  a formal qualification).  the other key feature seems to have been an unbreakable faith and determination to keep pursuing their stated goals.  They have all over come obstacles and difficulties.

Another feature is the fact that they are all able to contribute to the world, either through employing people, or their charitable foundations.  So the making of money doesn’t seem to the main driver, more a desire to create and build.

So look at these examples and see how you can be motivated to pursue your life’s desires.


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