Although earning a college degree is widely considered a prerequisite for success, it’s not always so. As evidenced by founders of companies like Apple, Oracle, Virgin, Microsoft, Dell, and—more recently—Facebook, you don’t always need a college degree to succeed in business and life. In fact, all 10 of the most successful college-dropout CEOs on a list compiled by financial site Pinoymoneytalk.com also appear on its 2010 Richest People in the World list.
Many of those CEOs left institutes of formal education while on the brink of building some of the world’s biggest business empires. For example, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft; Michael Dell left the University of Texas to found Dell Computers and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to found Facebook. But others simply lacked the opportunity. Both Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson and Inditex Group’s Amancio Ortega, son of a railway worker, never went to college because they didn’t finish high school, while Oracle founder Larry Ellison dropped out after the death of his adoptive mother’s death.
Clearly, contrary to conventional wisdom, a degree may be useful, but it’s not necessary.
|Top 10 College-Dropout CEOs|
|Rank/CEO||Company||Country||Est. Net Worth||Educational Background|
|1. Bill Gates||Microsoft||USA||$50 billion||Harvard University, second year dropout|
|2. Mukesh Ambani||Reliance Industries||India||$29 billon||Stanford University, first year dropout|
|3. Larry Ellison||Oracle||USA||$28 billion||University of Illinois, first year dropout|
|4. Eike Batista||EBX Group||Brazil||$27 billion||RWTH Aachen University, first year dropout|
|5. Amancio Ortega||Inditex Group||Spain||$25 billion||Did not attend college, high school dropout|
|6. Michael Dell||Dell Computers||USA||$13.5 billion||University of Texas, second year dropout|
|7. Steve Jobs||Apple||USA||$5.5 billion||California, Reed College, first year dropout|
|8. Ralph Lauren||Polo Ralph Lauren||USA||$4.6 billion||NY City College, second year dropout|
|9. Richard Branson||Virgin Group||England||$4 billion||Did not attend college, high school dropout|