Despite what most might think, a university degree doesn’t always equate to success. As these 20 men will show you, their lack of a degree didn’t hinder them from becoming some of the most successful businessmen in history.
1. ARASH FERDOWSI
Co-founder of Dropbox, Ferdowsi dropped out of school in his last semester to fully commit to the project he and fellow co-founder Drew Houston started in 2007. Dropbox is now worth an estimated $4billion.
2. MATT MULLENWEG
Matt Mullenweg started WordPress, which now powers around 22% of the web, yet he dropped out of college and began working at CNET Networks from 2004 to 2005, before quitting that to found Automattic, the business behind WordPress.com.
3. MARK ZUCKERBERG
Mark Zuckerberg, one of the most recognised names in tech, built Facebook into the world’s largest social network. Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard in 2004 during his sophomore year to work on Facebook full-time. He is now worth an estimated $34.8billion.
4. DAVID KARP
The creator of Tumblr (the 9th most visited site in the US), despite never even graduating high school. He had dropped out of Bronx Science high school in 2001 to be home schooled, and never received a high school diploma. Karp is now worth an estimated $200million.
5. PETE CASHMORE
At just 19, Pete Cashmore founded Mashable, but never attended college. Not having a college degree didn’t seem to affect this businessman though, as he’s now worth around £60million.
6. DANIEL EK
At just 21, Daniel Ek co-founded Spotify. Ek left his degree at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden in engineering after just 8 weeks in 2005. The company now has more than 32 million paying subscribers worldwide, and Ek is worth £190million.
7. CHARLES CULPEPER
The late 1900s owner and CEO of Coca Cola, Charles Culpeper, dropped out of high school, but went on to create one of the most famous brands in the world.
8. DAVID GEFFEN
David Geffen, billionaire founder of Geffen Records and co-founder of DreamWorks, dropped out of college after completing just one year.
9. EVAN WILLIAMS
Co-founder and former CEO of Twitter Evan Williams went to the University of Nebraska for only a year and a half before leaving to pursue a career in information systems. In 2006 he co-founded the world famous Twitter and is now worth $2.9billion.
10. BILL GATES
Billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to focus on building his company. Proving that degrees aren’t always necessary, Bill Gates has been the world’s richest man for 13 consecutive years.
11. RICHARD BRANSON
Another example of a billionaire ‘drop-out’, Sir Richard Branson is one of the world’s most famous businessmen. The owner of Virgin dropped out of school at just 16 to start Student Magazine, his first successful business venture. He bought his own Caribbean island when he was 24 and was knighted in 1999.
12. STEVE JOBS
Steve Jobs, another household name that will always wave the flag for college drop-outs. The late billionaire co-founder of Apple Inc. and Pixar dropped out of Reed College to start Apple after just 6 months.
13. STEVE WOZNIAK
Like his co-founder (above), Steve Wozniak did not complete college either, and now sits on an estimated net worth of $100million.
14. HENRY FORD
The automobile billionaire Henry Ford was born into abject poverty. He never went to school at all, but went on to build Ford Motor Company and become one of the richest men in history.
15. MICHAEL DELL
The billionaire founder of Dell Computers, Michael Dell, started his company from the comfort of his college dorm room before dropping out to build Dell and work on it full-time.
16. RAY KROC
Ray Kroc bought McDonalds in 1961 for $2.7million and turned it into the multi-billion dollar company we know today. He had previously worked as a salesman and never even went to school.
17. SIMON COWELL
Everyones favourite ‘love-to-hate’ music millionaire, Simon Cowell, dropped out of school at 16 to start his own record label Fanfare when he was 23. With an estimated net worth of £300million, he’s regarded as one of the most powerful businessmen in music.
18. PHILIP GREEN
The Topshop billionaire Philip Green famously dropped out of school and is one of the UK’s most successful businessmen. He is now worth around £4.1billion.
19. WALT DISNEY
Founder of the Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney himself dropped out of high school at 16.
20. DOV CHARNEY
The controversial founder of American Apparel, Dov Charney, started the company while he was still in high school, and never attended college. Despite his lack of a degree, he is now worth an estimated £20million.