While it is not necessary to finish college to be successful, it is important to remember that these billionaires are the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of people who drop out of college will not become wealthy. In fact, it’s much harder to become a billionaire without a college degree than it is with one. The odds are stacked against you, but if you have the drive and determination, it is possible to achieve your dreams.
So, Is it possible to become a billionaire without a college degree? The answer is yes – but it’s not easy. These 10 college dropouts who are now billionaires are testaments to the possibility. Without further ado, here is a list of the top 10 billionaires who dropped out of college to build a fortune.
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Top 10 Richest Dropouts in the World
|1||Bill Gates||$125 Billion||Harvard University|
|2||Larry Page||$111 Billion||University of Stanford|
|3||Sergey Brin||$107 Billion||University of Stanford|
|4||Larry Ellison||$106 Billion||University of Illinois|
|5||Mark Zuckerberg||$71.5 Billion||Harvard University|
|6||Amancio Ortega||$59.6 Billion||High School dropout|
|7||Michael Dell||$55.1 Billion||University of Texas|
|8||Li Ka-Shing||$34.8 Billion||High School dropout|
|9||Dustin Moskovitz||$11.5 Billion||Harvard University|
|10||David Geffen||$10 Billion||Santa Monica College|
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1. Bill Gates
The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is the most successful college dropout in the world. He dropped out of Harvard twice to focus on his flourishing software company Microsoft. The American entrepreneur with an estimated net worth of $125 Billion was the richest person in the World, from 1995 to 2017 when he was overtaken by Jeff Bezos Amazon CEO.
Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975, the company has however grown to become one of the world’s largest personal computer software companies. Gates led the company as chairman and CEO until stepping down as CEO in January 2000.
He is also the founder and chairman of several companies, including BEN, Cascade Investment, bgC3, and TerraPower. He has given sizable amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reported to be the world’s largest private charity.
2. Larry Page
Google Co-founder, Larry page is another billionaire who dropped college to build a fortune for himself. The 49-year-old entrepreneur drooped out of his PhD program at Stanford University to build the Google search engine. Larry who got an amount of his wealth from Google has an estimated net worth of $111 Billion, making him the sixth richest person in the world.
Page was the chief executive officer of Google from 1997 until August 2001, he then became the CEO of Alphabet Inc. ( Google’s parent company), from 2014 to 2019. He remains an Alphabet board member, employee, and controlling shareholder.
3. Sergey Brin
Another Google co-founder, Sergey Brin is one of the Billionaires who dropped out of college to build a fortune. Just like Larry, Sergey also dropped out of his PhD program at Stanford University to develop Google. He was the president of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., until 2019. He serves at Alphabet as a controlling shareholder, board member, and employee.
Sergey Brin has an estimated net worth of $106 Billion, making him the seventh wealthiest person in the world on the Forbes list. He is also involved in other personal projects beyond Google, Google. For example, invested $4.5 million in Space Adventures, the Virginia-based space tourism company. He and Page are also trying to help solve the world’s energy and climate problems, through Google’s philanthropic arm.
4. Larry Ellison
Larry Ellison joins the list of Billionaires who dropped out of college to build a fortune. The 77-year-old American Business magnate attended the University of Illinois but dropped out due to his adoptive mother passing away. He also attended the University of Chicago for a term and left.
Ellison is the co-founder of the Oracle Corporation a software developer and businessman who has developed software for major organizations and companies. He is also the eighth richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of $106 Billion. His California Estate is one of the most expensive private residences in the world
5. Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg is one of the billionaires who dropped out of college to build a fortune. He quit Harvard in 2005 to grow Facebook. Facebook has however grown to be one of the biggest social media platforms on the planet with over 3 billion Average monthly users
Due to Facebook’s rapid growth, Mark became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at age 23. As of 2022, he has an estimated net worth of 71.5 Billion, putting him in 15th place among the richest billionaires. He is also the chairman, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder of Meta Platforms which includes, Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram.
6. Amancio Ortega
Spanish Billionaire, Amancio Ortega dropped out of school at age of 14 to work as a shop hand for a local shirtmaker called Gala, which is where he learnt how to make clothes by hand. This knowledge of cloth making led him to found the Inditex fashion group.
Inditex fashion group is the biggest fast fashion group in the world, with over 92,000 employees, and 6,000 stores including the brands Zara, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Zara Home, Kiddy’s Class, Tempe, Stradivarius, Pull and Bear, Bershka and many other
Amancio Ortega, with an estimated net worth of $59.6 Billion is the richest in Spain and the third-wealthiest person in Europe after Bernard Arnault and Francoise Bettencourt Meyers. He was once the richest man in the world when his net worth peaked at $80 Billion in 2015.
7. Michael Dell
Michael Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell Technologies dropped out of the University of Texas when he was 19 to found Dell in the 1980s. Dell Technologies has however grown to be one of the world’s largest technology infrastructure companies producing personal computers, servers, smartphones, televisions, computer software etc.
Michael Dell is presently one of the richest men in America and the world, with an estimated net worth of $55.1 Billion according to Forbes. He is also the founder of MSD Capital LP, a private equity company to manages his family’s investments.
8. Li Ka-Shing
Hong Kong business magnate, Li Ka-Shing was forced to leave school at the age of 15, due to his father’s death from tuberculosis. He found a job in a plastics-trading company and later went on to start his own company, Cheung Kong Industries in 1950. From manufacturing plastics, Li developed his company into one of the leading real estate investment companies in Hong Kong.
Li Ka-Shing with an estimated net worth of $34.8 Billion is the richest man in Hongkong and the38th richest man in the world. He is generally considered one of the most influential entrepreneurs in Asia, presiding over a business empire with a diverse portfolio of businesses from a wide array of industries, including transportation, real estate, financial services, retail, and energy and utilities.
9. Dustin Moskovitz
Facebook co-founder joins the list of billionaires who dropped out of college to build a fortune after he left Harvard alongside Mark Zuckerberg to build Facebook in 2005. He was the company’s first chief technology officer and then vice president of engineering. He however left Facebook and co-founded Asana in 2008, although he still owns a 2.34 per cent stake in the company.
Dustin is one of the richest men on the planet with an estimated net worth of $11.5 Billion, according to Forbes. He is also one of the biggest Philanthropists on the planet. He and his wife, Tuna are also the youngest couples to sign Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, which commits billionaires to give away most of their wealth in the form of philanthropy.
10. David Geffen
American producer and Film Executive, David Geffen conclude the list of Billionaires who dropped out of college to build a fortune for themselves. He dropped out of Santa Monica College due to struggles with dyslexia and took a job with William and Morris Agency in the mailroom. Before that, he had dropped out of the University of Texas and Brooklyn College.
David Geffen got into the entertainment business in 1961 and served as the manager of Crosby, Stills and Nash, as well as Laura Nyro. He co-founded Asylum Records with Elliot Roberts, in 1970 and was responsible for the management of many famous bands and singers.
He also founded Geffen Records in 1980, DGC Records in 1990, and DreamWorks pictures in 1994. David presently has a net worth of $10 Billion putting him in 197th place on the Forbes billionaire list.
If you’re thinking about dropping out of college to start your own company, make sure you have a solid business plan and the drive to succeed. And, remember, you’re more likely to fail than you are to become the next Bill Gates!
For emphasis and optimization, here is a recap of the top 10 billionaires who dropped out of college to build a fortune:
- Bill Gates – Harvard University
- Larry Page – University of Stanford
- Sergey Brin – University of Stanford
- Larry Ellison – University of Illinois
- Mark Zuckerberg – Harvard University
- Amancio Ortega – High School dropou
- Michael Dell – University of Texas
- Li Ka-Shing – High School dropout
- Dustin Moskovitz – Harvard University
- David Geffen – Santa Monica College