Many are told, if you do not go to college, you will not amount to anything. Although education is important, it is not the deciding factor for your future. Although the following ten individuals dropped out of school, they worked hard to achieve their goals. They are now worth more than many of us can imagine. Dropouts do not necessarily equate to nothing, and these ten individuals are proof.
Ten: Ted Turner
Ted Turner is an American businessman who found CNN, the first 24-hour cable news station. Although Ted’s father wanted him to attend Harvard, his grades were not good enough. Instead, he attended Brown University where he studied economics. Ted Turner did not dropout, he was kicked out of University for having a woman in his dorm room. Although he did not receive his diploma, he was immensely successful. Not only was he responsible for CNN, but he built the Turner Broadcasting Company empire (which he sold in 1996 for $7.3 billion). He’s also a humanitarian and active environmentalist, pledging to give $1 billion the United Nations Foundation. So far, he has given a generous $965 million. Ted Turner is currently worth $2.2 billion.
Nine: Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren is a well known name within the fashion industry. He always had an eye for fashion, selling neckties in high school. He stated in his yearbook that he wanted to be a millionaire and he most certainly achieved his goal. He attended Baruch College for business, but dropped out after two years. He starting making neck ties within the Empire State Building, selling them to small shops in New York. His career evolved and he is now worth approximately $3.6 billion.
Eight: Richard Branson
Richard Branson may not have dropped out of college, but that’s because he never finished high school. Branson was dyslexic and performed poorly in school. By the age of 16, he dropped out and moved to London. He began his first successful project; Student magazine. He is a self-made billionaire, known for creating Virgin Group. Virgin now contains over 400 companies, including; Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines, and Virgin Mobile. At a net worth of $4.6 billion, he is currently the sixth richest person in the UK.
Seven: Kirk Kerkorian
Kirk Kerkorian is another highly successful man that didn’t even make it to college because he dropped out in the 8th grade. He is known for the ways in which he shaped Las Vegas. Kerkorian achieved his commercial pilot’s license and in 1947, he bought Trans International Airlines for $60,000. He operated the airline until 1968, when he sold it for $104 million. In 1962, he had bought 80 acres in Las Vegas which led to the building of Caesars Palace. He continually bought and developed areas on the strip and opened the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in 1969. In 1986, MGM Grand hotels was sold for $594 million. In 2008, Kerkorian was worth $16 billion, but was hit by the stock market recession in 2011. He is now worth $4.6 billion, without even starting high school.
Six: Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs is notorious in the business world and will forever be missed. He made a large impact on many, being the co-founder of Apple computers. Jobs dropped out of Reed College due to the financial strain it created on his parents. Unfortunately in 2011, Jobs lost his battle to cancer leaving many dedicated followers behind. He was well respected not only for his business endeavours, but his overall outlook on life. When Jobs passed on, he was worth $10.2 billion. This figure may be shocking low to you, as Apple has been incredibly successful over the years. Jobs sold all but one of his shares in 1985. If he hadn’t done this, he would have been the richest man in the world be far at approximately $126 billion.
Five: Paul Allen
Paul Allen met Bill Gates while they attended private school in Seattle. Not only did he drop out of Washington State University, but he was the on who convinced Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard. Together, they create Microsoft. He not only has 100 million shares of Microsoft, but has interests within the real estate industry, professional sports teams, as well as technology and media. At a net worth of $18 billion, I don’t think he’s regretting his decision to drop out.
Four: Michael Dell
Michael Dell is an American businessman, who is most commonly known as the founder and CEO of Dell computers. While in University, he started his computer company formally known as PCs Limited. He dropped out of the University of Texas in order to operate it, which made his parents furious. He told them that if the sales were disappointing throughout the summer, he would return to school. Within his first month, Dell sold $180,000 worth of PCs. He never returned to school and in 1987, he changed the company name to Dell Computer Corporation. He is now worth $18.7 billion. Dell said, "You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream."
Three: Mark Zuckerberg
You know that site you spend far too much time on? Mark Zuckerberg is one of the five co-founders of the social media website we all love, Facebook. He is an American computer programmer and highly successful entrepreneur. Although he dropped out of Harvard University to complete his Facebook project, he hasn’t done too bad for himself. Zuckerberg is currently worth $33.1 billion.
Two: Larry Ellison
Larry Ellison is an American businessman who is the co-founder of Oracle Corporation, a highly successful software company. Ellison began his postsecondary career at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but left after his second year. His adoptive mother had passed away so he did not take his final exams. He later attended the University of Chicago for one term, where he was introduced to computer design. At the age of 22, he moved to California and began his career. In 1977, he founded his software company which was renamed Oracle Systems Corporation in 1982. He is now worth $48 billion and I’m sure those final exams have not been thought of since he made his first billion.
One: Bill Gates
Bill Gates is the second richest man in the world at $76 billion dollars. He was the richest man from 1995-2009 (excluding 2008), but second doesn’t look so bad. He started Microsoft in 1975 after dropping out of Harvard University. He had the support of his parents as they knew how badly he wanted to start his own company. Gates said, "I applaud the graduates today for taking a much more direct route to your degrees. For my part, I’m just happy that the Crimson has called me “Harvard’s most successful dropout.” I guess that makes me valedictorian of my own special class … I did the best of everyone who failed." To this day, Gates is the highest individual shareholder at 6.4% of the common stock. His net worth is continuously growing despite the fact that he’s given $38 billion to charity. He is worth $9 billion more this year compared to last. Although he dropped out, I’m sure Harvard is proud to say he attended their institute.
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