The value of a good education is undeniable. In the 21st century, a tertiary qualification is a prerequisite for most careers. The world has, however, seen multiple multimillionaires and entrepreneurs who achieved their success despite dropping out of university, or never attending one at all. The road to riches is different for everyone, but if you use the lessons taught at the University of Life, you might just make it.

Here is our list of top 20 people who became successful without a university qualification:

20. Larry Ellison

Occupation: Entrepreneur and computer programmer

Larry Ellison, entrepreneur.

Larry Ellison, entrepreneur who did not finish varsity.

Success: Co-founder of Oracle Software
Education: Dropped out of university

19. Joyce C. Hall

Occupation: Entrepreneur

Joyce C. Hall businessman and entrepreneur

Joyce C. Hall founder of Hallmark

Success: Founder of Hallmark
Education: No tertiary education

18. Milton Hershey

Occupation: Entrepreneur, confectioner, philanthropist

Milton S. Hershey, entrepreneur

Milton S. Hershey, entrepreneur and confectioner.

Success: Founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company
Education: No education after grade 4

17. Pete Cashmore

Occupation: Entrepreneur, tech writer

Pete Cashmore founder of Mashable

Pete Cashmore founder of Mashable and writer.

Success: Founder and CEO of Mashable
Education: Did not attend university

16. Ray Kroc

Occupation: Entrepreneur

Ray Kroc founder of McDonald's.

Ray Kroc founder of McDonald’s.

Success: Founder of McDonald’s
Education: Dropped out of high school

15. James Cameron

Occupation: Filmmaker, inventor, engineer, philanthropist

James Cameron

James Cameron, filmmaker and inventor.

Success: Oscar winner, worked on films like Titanic, Aliens, Avatar
Education: Dropped out of college

14. Amadeo Peter Giannini

Occupation: Banker

Amadeo Peter Giannini

Amadeo Peter Giannini, founder of Bank of America.

Success: Founder of Bank of America
Education: Dropped out of school at age 13

13. Ansel Adams

Occupation: Photographer and environmentalist

Ansel Adams, Photographer

Ansel Adams, Photographer

Success: His photography work is known worldwide
Education: Dropped out of school after grade 8

12. Benjamin Franklin

Occupation: Author, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, statesman, and diplomat

Benjamin Franklin, inventor.

Benjamin Franklin, inventor.

Success: Invented the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove
Education: No formal education after the age of 10

11. Steve Wozniak

Occupation: Inventor and computer programmer

Steve Wozniak, programmer.

Steve Wozniak, programmer.

Success: Co-founder of Apple Inc
Education: Dropped out of university

10. David Geffen

Occupation: Business magnate, producer, film studio executive

David Geffen, producer.

David Geffen, producer.

Success: Founder of Asylum Records and cofounder of DreamWorks SKG
Education: Dropped out of university

9. Frederick Henry Royce

Occupation: Engineer and car designer

Frederick Henry Royce, engineer.

Frederick Henry Royce, engineer.

Success: Co-founder of Rolls-Royce
Education: Only one year of formal education

8. Isaac Merrit Singer

Occupation: Inventor and entrepreneur

Isaac Merrit Singer, inventor.

Isaac Merrit Singer, inventor.

Success: Founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company
Education: Joined a travelling stage act at age 11

7. Richard Branson

Occupation: Entrepreneur and investor

Richard Branson, entrepreneur.

Richard Branson, entrepreneur.

Success: Founder of the Virgin Group
Education: Dropped out of high school

6. Ingvar Kamprad

Occupation: Entrepreneur

Ingvar Kamprad, entrepreneur.

Ingvar Kamprad, entrepreneur.

Success: Founder of IKEA
Education: Dropped out of high school

5. Coco Chanel

Occupation: Fashion designer

Coco Chanel, designer.

Coco Chanel, designer.

Success: Co-founder of Chanel
Education: Did not attend college

4. Mark Zuckerberg

Occupation: Entrepreneur and computer programmer

Mark Zuckerberg, developer.

Mark Zuckerberg, developer.

Success: Co-founder of Facebook
Education: Dropped out of university

3. Walt Disney

Occupation: Entrepreneur, cartoonist and film producer

Walt Disney, cartoonist.

Walt Disney, cartoonist.

Success: Co-founder of the Walt Disney Company and winner of multiple Oscars
Education: Dropped out of school at age 16

2. Henry Ford

Occupation: Entrepreneur

Henry Ford, founder of Ford.

Henry Ford, founder of Ford.

Success: Founder of Ford Motor Company
Education: Did not attend university

1. Bill Gates

Occupation: Businessman, inventor, computer programmer

Bill Gates, programmer.

Bill Gates, programmer.

Success: Co-founder of Microsoft
Education: Dropped out of university

 

 

 

About The Author

Enrique Grobbelaar

Enrique is the eternal entrepreneur: his first venture was selling off his parents’ household goods at bargain prices to their neighbours at age seven. All other endeavours thus far have been entirely above board.

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