Is college education really the key to professional success? Most of us are taught that a degree is a prerequisite, however the reality is a bit more complex. You can get a great degree (and rack up a ton of debt in the process) and go on to have an average career. You can skip college and get by too.
We’ve compiled a list of 20 successful entrepreneurs that show us that life has more than one path to success, and with enough talent, motivation and definitely luck, almost anything is attainable.
Here’s our list of well known entrepreneurs who made it without college education.
- David Kurp, founder of Tumblr. Dropped out of school at 15 to then get homeschooled. Never attended college.
- Rachel Ray, cooking TV show star. Never attended college and had no formal training in culinary arts. She also became an author and businesswoman.
- Charles Culpeper, owner and CEO of Coca Cola. Dropped out of high school.
- Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. Dropped out of Reed college because his parents could not afford it. At the time of his death, his net worth was $11 billion.
- Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook. Harvard University dropout.
- John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods supermarket. Dropped out of college six times.
- Fredrick Henry Royce, co-founder of Rolls-Royce. He actually dropped out of elementary school.
- Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company. Never attended college.
- Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds. Dropped out of high school.
- Richard DeVos, co-founder of Amway. Did not attend college but served in the army.
- Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile and many other Virgin brands. Dropped out of high school at the age of 16.
- Walt Disney, founder of Walt Disney Company. Dropped out of high school at the age of 16.
- Steve Madden, shoe designer. Dropped out of college. http://www.stevemadden.com
- Russell Simmons, founder of Russell Simmons Music Group, Phat Farm, co-founder of Def Jam Records. Didn’t finish college and also managed to be a bestselling author.
- Micky Arison, co-founder of Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise operator. Owns NBA’s Miami Heats. Dropped out of The University of Miami.
- John Paul DeJoria, founder of Patron. Once told by his high school teacher that he “would never succeed at anything.” Never attended college .
- Susan Lyne, CEO of AOL. Dropped out of college.
- Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft. Dropped out of Harvard University.
- Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter. Went to The University of Nebraska for a year then dropped out.
- Ralph Lauren, founder of Ralph Lauren Corp. Attended Baruch College for two years then dropped out to join the Army.