It Pays To Be A Drop Out: 50 Billionaires Who Never Finished College

If you're thinking about hitting that snooze button for your 8 a.m. calculus class, you might want to go ahead and do it. Many of today's rich and famous dropped out of school and ended up making way over six figures. If you're like these folks, walking out on your college education could be the best thing you ever do for your bank account.

Bill Gates Didn't Need Harvard

The billionaire of Microsoft could only build Microsoft if he dropped out of Harvard. While his parents might have been mad at first, I'm sure they're cool with it now that he's worth $89 billion.

Source: YouTube

No School For Thomas Edison

Easily one of history's most known inventors, Edison also founded General Electric despite being labeled as dumb and scatterbrain by his school teachers. Talk about revenge.

Source: Open Culture

Orji Uzor Kalu Got Kicked Out Of College

The young billionaire is one of Africa's richest men because he made the most of out of being booted from college after a student’s protest. Rather than sulking, he grew his business and made bank. He is now worth $7.5 billion.

Source: Today

Li Ka Shing Didn't Go To Class

The owner of one of the largest conglomerates in Hong Kong dropped out of school at the tender age of 15. He started making his millions just by selling watch bands, and is now worth $31.2 billion.

Source: Forbes

Richard Branson Skipped Class

Branson dropped out of school at the age of 16 to start his first business venture, and he bought his own 79-acre Caribbean island when he was just 24. He's now worth $4.9 billion. How's that homework lookin' now?

Source: Groupo

No One Believed In Lawrence J. Ellison

Larry Ellison dropped out of college not once, but twice and was told by his adoptive father that he would never amount to anything, Still, he went on to create Oracle, the world's second-largest software company, and is worth $28 billion.

Source: Taddlr

Michael Dell Didn't Need A College Degree

Dropping out of college at 19 might sound like a really bad idea, but it worked out just fine for the founder of Dell Computers. He is now worth $20.8 billion.

Source: Inc

Steve Jobs Chose Starting A Business Over College

The father of the iPhone dropped out of Reed College so he could start Apple Inc. Needless to say, it was a pretty smart move. He was worth $10.2 billion by the time of his death.

Source: ABC News

Henry Ford Didn't Need A Teacher

Ford never stepped foot inside a classroom, yet he went on to build Ford Motor Company and become one of the richest men who ever lived. In today's dollars, he'd be worth $199 billion.

Source: Henry Ford

Walt Disney Let His Imagination Make His Money

This high school dropout left at 16 years old and then named a company after himself that now has an annual revenue of about $30 billion.

Source: The Odyssey

Ray Kroc Didn't Go To School


After not attending school and spending most of his life as a salesman, Kroc made his move into success when he bought McDonald's and turned it into the king of the fast food industry it is today. By the time of his death in 1984, Kroc had turned McDonald's into an $8 billion company.

Source: Investors Business Daily

Debbi Fields Made Her Fortune In The Kitchen

With literally no education or business experience, this former housewife created one of the most successful cookie businesses ever, which she later renamed, franchised and sold to make even more cash money. She is now worth $65 million.

Source: Inc

Cosmos Maduka Left Elementary School

This billionaire didn't waste his time sitting through spelling bees or long division. He dropped out in elementary school and went on to found the Coscharis Group, and has an estimated net worth of $1 billion.

Source: This Day

Ingvar Kamprad Didn't Need A Course To Teach Him About Furniture

Kamprad dropped out of high school at 17 to start creating the furniture you love to buy but hate to put together. If it wasn't for his lack of formal education, IKEA wouldn't exist, and he wouldn't have $23 billion.

Source: Sjöfartstidningen

No School For Carl Lindner

At 14, Lindner stopping going to school so he could deliver milk for his family dairy. Thankfully, that gig eventually led to him founding United Dairy Farmers, and a $2.3 billion fortune.

Source: Cincinnatti

Simon Cowell Didn't Care If People Judged Him For Dropping Out

Your favorite TV talent competition judge dropped out of school when he was 16 and started his own record label at 23. Needless to say, things worked out pretty well with $550 million to his name.

Source: MXWDN

Mary Kay Ash Didn't Do Homework

Mary Kay Ash was never in school, but she still managed to create one of the most well-known beauty companies in the nation and has a net worth of $3 billion. No formal education required.

Source: Texas Monthly

Coco Chanel Made Her Way Without A Degree

The woman with one of the most notable names ever didn't have to attend school to know how to get an A in fashion, or a personal fortune of $19 billion.

Source: Habitually Chic

There Was Nothing Garbage About Wayne Huizenga's Idea To Drop Out

The only person in history to build three Fortune 1000 companies from scratch dropped out of college to help his buddy with a garbage collection business. That, and his other business ventures, earned him a $2.6 billion net worth.

Source: Wikipedia

Barry Diller Didn't Want To Sit In Class

Rather than sit through a bunch of lectures, this billionaire dropped out of college to start what is now the Fox Broadcasting Company. Highly doubt he has any regrets with $2.5 billion to his name.

Source: New York Times

Andrew Carnegie Didn't Need An Education

Born close to the poverty line, this founder of Carnegie Steel Company didn't need a formal education to become one of the richest men in history. In today's dollars, his final net worth was $310 billion.

Source: NY Daily News

Sir Philip Green Left School As A Teen

This retail mogul dropped out of school when he was a teenager, and though he had a slow start at first, he made his first million at the age of 33. He is worth $3.8 billion.

Source: Adam Smith

Madame C. J. Walker Made It Despite The Odds

Despite being born into a family of ex-slaves and being widowed at the age of 20, she started her own cosmetics business and went on to be the first American self-made female millionaire in today's dollars ($6 million to be precise).

Source: Biography

Mark Zuckerberg Didn't Post Any Graduation Photos

The current youngest billionaire in the world left Harvard to start his social networking company, Facebook. He was worth $4 billion by the time he was 23.

Source: Fast Company

Ted Turner Was Told He Couldn't Make It

This media mogul who founded CNN wasn't primed for success. He was a high school dropout who was always told by people that he wouldn't make it. His estimated net worth today? $2.3 billion.

Source: Alchetron

Cornelius Vanderbilt Was One Of The Richest Men In History

One of the richest men in history didn't get that way by sitting in math class. He dropped out of school at age 11 and began operating his own boat when he was 16. In today's dollars, he was worth $215 billion!

Source: Famous Entrepreneurs

There Were No Classes On Beanie Babies For Ty Warner

This private billionaire didn't have to go to school to learn how to make a ton of money. He even made $700 million one year on Beanie Babies without any advertising.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Howard Hughes Flew His Way To Success

This college dropout became a millionaire after founding his own aircraft company. Guess they didn't teach how to make a ton of money the way Hughes could. In today's dollars, Hughes was worth an estimated $3.8 billion.

Source: HHMI

Giorgio Armani Didn't Make The Honor Roll

This fashion icon and billionaire dropped out of medical school because he couldn't handle the sight of blood. He's probably happy to have found his calling with a personal fortune of over $8 billion.

Source: Fashion Farm

Asa Candler Is Proof You Don't Need An Education To Make Billions

Founder of the world's most popular brand of soda pop, Coca Cola, this billionaire dropped out of school when he was just 10 years old.

Source: Famous Entrepreneurs

Milton Hershey Kissed School Goodbye

The founder of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate became a billionaire with only a fourth-grade education. His net worth is hard to pin down, but exceeded $100 million in today's money.

Source: Infomory

Frank Lloyd Wright Never Saw A Classroom

He became the most influential architect of the twentieth century by designing more than 1,100 projects — even though he never saw the four walls of high school.

Source: Fun Cheap

Business School Wasn't Necessary For David Geffen

Geffen became the billionaire founder of Geffen Records and co-founder of DreamWorks even though he never even took a class at a business school. He is worth an estimated $6 billion.

Source: Fox 5 News

Billy Joe McCombs Was Not A Fan Of Homework

Billy Joe McCombs didn't become the founder of Clear Channel media and a successful real estate investor by spending all his time doing homework. He is worth an estimated $1.4 billion.

Source: My San Antonio

Craig McCaw Was A Drop Out

The billionaire founder of McCaw Cellular Craig McCaw was a dropout. Mainly because they don't teach you how to name a billion-dollar business after yourself. He's worth $1.85 billion as of 2015.

Source: Flickr

Dave Thomas Didn't Pull Any All-Nighters To Study

You can thank the founder of Wendy's for dropping out of school and creating a business that caters to your weekly fast food runs. When he died in 2002, he was worth an estimated $99 million.

Source: Business Insider

No Pop Quizzes For Jay Van Andel

The billionaire co-founder of Amway didn't learn his business skills by taking standardized tests, doing math homework or preparing for any pop quizzes. His controversial multi-level marketing business has earned him a personal fortune of $2.3 billion. His son Steve, pictured, has carried on the family business since 1995.

Source: Business Insider

Micky Jagtiani Learned By Doing

The billionaire retailer and owner of Landmark International didn't gain his skills from a classroom, he learned by doing — and boy, did he do well with a personal fortune of $5 billion.

Source: Forbes

John Paul DeJoria Was Even Homeless Once

The billionaire co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron Spirits tequila John Paul DeJoria dropped out of school. After a stint of homelessness, he went on to become a very, very rich man with a net worth of $4.6 billion.

Source: Business Insider

David Green Crafted His Own Education

You can personally thank David Green, the billionaire founder of Hobby Lobby, for dropping out of school and creating a crafting heaven for all to use. He has a personal net worth of $5.1 billion.

Source: Business Insider

Frederick “Freddy” Laker Didn't Graduate

The billionaire airline entrepreneur Frederick “Freddy” Laker is probably flying high on his decision to drop out of school and create his own successful business.

Source: Alchetron

Kirk Kerkorian Has It Figured Out

This billionaire investor is also the owner of Mandalay Bay and Mirage Resorts and MGM movie studio. His personal fortune is estimated at just under $4 billion. So yeah, Kirk Kerkorian pretty much has it all figured out.

Source: Business Insider

Leandro Rizzuto Didn't Go To Beauty School

The billionaire founder of Conair, Leandro Rizzuto, is probably hair flipping left and right for his decision to drop out of school and make his own company. He has a reported net worth of $3.2 billion.

Source: Business Insider

Leslie Wexner Wasn't Limited By His Decision To Drop Out

The billionaire founder of Limited Brands made his money outside of the walls of a formal education by creating a brand for pre-teen girls. It paid off, with a net worth of $6.1 billion.

Source: Blog CDN

Marc Rich Was Destined To Be Rich

The billionaire commodities investor and founder of Marc Rich & Co. made his $1 billion not by graduating, but by dropping out and focusing his efforts on his own businesses.

Source: Japan Times

S. Daniel Abraham Paved His Own Route

The billionaire founder of Slim-Fast S. Daniel Abraham (center) didn't make his $2.1 billion net worth by going through the motions of school and college, but by paving his own route.

Source: Business Insider

Ralph Lauren Didn't Need Fashion School

Ralph Lauren is a billionaire fashion mogul who studied business at Baruch College for two years and dropped out, probably after realizing he didn't need it. He is worth an estimated $6 billion.

Source: Business Insider

Dean Kamen Made It Without A Full Education

Kamen holds more than 80 U.S. patents, is famous for the Segwey PT, Auto syringe and IBOT robotic wheelchair — and dropped out of Worcester Polytechnic. Still, he's worth $500 million.

Source: YouTube

Dhirubhai Ambani Started From Scratch

Dhirubhai Ambani was the famous founder of Reliance Group and father to two billionaires: Anil and Mukesh Ambani. He started Reliance Industries from scratch and never went to school. His son Mukesh is worth a stunning $29 billion.

Source: Business Insider

Nothing Stopped Paul Allen