The richest college dropouts – billionaires who never graduated college – are all listed here, with photos. If money is an indicator of success, it’s safe to say that these are the most successful college dropouts in history. Plenty of athletes become millionaire college dropouts when they go pro, though their lack of an education doesn’t always serve them well afterwards. Obviously the experiences of rich people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and recently, Mark Zuckerberg, show us that sometimes you just have to leave school to pursue your dreams.
Who are some billionaires who didn’t finsih college? This list proves that a college degree isn’t always the best indicator of future success.
The future wizard of Apple computers dropped out of Reed College in Portland, OR after just six months because of the undue financial strain it placed on his working-class parents’ savings. He would go on to eventually found Apple, NeXT Computer and Pixar, becoming an instrumental force in shaping the landscape of modern culture.
The son of an attorney and a schoolteacher, Gates entered Harvard in the fall of 1973 and dropped out two years later to found Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen.
Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard in his sophomore year to work on Facebook.
Mukesh Ambani, worth $27 billion, is the 9th richest man in the world. He joined his father’s business, Reliance Industries, in 1981 and owns 48% stake in the company. Ambani enrolled at Stanford in 1979 but dropped out to focus on his father’s business.
The death of his adoptive mother prompted Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, to drop out of his second year at University of Illinois. He then spent a single term at University of Chicago before dropping out again and moving to California in 1964. Ellison is the 5th richest person in the world and has amassed a fortune of $39.5 billion.
Eike Fuhrken Batista is a Brazilian business magnate who made a fortune in mining and oil and gas exploration. Batista dropped out of an engineering program, left Germany for Brazil and started as a gold trader at 23 and constructed the Amazon’s first mechanized alluvial gold mine. He made his first million from gold trading before he was 24 years old.
Michael S. Dell
When Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc., was in college at the University of Texas, he started building and selling computers for people he knew at college. Soon, he had accounts outside of school and it wasn’t long before Dell dropped out and focused all his efforts on his business.
The late Marc Rich was an international commodities trader and hedge fund manager. He was best known for founding the commodities company Glencore and for being indicted in the United States on federal charges of tax evasion and illegally making oil deals with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis.He dropped out of NYU and went to work in the mail room of trading firm Philipp Brothers in 1954 where he launched his career.
Suburban Chicago businessman Ty Warner, is a college dropout who became a billionaire after creating Beanie Babies collectibles. He attended Kalamazoo College for one year before dropping out.
Gautam Adani is an Indian entrepreneur and self-made billionaire who is the Chairman of Adani Group. As a second year B.Com student of Gujarat University, his family’s financial condition forced him to discontinue his studies. He is admired for charting his own plan to handle the financial problems that were bothering him and his family.
Micky ‘Mukesh’ Jagtiani is an Indian businessman who owns the Dubai-based Landmark retail-stores group. He did his schooling in Madras, Mumbai and Beirut, before emigrating to London, where he joined a London accounting school from which he eventually dropped out.
He drove a taxi in London before moving to Bahrain and taking over his deceased family’s baby products shop. He is now a billionaire.
Azim Hashim Premji is an Indian business tycoon and philanthropist who is the chairman of Wipro Limited.
He had a single term remaining before earning an electrical engineering degree at Stanford University when his father’s sudden death forced him to return to India and take over the family business in vegetable oils. He successfully diversified the company, once known as Western India Vegetable Products, and developed it into one of the largest software companies in India.
The founder of Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Jack Taylor, dropped out of college to join the Navy, became a sales manager for a Cadillac distributor, then started Enterprise in 1957. He is worth $11.4 billion.
Shahid Balwa (born in 1974) is an entrepreneur based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Balwa dropped out of college to enter his family’s hotel business. He is now one of the ten youngest billionaires in the world.
Subhash Chandra is an Indian media mogul who launched the country’s first private news channel and then satellite television channel Zee TV in 1992.
He was born to a large family in a small village in Northern India that slipped into heavy debt and split up. Chandra had to drop out of college to start working. With less than a dollar in his pocket, he moved to Delhi, found work and launched his career.
Vinod Goenka, MD DB Realty is an Indian billionaire real-estate developer and co-founder of DB | REALTY His net worth is estimated at US$1.18 billion by Forbes magazine. He dropped out of college to join his father’s small construction firm in Mumbai and helped expand it.
Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich is a Russian business tycoon and the main owner of the private investment company Millhouse LLC. He is known for founding Chelsea Football Club, the English football team. Abramovich was orphaned as a child and dropped out of college, then made his fortune in a series of controversial oil export deals in the early 1990s.
Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko is a Russian businessman and billionaire with an estimated personal wealth of $14.4 billion. In 1991 communism fell and Melnichenko dropped out of Moscow State University. He started selling computers and established a chain of currency-exchange booths.
Viktor Anatolyevich Bout is a convicted Russian arms smuggler. He dropped out of technical college in South Africa to enter the air transport business, moving “motor vehicles, food stuffs, arms, and passengers.”
Sir Ka-shing Li is a Hong Kong business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he is the richest person in Asia, with a net worth of $28.8 billion. He dropped out of High School to begin working at the age of 15.
Sheldon Gary Adelson (born August 4, 1933) is an American business magnate. He is the chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the parent company of Venetian Hotel. Adelson is currently listed as the 12th richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of $34.4 billion. Adelson attended City College of New York, but dropped out.
Amancio Ortega Gaona is a Spanish fashion executive who founded Zara clothing and accessories retail shops. Ortega dropped out of school at 13, sold shirts in a store, then starting selling his own bathrobes, and eventually began selling his wife’s designs in a store that started the Zara empire.
Former MGM owner and Las Vegas real estate magnate Kirk Kerkorian dropped out of school in the middle of eighth grade.
Not much is known about this mysterious man who attended Syracuse, only that he is rich as hell and dropped out. He is worth $4 billion and works in the publishing industry.
The tycoon got his start working at sawmill in rural France after dropping out of high school. He is now worth $15 billion and is the majority shareholder of luxury goods powerhouse PPR (formerly Pinault-Printemps-Redoute), whose portfolio includes Gucci, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney.
Dawood Ibrahim is the notorious leader of Indian organized crime syndicate D-Company founded in Mumbai and is widely reported to be living in Pakistan. Ibrahim dropped out of school and began his life in crime by peddling fake watches.
Hasan Ali Khan
Hasan Ali Khan is reputed to be an Indian billionaire businessman. In 2007, Indian authorities began investigating Khan for suspicion of money laundering. He reportedly had a Swiss bank account with $8 billion in deposits.
David Geffen is an American business magnate and music producer who creating Asylum Records in 1970. Geffen’s first job after dropping out of college was as an usher at CBS Television City, but he soon took a job in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency, where he eventually became an agent.
Kamen is the inventor of the Segway. Born on Long Island, New York, Kamen attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute and spent 5 years doing specialized research on a specific type of syringe but dropped out before he graduated.
Turner is a media mogul who founded CNN and TNT among other things. Turner was expelled from Brown University after he was caught with a woman in his dorm room, which was against college regulations. He is now known as a wildly-successful businessman and one of the richest men in the world.
Joaquín Guzmán Loera aka “El Chapo”
CEO of the Sinaloa cartel, “El Chapo” is the world’s most powerful drug trafficker. The cartel is responsible for an estimated 25% of all illegal drugs that enter the U.S. via Mexico. He is worth more than $1 billion.