Top College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs and Their Success Story

Sometimes talent works at its best than the degree. There are famous entrepreneurs worldwide today who are successfully running their business without a degree.

Yes, these are the college drop outs who risk their education to make their dream come true. We will discuss about these entrepreneurs and their success story in this blog post. Read it thoroughly to know who did what and how.

1. Bill Gates, the man behind Microsoft

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Bill, known in his family as Trey was an argumentative kid. His father was a lawyer and mother a teacher. Bill gates had a different dream- to be an entrepreneur. He saw a computer at 13. The school in which he went bought one machine and a teletype. He paid for the time to use the machine. When he had no money left, he hacked into the computer to use it for free. School banned the Trey, but realized later that he had a rare skill. School asked him to use the machine and help them find bugs.

This is how he started to be a hacker. Today, everyone knows the name “Bill gates” and Microsoft.

2. Michael Dell, the Dell founder

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Michael Dell had interest in technology and gadgets since the beginning. When he was a 15 year old kid, he bought an early Apple computer to postmortem to see how it functions. During college days, he started building computers and selling them directly to people while keeping in mind about the customer support and cheaper prices. He dropped out the college at 20.

Today, Dell computers are used across the globe.

3. Steve Jobs, the Apple founder

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Steve Jobs life story is complicated more like a winding path. He took jobs through India, physchedelic use, Bhuddism, attempts to become an astronaut and start a computer company in the Soviet Union. He died due to cancer. He worked a day before he died.

4. Julian Assange

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Julian Paul Assange is an Australian computer programmer, journalist, and publisher. Julian is a founder of Wikileaks. In 2006, he started working on Wikileaks, a website intended to gather and share confidential information on an international platform. He earned many strong supporters and powerful enemies due to the information released by his organization. Wikileaks was officially launched in 2007 and it was live in Sweden at the time since the strong laws of the country protected a person’s anonymity.

5. Mark Zuckerberg, introduced Facebook

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Mark Zuckerberg dropped out in 2004 and moved to Silicon Valley to work on Facebook. Facebook went public in 2012, and today, it has over 1 billion active users and the world’s largest social network.

6. Mukesh Ambani

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Mukesh Ambani completed his high school in Mumbai. He started his MBA in Stanford University but he had to quit his studies to assist his father Dhirubhai Ambani in the family startup company, Reliance, which was in growing phase at the time.

Today, Mukesh Ambani is the richest person in India and chairman of Reliance Industries, the largest Indian private sector enterprise.

7. Amancio Ortega

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

The Ortego’s family was extremely poor. It moved to La Coruna, Galicia, Spain, Amancio’s father was the only earner in the family. They lived in a beggarly house and his mother worked as a house maid.

Amancio left his school at the age of 14 to work, after hearing his mom pleading for credit at local stores.

Amancio Ortega in his teens, started working as a shop assistant for a local shirtmaker called Gala. In 1975, Amancio launched his first clothing store and today, it is a famous clothing retail chain- Zara.

8. Evan Williams

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Evan grew up on a farm in Clarks and assisted with crop irrigation in summers. He went to University of Nebraska-Lincoln for one and half year.

After leaving school, he worked at several technology jobs and start-up firms in Florida, in Texas, before returning to his family farm in Nebraska.

He co-found Pyra labs, Odeo, and lately Twitter. On 25 September 2012, he developed a publishing platform known as Medium.

9. Larry Ellison, the Oracle man

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Unlike Bill Gates, Larry was not introduced to computers in his childhood. So he didn’t have that inherent advantage early in his life. The first company co-founded by Ellison was launched in 1977. He invested $1200 in the Software Development Laboratories. He and his partners won a two year contract to design a database for the CIA. They named the project Oracle. In 1982, they changed the Oracle name to Oracle Systems Corporation.

10. Jan Koum, Whatsapp idea initiator

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Jan Koum is a computer programmer and the CEO and co-founder of WhatsApp. We all know this application today and we use it often. Whatsapp is a mobile messaging and calling application, which was acquired by Facebook in 2014.

Jan Koum worked as a cleaner at a grocery when he was 16. By the age of 18, he was very much interested in programming. and then he enrolled at San Jose State University and also worked at Ernst and Young as a security tester.

In 1997, he was hired by Yahoo as an infrastructure engineer. Sooner he met Brian Acton while working as a security tester. They worked at yahoo over nine years. In September 2007, Jan and Brian left Yahoo and travelled around South America and played ultimate Frisbee when they are on a year off. Both applied, and didn’t get a job at Facebook.

The idea of Whatsapp was clicked at Koum’s mind in January 2009 and a week later on his birthday- 24 Feb 2009, he registered Whatsapp Inc. in California.

11. Travis Kalanick

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Travis Kalanick had failed many times prior getting his success story. The Uber idea helped him in achieving the success he desired. Uber was the first mobile app that provides cab booking services and this idea was initiated by Travis Kalanick.

Today, Uber app is well-recognized and used across the globe.

12. Gabe Newell

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Gabe Newell is a Harvard dropout. He co-founded Valve Corporation, a video game company popular for the sci-fi game, Half Life. His favorite games are Super Mario 64, Star Trek and Doom, which he played on a Burroughs mainframe computer.

Newell served his 13 years in Microsoft Corporation and Gabe Newell described himself as “producer of the first three releases of Windows”. He and Mike Harrington left Microsoft to found Valve in 1996. Both used their money to fund Valve through the Half-Life development.

13. Azim Premji

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Azim Premji dropped out of Stanford when he was 21 due to unexpected death of his father, to run Wipro. As we know, Wipro is an IT outsourcing and services company. Azim is the richest tech tycoon of India as Wipro had roughly $7.3 billion in revenue in 2015.

Over his illustrious career, Azim has received a lot of respect and honor. He has received many awards, like Top 30 greatest entrepreneurs of all time by Business Week.

The contribution of the Azim to the world of trade and commerce were recognized when he was honored by Padma Bhushan in 2005 by Indian Government. The Economic Times Lifetime Achievement award was won by Azim in 2013.

14. Dave Thomas

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Dave Thomas dropped out of high school to do the job. He worked full time at the Hobby House restaurant in Fort Wayne. He was a founder and CEO of fast –food empire Wendy’s. Dave died in 2002 at the age of 69 and his net worth was said to be $99 million.

15. Walt Disney

College Drop-Out Entrepreneurs

Disney dropped out of high school when he was 16 to join the army, but he was too young to enlist and so he joined Red Cross with a fake birth certificate. He was posted to France where he drove an ambulance, which was painted from top to bottom with cartoons that eventually became his film characters.

Walt Disney is Oscar-winning film producer. We don’t have to introduce Disney theme park owned by Disney. Mickey Mouse was the first cartoon made by Disney. After becoming the multimillionaire Walt Disney Company founder and winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Disney received a diploma of an Honorary High School when he was 58.

Now The Question Is – To Drop Out Or Not?

After reading about these famous entrepreneurs, it can be said that we don’t need a degree but skills. This debate seems never-ending because there are no parents who wish their kids drop out from college or school. However, all of the names mentioned above have achieved their successful career without a degree. The subject is sensitive and has two sides. You must read them carefully before reaching to the conclusion-

The Pros:

There are people who find getting a degree is a wasteful thing as they have to spend certain years of their life to earn that degree, which can be spent on better things than that. For such people, a 9 to 5 job is not in the list. Thus, dropping out offers them a head start and time to make things happen they are passionate about.

No matter how much in the starting you earn, your startup should keep on going and surviving. Most of the time people get successful as they follow their passion instead of money. being a drop out will require you to be able to observe every problem from an investigative and fresh perspective, which will help in dealing with that problem.

The Cons:

If you don’t have a formal degree, you are not eligible to get hire because companies hardly take dropouts seriously unless they see the rare skills in the person.

Just like school life, college days are also special. If you dropout, you won’t experience last minute assignment submissions, bunking, and crushes. But who cares when you have a great idea to start a business, which is worth every sacrifice.

College is the place where students get the time to explore their interests and capabilities. These are the years that could help discover passion of the person. If you already know about your passion and want to pursue it, don’t worry about the degree.

These personalities proved to be an exception because they kept working towards their goal with zeal and follow their passion. Due to such passion, they overlooked their studies and worked on their idea blindly.

Some parents already know that their kids will drop out. Doctor Zuckerberg is among them. He knew that his son would drop out. There is no harm in dropping out if you believe in yourself and you see your dream coming true.

In the end, it is the choice that matters. If you chose to be an entrepreneur and follow your instincts, you can be the one!

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