While we don’t recommend dropping out of college for no good reason, if you’ve got a revolutionary idea in the works, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break. We’ve rounded up five successful tech moguls who become billionaires after dropping out of college for your viewing pleasure. Continue reading to see them all.
5. Larry Ellison
Lawrence Joseph “Larry” Ellison (born August 17, 1944) is an American business magnate, co-founder and chief executive of Oracle Corporation, one of the world’s leading enterprise software companies. As of 2012, he was the third-wealthiest American citizen, with an estimated worth of $41 billion. The bulk of Ellison’s fortune comes from his 22.5 percent stake in Oracle.
Ellison was a bright but inattentive student. He left the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after his second year, after not taking his final exams because his adoptive mother had just died. After spending a summer in Northern California, where he lived with his friend Chuck Weiss, Ellison attended the University of Chicago for one term, where he first encountered computer design. In 1964, at 20 years of age, he moved to Northern California permanently.
4. Michael Dell
Michael Saul Dell (born February 23, 1965) is an American business magnate, philanthropist, and author. He is known as the founder and CEO of Dell Inc., one of the world’s leading sellers of personal computers (PCs). He was ranked the 41st richest person in the world on 2012 Forbes Billionaires list, with a net worth of US$15.9 billion as of March 2012.
While a freshman pre-med student at the University of Texas at Austin, Dell started an informal business putting together and selling upgrade kits for personal computers in Room 2713 of the Dobie Center residential building. He then applied for a vendor license to bid on contracts for the State of Texas, winning bids by not having the overhead of a computer store.
3. Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (born May 14, 1984) is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur. He is best known as one of five co-founders of the social networking site Facebook. Zuckerberg is the chairman and chief executive of Facebook, Inc. Zuckerberg’s personal wealth is estimated to be $9.4 billion as of 2012.
The following semester in January 2004, Zuckerberg began writing code for a new website. He was inspired, he said, by an editorial in The Harvard Crimson about the Facemash incident however subsequent events have revealed this to be untrue. On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched “Thefacebook”, originally located at thefacebook.com. Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard in his sophomore year to complete his project.
2. Bill Gates
William Henry “Bill” Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American programmer, inventor, business magnate and philanthropist. Gates is the former chief executive and current chairman of Microsoft, the world’s largest personal-computer software company, which he co-founded with Paul Allen.
Gates graduated from Lakeside School in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT and enrolled at Harvard College in the autumn of 1973. While at Harvard, he met Steve Ballmer, who later succeeded Gates as CEO of Microsoft. Gates dropped out of Harvard at this time. He had talked this decision over with his parents, who were supportive of him after seeing how much Gates wanted to start a company.
1. Steve Jobs
Steven Paul “Steve” Jobs was an American entrepreneur and inventor, best known as the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. Through Apple, he was widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution and for his influential career in the computer and consumer electronics fields, transforming “one industry after another, from computers and smartphones to music and movies…
Following high school graduation in 1972, Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Reed was an expensive college which Paul and Clara could ill afford. They were spending much of their life savings on their son’s higher education. Jobs dropped out of college after six months and spent the next 18 months dropping in on creative classes, including a course on calligraphy. He continued auditing classes at Reed while sleeping on the floor in friends’ dorm rooms, returning Coke bottles for food money, and getting weekly free meals at the local Hare Krishna temple.