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Most successful college drop-outs in history


Several well-known people have defied common perception that one requires degrees to be successful in life. Here is a list of pioneers who dropped out of school/college and made it big.

1. Mark Zuckerberg

Most successful college drop-outs in history© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Most successful college drop-outs in history

Founder of world's one of most popular social networking site, the tech genius dropped out of Harvard University in 2004 and moved to Silicon Valley to dedicatedly work on Facebook.

2. Mukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani - Reliance Industries© Bloomberg Mukesh Ambani - Reliance Industries

After completing his Chemical Engineering from Mumbai, Mukesh Ambani went to Stanford University but dropped out.

His father, Dhirubhai Ambani, got a license to set up a polyester plant, which was very crucial to the business. He asked his elder son to drop out and help him set up the manufacturing site.

3. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs – Apple© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Steve Jobs – Apple

Leaving Reed College in Portland, Oregon, six months after joining in 1972, the late Apple co-founder went on to transform one industry after another, from computers to smartphones to music.

4. Lawrence Ellison - Oracle Corporation

Lawrence Ellison - Oracle Corporation© Kimberly White/Getty Images Lawrence Ellison - Oracle Corporation

He left University of Illinois after his second year and is now ranked among one of the wealthiest people in the world. In 1966, aged 22, he moved to northern California to give shape to his hugely successful venture dealing in computer technologies, hardware systems and software products.

5. Michael Dell – Dell

The billionaire is a University of Texas, Austin, dropout. Starting his business from a residential building close to his college in 1980’s, he went on to become one of the world’s leading sellers of personal computers. 

6. Henry Ford – Ford Motor Company

Billionaire founder of one of the world’s leading car manufacturing company, the late Henry Ford did not attend college during his formative years in late 1880’s.

7. Richard Branson – Virgin Group

Richard Branson – Virgin Group© Anthony Harvey/Getty Images Richard Branson – Virgin Group

The business tycoon struggled in school and dropped out at the age of 16 in 1966—a decision that ultimately led to the creation of Virgin Group.

8. Ralph Lauren - Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren - Ralph Lauren© Larry Busacca/Getty Images Ralph Lauren - Ralph Lauren

The boss of multi-billion dollar clothing company dropped out after two years from Baruch College, USA, during 1960’s. In 1967, Lauren began designing men’s neckties, branding them under the name 'Polo' and later expanding his designs to a full menswear line.

9. Subhash Chandra – Zee

Subhash Chandra – Zee© Bhaskar Paul/Getty Images Subhash Chandra – Zee

Media mogul, who is the chairman of Essel Group, dropped out after standard 12. He revolutionised the Indian television industry by launching the country's first satellite television channel Zee TV in 1992.

10. Sheldon Adelson - Las Vegas Sands Corps

Sheldon Adelson - Las Vegas Sands Corps© REX Sheldon Adelson - Las Vegas Sands Corps

He attended City College of New York in around 1950’s, but soon decided to drop out. Over the course of his business career, Adelson created over 50 of his own businesses in fields like hotels (The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino) and media (Israeli daily newspaper Israel HaYom).

11. Evan Williams - Blogger

Evan Williams - Blogger© Tony Avelar/Bloomberg Evan Williams - Blogger

Also credited as the co-founder of Twitter, he created popular blogging platform Blogger. He attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in mid-1990’s but eventually left to pursue his passion.

12. Richard Li - Pacific Century Cyber Works

Richard Li - Pacific Century Cyber Works© Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg Richard Li - Pacific Century Cyber Works

Hong Kong’s leading businessman joined Stanford University to study computer engineering, but did not finish the course. However, his interest in media and technology industries, in 1990, led to creation of STAR TV, Asia's first satellite-delivered cable-TV service which he later sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

13. Pete Cashmore - Mashable

Pete Cashmore - Mashable© Stephen Chernin/Reuters Pete Cashmore - Mashable

He never attended college, but launched the popular blog at the age of 19. Time magazine described Pete’s venture as the "one stop shop" for social media.

14. David Karp - Tumblr

David Karp - Tumblr© LARRY DOWNING/Reuters David Karp - Tumblr

The founder of United States' 9th most visited website dropped out of Bronx Science High School in 2001. With dreams to hit it big, he started to give shape to hugely successful short-form blogging platform called Tumblr.

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