Famous College Drop Outs who became Successful Businessmen

Many of our most famous and successful businessmen were college dropouts. They had the good sense to realize their time was of the essence and jumped right on the bandwagon when the time was right. Career and making money meant more to them then getting that college degree.

Some people don’t think of the career but of getting the degree. They prioritize the degree sometimes to the exclusion of a career. I guess we are the intellectuals. We just theorize about making money and being successful.

The famous businessmen who made it to the top don’t theorize or intellectualize. They just do it. Action is their keyword.

The most famous of all in today’s world is Bill Gates. He is the richest man in the world with a net worth of $50 billion.

Bill gates dropped out of Harvard when he was 19 to work on the company he started up – Micro-Soft as it was called then.

Today he has left Microsoft and is involved in his philanthropic mission with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the 2nd largest charitable organization in the world.

The next most famous is Michael Dell who began at the age of 15 building PCs by taking apart the Apple II and putting it back together. He began building PCs from spare parts in his garage and also introduced “just-in-time” marketing and supply chain management to the world by building PCs to order.

He entered the University of Texas but dropped out to run his computer business full-time. (He was selling PCs and direct marketing them out of his dorm room).

His current net worth is $15.5 billion and he is the 9th richest man in the world.

Two famous American fashion designers and businessmen who were also college dropouts are Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein.

Ralph Lauren was born in the Bronx. His father was a Jewish house painter. His original name was Ralph Lifschitz, which he and his brothers changed to Lauren. He is famous for the Polo label and the necktie business.

Ralph Lauren was a City College of New York dropout. After serving in the Army he worked first as a salesman for Brooks Brothers and then embarked on his illustrious career. He is currently worth $3.6 billion.

Calvin Klein was born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents. He learned sewing from his mother who was an excellent seamstress. He dropped out of Parsons School of Design and began designing coats. He was not only a talented couturier but also a shrewd businessman who rose to the top in the fashion industry. His best friend from high school became his lifetime financial partner. (from Obsession: The Lives and Times of Calvin Klein by Steven Gaines and Sharon Churcher).

Ted Turner is an amazing billionaire college dropout. He attended Brown University and was actually expelled for having a girl come to his room.

Sometimes college dropouts are actually expelled. Perhaps this type of life-change provides the motivation for achievement. As Nevitt Sanford a psychologist at Stanford states, “Leaving college may leave a student with a sense of unfinished business that will, in some cases, provide motivation for learning for the rest of his life.”

(There is also a rumor that Bill Gates was actually expelled from Harvard for using computers illegally. (www.pennylicious.com/2006/10/09/billionaire-dropouts).

Ted Turner founded Cable News Network (CNN), Turner Classic Movies (TCM), and Turner Network Television (TNT), which all grew out of Turner Broadcasting. (Turner Broadcasting merged with Time-Warner which merged with America Online (AOL). (www.answers.com/topic/ted-turner?cat=biz-fin)

Ted Turner is currently philanthropically involved with the Turner Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Captain Planet Foundation, and the Turner Endangered Species Fund. (www.tedturner.com/enterprises/home.asp).

He also owns the Atlantic Hawks Basketball team and the Atlanta Braves Baseball team; and farms bison in Montana where he owns and is actively involved in Ted’s Montana Grill.

He married the famous film star, Jane Fonda.

There are many other famous and successful businessmen college dropouts who could be added to this list, but I believe I have listed the most famous.

There are also high school and elementary school dropouts such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison who were also successful businessmen.

To read about other famous college dropout businessmen go to (www.pennylicious.com/2006/10/09/billionaire-dropouts/)