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Failed Your A Levels? Don't Despair! Read About The Billionaire Dropouts

/ home / blog /Failed Your A Levels? Don't Despair! Read About The Billionaire Dropouts

Written by Andy Trainer– Fri 17 Aug 2012

Students all over the UK are either celebrating their A level success and looking forward to a future at University with excitement or have been shocked into a “What am I going to do now?” dilemma when they didn’t make the grade.

If you or your offspring are faced with the latter it’s not the end of the world. Do not despair, some of the richest and most successful entrepreneurs in the world dropped out too! In fact, 6 out of 10 of the world’s richest people have no formal higher education qualifications, and some no qualifications at all. Great leadership skills are rarely learned at school or even university, although our training will give you some insights. Determination, hard work, enthusiasm, dedication and motivation may get you a lot further than you think.

Bill Gates – Microsoft

Co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates was the world richest man for thirteen consecutive years. Worth $62 billion he is still number two, second to Carlos Slim Helu. Bill dropped out of Harvard.

Bill Gates says: “We were young, but we had good advice, good ideas and lots of enthusiasm.”

Good ideas and enthusiasm can earn you lot more than qualifications.

Amancio Ortega Gaona - Zara

Spanish billionaire Ortega had no higher education and began working for a shirt maker at the age of 13 and continued to work in the textile industry until the early 1960s.

At the age of 27, he founded his own company manufacturing fine bathrobes.

Today he is worth $37.5 billion according to Forbes.


Larry Ellison - Oracle

Drop-out Larry Ellison is the founder and CEO of the world’s largest business software company Oracle Corporation.

According to Forbes, his net worth is now $36 billion.

Larry Ellison says: “I have had all of the disadvantages required for success.” and “When you innovate, you've got to be prepared for everyone telling you you're nuts.”


Eike Batista – Mining and Oil

Eike Batista is Brazil’s richest man worth $30 billion.

He made his fortune in mining and oil.

One of Eike’s ambitions is to overtake Carlos Slim as the world's richest man.

Eike Batista says: “I think big, and I’m not afraid to take risks.”


Li Ka Shing - Hutchison Port Holdings

Li left school at 12 to support his family after the death of his father working for a plastics company. At 22 he started his own business manufacturing plastic goods. “The first year, I didn’t have much capital so I did everything myself. I had to keep my overhead low by learning everything about running a business, from accounting to fixing the gears of my equipment. I really started from scratch.”

Now he is the richest man in Hong Kong with a Net Worth of $25.5 billion. Hutchison Port Holdings handles about 13% of the world's container traffic. More recently he acquired Northumbrian Water which supplies drinking water to 4.5 million people in England and sewerage services to  2.7 million. He has also invested in Facebook and Spotify claiming, "A person investing in technology will feel younger."

Li Ka Shing says: “The future may be made up of many factors but where it truly lies is in the hearts and minds of men. Your dedication should not be confined for your own gain, but unleashes your passion for our beloved country as well as for the integrity and humanity of mankind.”


Karl Albrecht - Aldi

With a net worth of $25.4 billion, and at the age of 92, Karl Albrecht is now the 10th richest man in the world. Karl and his brother Theo (now deceased) started working in their mother's grocery store after World War II. From these humble beginnings, they turned the business into a large retail chain. No frills and great value form the basis of the business and even today the company does not accept credit cards.
He famously claims: “Albrecht's Law - Intelligent people, when assembled into an organisation, will tend toward collective stupidity.”

Other great quotes include:
“Start out with an ideal and end up with a deal.” And “Customer needs have an unsettling way of not staying satisfied for very long.”


Who Else Had No Qualifications?

Well, Thomas Edison for one. He was labelled dumb and scatterbrain by his teachers but he went on to found General Electric.
Thomas Edison says, ““Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.”

So if you didn’t make the grade there’s hope for you yet.

Other education dropouts include:

Mark Zuckerberg became the youngest billionaire in the world, having dropped out of Harvard to work on Facebook.

Richard Branson dropped out of school at the age of 16.

Simon Cowell dropped out of school at age 16 and started his own record label at the age of 23.

Coco Chanel never went to school at all!

Howard Hughes dropped out of California Institute of Technology and Rice University He founded Hughes Aircraft and Co and went on to become a billionaire, even if he did go a bit mad! Famous quotes include: “I intend to be, the richest man in the world.”

Walt Disney dropped out of high school at 16 and founded Walt Disney. Famous quotes include: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

Michael Dell dropped out of college at the age of 19 to start PC’s Limited now known as Dell Computers. Famous quotes include: “I had to give it a full go and see what happened.” – Michael Dell

Henry Ford never went to school and started his life in extreme poverty.

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