Aug 3, 2010

We all would have dropped the line in defense of our mediocrity in school, You know what? Bill Gates was a college drop-out. I’m better – I just get low grades.As we all feel and agree, grades just don’t mean anything. We need schooling at a young age as its a leveler and instills some form of discipline & competitiveness into us. But there’s only so much formal education can do!

To strengthen the argument I present to you some of the world’s richest men, all worth in billions who were college drop outs

These extraordinary people are more exception than the rule. Still, don’t be skeptic. And why would you slot yourself amongst the ‘rule’, than the exception?

1) Micheal Dell, founder – Dell
Dropped out of University of Texas, Austin at 19 to business full time. Founded Dell by opening up his Mac and rebuilt to see if he could. Today, he is worth $15.5 bn.

2) Sir Richard Brandson, The Virgin Group
Suffered from dyslexia in school, and dropped out of high school itself to open a music store named ‘Virgin’ in London. From there he expanded into telecom airlines, radio. He is worth $ 2.8 bn and is known for his lavish lifestyle.

3) Steve Jobs, Founder – Apple
Valmiki who wrote the Ramayana was once a thief. Jobs was once a hacker who made a machine that let people make illegal calls. And then, like the former he too drove his energies in the positive direction to do something that is remembered forever. Jobs was a geek who dropped out of Reed College, Portland after one semester to start out in business. Today he is worth over $5 bn

4) Ralph Lauren, Founder – Polo clothing line
Ralph’s surname was Lifshitz which he changed to Lauren to disguise his Jewish roots. He worked after school in the Bronx to earn money to buy suits. Dropped out of the City College of New York after two years. Dint attend fashion school either to start Polo, initially a necktie brand. Today, he is worth $3.5 bn.

5) Ted Turner, founder – CNN, owner – MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon
Dropped out Brown University to join his father’s billboard business. He sold that to fund ‘Cable News Network’, the channel that revolutionized TV viewing with its live coverage of the Gulf war. Turner went ahead to buy over MTV, Nickelodeon and is the head of the broadcasting empire – Time Warner, that he built. He also built ESPN which was later bought over by Disney. The maverick retired young at 67 and is worth $ 4.7bn.

Among others: Mark Zuckerberg (Founder-CEO, Facebook), Dhirubhai Ambani (Reliance Industries), Will Smith (Rapper turned Hollywood superstar).

There are many more people who fit into the ‘Drop-outs Hall of Fame’ like Thomas Alva Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Willis and Woody Allen. But these great men weren’t entrepreneurs while some of them would be worth in billions too. So my fellow men, take pride in our tribe coz we redefined what success is with our failures. And purely co-incidental that there is no famous woman entrepreneur who was a college dropout.