5 Successful Millonaires Who Did Not Attend University

Many people believe that going to the university and obtaining a degree is a guarantee of success; or, that not doing it can be considered an absolute failure.

In the past, if you studied hard and earned a good degree, you were assured of a stable job and a successful life. However, times have changed, and this old formula no longer works the same way.

While it is true that the university can provide you with useful knowledge and tools, it is also true that these are not enough to develop you successfully in the modern world.

Next, we share the stories of five successful millionaires who created large companies without ever going to college. At the end of the article, we leave you our reflections about these stories.

Stories of millionaires who never went to college

1. John D. Rockefeller

He became the owner of the extraction, refinement, transportation and distribution of more than 90% of United States oil during the late nineteenth century and much of the twentieth century. His colleagues and rivals regarded him as a very skilled and intelligent person, although he abandoned his studies at age 16 to become an accountant for a company of grain brokers and merchants. There he acquired the experience that led him to become an accountant for large firms in Cleveland, the city where he lived for three years. He came to earn $600 annually, which, at that time, was a significant amount of money.

One day he was denied a $200 increase, so he decided to start his firm called Clark & ​​Rockefeller, which, in its first year, earned $4,000 in benefits. He invested in the coffee sector and later, at age 18, he would decide to invest in the oil industry, where he made history and would create an empire of colossal proportions, which forced the United States government to implement anti-monopoly measures.

It is estimated that he got a fortune that would currently be $340,000 million.

2. Henry Ford

He was not the inventor of the car, nor did he invent the mass production chain, but if he modernised it, he mastered it and successfully implemented it in his company; getting the Ford Motor Company to take the car to the masses with its successful T model.

Unable to go to college, he began working as a watchmaker at age 15 and later became an apprentice machinist. He was always fascinated by the machines. He worked on machine maintenance at the Westinghouse company and was an engineer at the Edison company. He conducted experiments with the money and experience he had obtained in these companies. He founded two companies that led to bankruptcy, but that allowed him to learn a lot about management and business. He became one of the best known and richest people in the world in the twentieth century and revolutionised the automobile industry.

It is estimated that he managed to amass a fortune that would currently be $ 199,000 million.



3. Walt Disney

He was the founder of the largest media and entertainment company in the world today. He helped create the famous Mickey Mouse and designed two of the largest theme parks in the world. He was born in a peasant family, and during his teens, he wanted to participate in the First World War after his brother enlisted in the navy. Thus, he would abandon the possibility of going to a university, to become an ambulance driver on the red cross. Upon returning, after the end of the war, he would work as a cartoonist and found several companies where he would experiment with animation. He worked tirelessly to create the first animated feature that allowed him to win an honorary Oscar for such innovation, thus materialising his dream of being a cartoonist and film director.

By estimate, he managed to have a fortune of $5,000 million in life.

4. Amancio Ortega

This successful Spanish businessman was the founder of the Inditex textile group, of which the Zara clothing store chain is part. He came to overcome Bill Gates twice as the richest man in the world, according to Forbes. He began working as an employee in well-known clothing stores at age 14, after finishing high school. He would work for different companies until age 27 when he founded his first company dedicated to the creation of bathrobes that would be distributed throughout Europe. At 39, he opened his first Zara store, where he sold clothes for men, women and children. Shortly after, it would create a chain of stores that would spread throughout Spain and the world. In addition to the textile industry, he has invested in real estate, finance, owns car dealers and has managed various investment funds.

He currently has an estimated fortune of $70.750 million.

5. Richard Branson

The creator of the well-known Virgin brand suffered from a lack of concentration and dyslexia, which led to poor academic performance. At age 17, he left his studies to found his first business in London, which consisted of the sale of pirated records or balance that he acquired in the English Channel.

Thanks to the success of the business, he decided to set up a record store that sold the cheapest products and in a better state than other discount or second-hand stores. He was arrested for the sale of pirate records but managed to get out on bail, although his mother had to mortgage his house to pay for it. Previously, he had invested the store’s profits in a recording studio, called Virgin records. He produced hit bands like the Sex Pistols. Thus, he obtained enough money to found an airline.

Currently, it’s Virgin brand owns 360 companies that make up the well-known Virgin Group, among which a telephone company and a company dedicated to commercial space travel. At no time was his dyslexia a problem or a reason to feel sorry; On the contrary, he managed to leverage this limitation to make the policies in his business very simple.

Today he enjoys a fortune of $5.1 billion according to Forbes.

Reflections: Can you be successful without going to college?

Undoubtedly, all these stories are very inspiring, but we want to share three critical thoughts about them:

    • First of all, each of these entrepreneurs makes it clear that to succeed, more than a good title, you need courage, character, vision, discipline and determination.


    • Secondly, we must clarify that from the list of the wealthiest and most successful people in the world according to different specialised media; many are those who have attended university. So, whether or not you go to college does not necessarily determine your business and financial success.


  • And, thirdly, keep in mind that, although the entrepreneurs on this list never went to college, it does not mean that they have not been constant learners. They developed by their means the knowledge and skills that allowed them to build large companies; So, not going to college is not synonymous with stop learning.

It should be well noted that, with this article, we do not wish to encourage people not to attend university or to abandon their studies. We are firm believers that a good education is vital for any entrepreneur. However, if for some reason you have not been able to access higher education, these stories can inspire you to achieve the dream of being a great entrepreneur, provided you work with determination and intelligence for your ideas.

If you know any other millionaire who has never set foot in a university, let us know in the comments.

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