An informal roll call of Fortune 500 CEOs that dropped out of high school or university and went on to become self-made billionaires, includes the following: Bill Gates (Microsoft), Larry Page (Google), Michael Dell (Dell), David Geffen (Geffen Records), Steve Jobs (Apple), Richard Branson (Virgin), Ralph Lauren (Ralph Lauren), Jerry Yang (Yahoo) and the aforementioned Zuckerberg.
Most on this list received a modicum of post-secondary education, before bailing and pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams.
Like Zuckerberg, Gates also went to Harvard. Page and Yang both attended Stanford. Jobs only completed one semester at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Dell left the University of Texas at 19. Geffen dropped out of three universities before launching his record label. Lauren went to little-known Baruch College in New York State, but left after two years. Branson, a mild dyslexic, never made it out of high school. And it’s not clear if Ford founder Henry Ford ever had any formal education, outside his training as a machinist.
A new blog post (“Is College Necessary for Young Entrepreneurs?”) by Adam Toren, who co-founded YoungEntrepreneur.com with his brother Matthew, uses a fascinating survey by OnlineCollegesandUniversities.com to fuel the discussion of how important a diploma is to entrepreneurs.