We were all raised to believe that higher education is vital to our success. Our parents wanted us to grow up and be lawyers, doctors, engineers, all things that require an incredible amount of classroom time. But what would you say if we told you that some of the world's wealthiest people never graduated from college?
Oh, Rachael Ray, you've always been a delight to watch and a pioneer for celebrity relationships. She graduated high school and went on from there to be worth $75 million with no formal training.
If you think Bill Gates was astounding, take a look at Walt Disney. He didn't even finish High School before embarking on his world-changing career. Walt Disney is known all over the world, and Disney is now worth over $30 billion.
That's right, everyone's favorite TV show host is a college dropout. While he has a gruff on-stage persona (worth $500 million), he's a very dedicated philanthropist and is regarded as one of the most influential people in the world.
Bill Gates is a huge philanthropist, a man who spends most of his incredible fortune doing what he can to help others. Often this is through donations of computers; he has also set up water relief funds and scholarships. He dropped out of Harvard to pursue his dream of a computing company, which is now worth over $80 billion and is known as Microsoft.
If you're like us, you can't get enough of those rich, flavorful, soft cookies produced by Mrs. Fields Cookie Company. What you may not have known is that there's a real Mrs. Fields, and her name is Debbi. She dropped out of Foothill College in California and built a company that would be worth $100 million at the age of 20.
One simple idea became arguably the most recognizable social media site on the internet. That's right, the face above is the man who developed Facebook, a company now worth well over $51 billion. Like Bill, he has pledged to donate a significant portion of his wealth to charities.
Most of us have encountered Mary Kay at some point in our lives, but what few of us know is that Mary Kay was an actual person. She worked hard out of school selling books door to door and finally decided to start her cosmetics company focused on empowering women. Mary Kay Inc is now a $3.7 billion business.
If you're a follower of fashion, you know the name Ralph Lauren. His company may only be worth $8 billion, but he did it all without a high school education.
Thomas Edison was the founder of one of the most influential and important electrical companies in the world, General Electric. Not only did he never attend college, he never attended school at all. Thomas Edison was entirely self-educated and was worth $12 million. That would be $170 million in today's money.
How much was the founder of Chanel worth? $5.2 billion. Not bad for someone who became an orphan and learned how to sew from a nun, right?
The Ford Motor Company can be held responsible for bringing the age of the automobile to the world. At the age of 16, Henry left his family farm and became one of the world's most famous and wealthy people. How wealthy? The Ford Motor Company is now worth $200 billion.
The Oracle Corporation is one of the largest software companies in the world, coming in second only to Microsoft. Larry overcame some incredible odds to build this business, being told by his adoptive father that he wasn't worth anything and would never amount to much. $56 billion later, you can only imagine that man is eating crow.
Sheldon dropped out of New York's City College and built the Venetian Hotel and Sands Casino, now worth over $28 billion. His bold decision helped him hit the jackpot. Given his wealth, it's unsurprising that he donates massive sums of money to the Republican party.
Another visitor from the fashion industry, Giorgio Armani, dropped out of medical school to become a fashion designer. The fact that he had a terrible fear of blood played a significant role in that as well. Now he's worth over $5 billion.
Harold Hamm is easily one of the finest examples of the American Dream in action. Harold started his career pumping gas, and years later, is now the owner of Continental Resources, an oil company worth $9.3 billion. He never went to college, but he did manage to graduate from high school.
Everyone remembers the commercials that held that iconic line "Dude, you're getting a Dell," but how many of us know that Michael Dell, the founder, was worth a cool $54.9 billion? He dropped out of college at the age of 19 and started Dell with only $1000 to his name.
Paul Allen is one of the major players in Microsoft, and like its founder, he dropped out of college to pursue his business. Now he's worth $19 billion! How's that for a college dropout? Like most of those who made it rich this way, he's a huge philanthropist.
You've heard of Dreamworks, one of the biggest film companies to come out of the industry since Disney? You probably haven't heard that David Geffen barely graduated high school and dropped out of Brooklyn College due to his struggles with dyslexia. His $6 billion company now donates regularly to schools to aid in education.
You've heard of Beanie Babies. Of course, you have. It was all started by an actor who recognized he wasn't terrific and began making toys rather than torturing us with his continued attempts at fame. $2.4 billion later, Ty Inc.'s toys are some of the most sought-after items. All of this on just a high school education.
The name John Paul DeJoria is not familiar to most of us. He's part of the incredible Paul Mitchell Hair Products company, and he rose from being homeless to being worth over $3.1 billion with little more than a high school education.
Coca-Cola is a fantastic drink and has played an important role both culturally and philanthropically all over the world. Would you be surprised to learn it was started by a man who dropped out of school at the age of 10 and is a company now worth $146 billion?
He graduated high school and went on to build a fortune worth $5.8 billion. David Green is a deeply religious person who donates a large portion of his wealth to church causes.
You may not have heard of Philip Green or his company, the UK Based Arcadia Group, but he's worth $5.2 billion and dropped out of school at the tender age of 15. He's a philanthropist and a bit of an extravagant fellow as well; his son's Bar Mitzvah cost over $4 million.