5 Successful Millionaires Who Didn’t Go to College

5 Successful Millionaires Who Didn’t Go to College

Many people believe that going to college and earning a degree is a guarantee of success; Or, that failure to do so can be considered an absolute failure.

Previously, if you studied hard and got a good degree, you were assured of a stable and 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 function successfully in the modern world.

Here are the stories of five successful millionaires who started great companies without ever going to college. At the end of the article, we leave you our reflections on these stories.

Stories of millionaires who never went to college

John D. Rockefeller, 

5 Successful Millionaires Who Didn't Go to College

He owned the extraction, refining, transportation, and distribution of more than 90% of America’s oil during the late 19th and much of the 20th century. His colleagues and rivals regarded him as very clever and intelligent, although he dropped out at age 16 to become an accountant for a grain broker and merchant company. There he acquired the experience that led him to become an accountant for large firms in Cleveland, the city where he lived, for 3 years. He came to earn $ 600 annually which, at that time, was a significant amount of money.

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

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

Henry Ford

5 Successful Millionaires Who Didn't Go to College

He was not the inventor of the car, nor did he invent the mass production chain, but he did modernize it, massify it and implement it successfully in his company; thus achieving the Ford Motor Company to take the car to the masses with its successful model T.


Unable to go to university, he began working as a watchmaker at age 15 and later became a machinist’s apprentice. He was always fascinated by machines. He worked performing maintenance on machines at the Westinghouse company and was an engineer at Edison’s company. He experimented with the money and experience he had gained from those companies. He founded two companies that he bankrupted, but which 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 20th century and revolutionized the automotive industry.

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

Walt Disney

5 Successful Millionaires Who Didn't Go to College

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 into a peasant family and during his adolescence, 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 for the red cross. Upon returning, after the end of the war, he would work as a cartoonist and found various companies where he would experiment with animation. He worked tirelessly to create the first animated feature film that allowed him to win an honorary Oscar for such innovation, thus materializing his dream of being a cartoonist and film director.

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It is estimated that he managed to have a fortune of $5 billion in life.

Amancio Ortega

5 Successful Millionaires Who Didn't Go to College

This successful Spanish businessman was the founder of the Inditex textile group, of which the chain of clothing stores Zara is part. He even surpassed Bill Gates as the richest man in the world according to Forbes. He began working as a clerk in well-known clothing stores at the age of 14, after finishing high school. He would work for different companies until he was 27 years old 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 clothing for men, women, and children. Shortly after, he would create a chain of stores that would spread throughout Spain and the world. In addition to the textile industry, he has invested in the real estate and financial business, owns car dealerships, and has managed various investment funds.

He currently has an estimated fortune of $ 73.75 billion.

Richard Branson

5 Successful Millionaires Who Didn't Go to College

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

Thanks to the success of the business, he decided to start a record store that sold the products cheaper and in better condition than other discount or second-hand stores. He was arrested for selling pirated 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 find an airline. Currently, its Virgin brand owns 360 companies that make up the well-known Virgin Group, including a telephone company and a company dedicated to conducting 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 his business policies very simple.

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Today he enjoys a fortune of $ 7.74 billion according to Forbes.

Reflections: Can You Be Successful Without Going to College?

Without a doubt, all these stories are very inspiring, but we want to share with you 3 important thoughts about them:

  • First of all, each of these entrepreneurs makes it clear to us that, to be successful, more than a good title, you need courage, character, vision, discipline, and determination.
  • Second, we must clarify that from the list of the richest and most successful people in the world according to different specialized media, many are those who have attended university. So whether you go to college or not does not necessarily determine your business and financial success.
  • And third, keep in mind that while the entrepreneurs on this list never went to college, it doesn’t mean they weren’t constant learners. They developed on their own the knowledge and skills that allowed them to build great companies; therefore, not going to university is not synonymous with stopping learning.

It should be clarified that, with this video, we do not want to encourage them not to attend university or to abandon their studies. We are faithful 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, as long as you work with determination and intelligence for your ideas.

If you know of any other millionaires who have never been to college, let us know in the comments.


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