5 successful entrepreneurs without a college degree

Most successful people in the world of business have at least one college degree. Here are some exceptions.

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Mar 7, 2014 8:24PM

One big reason college grads earn so much more is that people without degrees are relegated to the lowest paid positions.  That is because most people (especially college grads), are actually brainwashed throughout the public education process to believe those with degrees are smarter than those without.  Most smart people will make the decision to go to college, but some don't.  Its unfortunate that those who don't are held back in the corporate world unless they pay tens of thousands of dollars and sacrifice years of time to jump through hoops.  In the end, you obtain a paper that says you went through this mostly pointless process.

Mar 13, 2014 3:13AM
Show me what degree can make you a millionaire and I'll go back to school. 
Mar 13, 2014 7:18AM
I'm a non-degreed engineer with 30 years experience but I would never recommend my career path to anyone. I've had to pay dearly to prove my worth in the corporate world because primarily of my lack of education (I have tech school and some college), not performance. The difference now 30 years later comes down to opportunity, you simply will not get these opportunities without a degree in most companies, doesn't matter how smart or innovative that you are. If you don't have a degree, by all means start your own business, but forget the the corporate world unless you can buy one.
Mar 7, 2014 9:29PM
If you wish to work and can do things well with your hands a trade might make you wealthier quicker than a 4 year General Education.... 
Mar 13, 2014 4:27AM
and then look at them thar Kardashians I don't think they ever went to school.If they stand in the right position in the wind their head whistles.
Mar 13, 2014 8:00AM
Someone with a college degree is not guaranteed success anymore than someone without one.
Mar 13, 2014 8:29AM
It seems personal experience is driving the conversation today.So here is mine.Ten nephews and nieces  4 with bachelor degrees or better. 3 of them making 75k or more. one a teacher who likes his job but making less. 6 with some or no college. 2 full time employed making about 30 k and four still living in moms basement playing video games .And all over the age of 25 some 35. So if you are ambitious  and or mechanically inclined. savvy etc fine. college may not be for you. But if you are borderline then maybe working and getting your gen eds at a junior college is right for you. But above all do SOMETHING!
Mar 7, 2014 9:22PM
You have to be an entrepreneur if you don't have a brand name ridiculously costly degree or two or six. There's a job blockade in play, orchestrated by colluding alumni. What do you think Linked-In and Twitter are all about? People with degrees in Business, Finance, Administration, Management and all the fields that used to have entry-levels and on-the-job training through experience, now manipulate who gets a career. Why do you think we need QE and the economy is STILL failing? It's because our WORST warm those office seats. Our BEST were mass terminated in 2007-08. Validation exists. We literally stopped being a Super Power or prosperous when deadbeat click cliquing alumni took the nation by paper and button pushing. As a result, we are nearly $20 Trillion in National Debt, $750 Trillion in derivative debt and owe the lion's share on more than $2 Quadrillion in global debt. Global doesn't work. Tech doesn't work. Alumni don't work... they scam. The nation's ruined. We will never recover. Alumni can't do labor and it's only a matter of time until fiat money printing dilutes our currency and us out of existence. College- rah.
Mar 7, 2014 11:20PM
Gates dropped out of Harvard having already attained the equivalent of a college education through great private schools and wealthy parents.  Rachael Ray grew up in a family-owned restaurant and got her first TV show due to looks.  She was managed into her present show, she wasn't an "entrepreneur" herself.  Richard Branson came from a family of wealthy lawyers and judges.

There are surely many better examples of entrepreneurs who are not well educated.  But to suggest you should try to become an entrepreneur without trying to get the best education possible is beyond ridiculous except in cases where you realize there's an opportunity where you must strike while the iron is hot.

Mar 13, 2014 10:00AM

Discriminating against someone because they don't hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree is just wrong!  Many businesses have adopted the mantra that  if you don't have a BS, and it doesn't matter if it's in underwater BB stacking, you aren't promotable. 


And, I have observed and had it happen to myself, the mature, skilled craftsman be passed over promotion but expected to be the one who's 'stuck' training some know-it-all freshly graduated from college person how to do the job so that college kid can become their boss.


I have always been an advocate of Trade Schools and Vocational Technical Schools.  Those schools take real skill and intelligence to accomplish some of the incredibly hard courses and ecucation that is needed to do every day things we take granted like  carpentry, mechanics, truck driving, plumbing.  I've read article after article lately how America and other countries are 'losing skilled trades people.'  Why?  Because if you don't hold a BS in 'something' you're treated like less of a person.  It's become this push from Kindergarten up through high school that if you don't go to college 'you 'ain't nothin'.


I have an IQ of 157, (been tested several times).  There isn't anything I can't do if I put my mind to it.  Just tell me about it or hand me a manual and I'll figure it out; mechanics, electrical, plumbing, woodworking, you name it.   I have my teaching certificates for adult education in a vocational technical institutues.  I went back to college in my late 50's (again).  I am two classes short of my Associates degree in science, which I'll finish soon, holding a 4.0 GPA.  Yet I've had people, young people especially, who will look me in the eye and tell me I'm not as good as or smart as they are even if they barely passed their college classes.


So, what's the take home message here?  It's time to quit putting people down who don't hold a college degrees and praise folks for learning the trades instead treating them as equals.  Equally intelligent, equally capable, and as equal peers.  Just because you haven't attended college and gone into higher learning means you aren't smart or capable or caring or able to do a particular job.


Oh, and did I mention that I'm a woman?


Read about William (Bill) Lear.  He was an incredible man.   He was kicked out of both high school and college because he was smarter than most.  Yet he built a financial empire with incredible inventions such as the Lear Jet and 8-track tapes.


Mar 10, 2014 11:24AM
I know a few who never walked inside a college classroom and are making upward of $50,000 + a year. I have worked in the civil service and have a two year degree and enough credits to almost have a four year degree. None of that has helped me much. But, I have worked around some who make more than I do and never went to college. Only government and civil service careers offer that kind of salary and benefits with a pension plan. All you do is take exams and move on up the ladder. It may take some years but, it can be done. Some health related fields only require a two year degree. So why should someone waste their time on a four year degree that may not help them as much and end of owing thousands and thousands of dollars on a loan that will take you over ten years or more to pay off? What is the common sense behind that? Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth or is involved in a well to do family business, you have to make wiser choices to make it in this world nowadays.
Mar 13, 2014 7:50AM
Years ago my uncle and some business partners bought a large American company and not only did he not have a college degree, he never even graduated from high school. But he had drive, ambition and diligently worked his way up from the bottom learning and paying attention all the way up. So in some circumstances, it can be done.
Mar 13, 2014 10:09AM
On a job my sister was at, she was coming up with ideas and was doing some of the same work as others there that had a college degree and were in a higher up position with the company. A couple of them didn't like it...and had complained to management about "listening to the people who were just on an hourly wage". They thought that there was no purpose for "hourly wage people" and if you didnt go to college you were worthless. They were pissed off because someone knew more than their "college degree" did. There is a difference in getting an education....and ending up with a "stuffed shirt" who thinks highly of themselves.
Mar 13, 2014 7:28AM
There is no one size fits all. Sure there are a lot of useless degrees.And sometimes there are useless people with good degrees who just don't have any drive or ambition. if you do have the drive and desire to be a doctor .engineer .lawyer etc. You are not getting there without a degree because having a connection is not going to get you there.
Mar 13, 2014 10:23AM
The whole idea of having a college degree in America as the only way to have a successful life is a huge fraud. Only the universities and professors, along with sport coaches truly are successful. And they don't give a crap about the kids. Not one bit!  So much better to go to a trade school for a year or two. And you won't be living your life trying unsuccessfully to get out from a huge debt that will linger over you for a long, long time.
Mar 7, 2014 10:38PM
These are a few that have succeeded in business without a college degree. I don't think this is the norm in the real world speaking from my own personal experiences.  
Mar 7, 2014 7:50PM
I know people who never finished high school and have been very successful.  I know others who have college degrees and can't find a job.  We all know those.   I used to say "get an education: Nobody can take that away from you."  I hope to never tell anyone that again.   The legal drug lords can take your mind and your memory from you.  And, they do it before you know.  Whitecoats put you on pills.  They cause side effects.  More pills, more side effects.  Memory loss.  The "ask your doctor" ads are working.  Why people cannot see that, I don't know.  Think of it this way.  It must cost millions daily to air "ask your doctor' ads.   If the legal drug lords were losing money, they would pull the ads.  I think there is a CONspriacy between the FDA, Legal Drug Lords and CONgress.
Mar 13, 2014 9:29AM
I had to quit before I graduated to help take care of family, I completed my high school in military and received my degree after I left the military, It can be done but it is not easy . Good luck all.
Mar 13, 2014 3:56AM
When I started my MBA one of our Teachers said that (we study and analyse what Entrepreneur do by nature and make them successful and rich) ,

Mar 13, 2014 11:10AM

What I do (and make a very good living), you CAN'T learn in school.

A degree tells someone "I know it". Talent shows someone "I can do it".

And in my world, actions speak louder than words (or print).

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