Super Rich List: 20 Entrepreneurs with No Degrees

Who says you need to have doctor’s degrees, business qualifications or higher education to succeed in life to secure a place in the rich list?

If we look at history, several successful entrepreneurs never attended any formal education in their field of businesses — something else had them going on. Some see education as a time to get into debt, whereas many young entrepreneurs see being young and inexperienced as an advantage.

The majority of the richest persons on earth have nothing to their name other than life’s experience and hard work that gained them their riches. Take a look at our interesting list of entrepreneurs, investors, inventors and many more sectors to name a few.

1. Richard Branson – Virgin Media

Despite being dyslexic, Branson started his first business at the age of 16. He now owns over 400 companies under the Virgin Group with an estimated net worth of $4.2 billion.

2. Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook

Harvard drop out and co-founder of Facebook. In 2010, Zuckerberg was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year”. At the mere age of 27, he was already worth $17.5 billion.

3. Lord Alan Sugar – Amstrad

Star of the UK version of the The Apprentice. Sugar founded the electronic company under the acronym ‘Amstrad’ (Alan Michael Sugar Trading) which he sold in 2007 for £125 million. He owns several companies, including Amsair and Amsprop resulting in a personal net worth of £770 million.

4. Duncan Bannatyne – Bannatyne Group

A British entrepreneur with business interests in hotels, spas, health clubs, media, property and writing. Bannatyne claims he did not have a bank account until the age of 30 having spent half of his life with almost no money. However, he is now estimated to be worth £430 million.

5. Frederick Henry Royce – Rolls-Royce

Born in 1863, the co-founder of Rolls-Royce was originally a paper boy. The company was founded in 1906 and was privatised in 1987 as Rolls-Royce plc. Royce earned an average salary of £1,250 per annum; a measly sum in comparison to the millions the company now makes.

6. Ingvar Kamprad – IKEA

Swedish founder of IKEA in 1943. The acronym ‘IKEA’ is made from the initials of his name ‘Ingvar Kamprad’, followed by the name of his family farm ‘Elmtaryd’ and ‘Agunnaryd’ a nearby village. At the age of 85, he is worth $6 billion.

7. Michael Dell – Dell Computers

CEO of Dell. Born to a well-off family, as a young boy Dell dismantled his first computer in his garage. He started his own business upgrading computers whilst studying as a pre-med student. He later dropped out of university and in 1996 began trading via the internet. Dell holds an estimated net worth of $15 billion.

8. Sir Philip Green – Arcadia Group

British business man and owner of the Arcadia group. Having inherited his family business at the age of 12, he went on to leave school 3 years later to work for a shoe importer. He has since bought and sold various British retailers resulting in a personal net worth of £4.2 billion.

9. Simon Cowell – Music

The British music and media mogul known as the ‘nasty’ judge has shot to fame on the British and US hit TV show The X Factor. As an A&R executive and television star, he has an estimated fortune of £200 million.

10. Bill Gates – Microsoft

Co-founder of Microsoft in 1975 and a Harvard drop out. Formerly a CEO, he now remains the largest individual shareholder with an estimated net worth of $59 billion.

11. Steve Jobs – Apple

Pioneer of the computer revolution as co-founder of Apple Inc and a former chief executive of Pixar Studios. Jobs was fired from Apple in 1985 but later returned as CEO in 1997. His return to the company revolutionized the future of Apple and the computer industry leaving him with a net worth of $7 billion.

12. Coco Chanel – Fashion

Founder of one of the most famous fashion brands Chanel. Rumoured to be a Nazi spy and a seamstress, she concocted a fabricated history to mask her humble upbringing which added allure to her persona. Through networking and sheer talent, she created a multi-billion dollar business.

13. Giorgio Armani – Fashion


The founder and pioneer of clean, tailored lines most notable in his menswear collections. With no degrees he formed Armani in 1975, by 2001 it was acclaimed as the best fashion designer to come out of Italy, along with a personal fortune of $7 billion.

14. Asa Candler – Coca-Cola


Born 1929, founded what probably is one of your favourite drinks – Coca Cola. Buying the special formula for $2,300 and combining it with hi strategic skills, Chandler made the drink the success it is today.

15. Ralph Lauren – Fashion


I’m sure you have heard of the brand Ralph Lauren, founded in 1967 originally as a necktie store under the label “Polo”. Due to his clothing lines success, his personal wealth is estimated at $11.9 billion dollars which makes him the 173rd richest person in the world.

16. Ruth Handler – Barbie


Born in 1916, an American businesswoman, best remembered for inventing the Barbie doll toy and marketing the product along with becoming the president of the toy manufacturer Mattel Inc.

17. Sean Quinn – Quinn Group


One of Northern Ireland’s most respected businessman with an extraordinary story, with only a £100 loan he made his fortune of up to £6 billion, even though he left school unable to read or write. However things turned sour, a 25% stake he had in Anglo-Irish Bank Investment dropped in value causing him to claim bankruptcy 2 years later. I doubt this is the last time we see or hear from Mr Quinn.

18. David Karp – Tumbler


Young entrepreneur founded and CEO of Tumblr, which launched in early 2007. To date he has been named in the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35 by MIT Technology Review TR35.

19. Dave Thomas – Wendys


Fast-food tycoon Dave Thomas founded his first fast-food restaurant in 1969 and appearing in over 800 commercial advertisements for the chain, more than any other person in television history.

20. Dov Charney – American Apparel


Charney dropped out from Tufts University in 1990 to pursue business ventures. Building his retail clothing brand from the ground with a $1,000 loan from his father, soon garnishing awards such as Ernst & Young’s Entreprenuer Award of the Year and Apparel Magazine’s Man of the Year, Charney has done pretty well with no formal education.

You Tell Us: Is education necessary to secure a place in the rich list?


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John Alexander is an article writer for various men's underwear blogs. He also provides marketing for Calvin Klein Underwear part time and enjoys long walks on days off or reading books.


  1. Peter on the 2nd March

    Great post! I only miss Sean Parker 🙂

  2. Paul on the 3rd March

    I think out of all of these you have to be inspired by Richard Branson story.

    Started with nothing, had his ups and downs but keeps going and comes out on top.

    • Amy Nievera on the 4th March

      That’s why he’s #1. 😉

  3. Solima on the 6th March

    No.6 Ingvar Kamprad, isn’t he swedish?

    • Pooja Lohana on the 6th March

      He is. Thanks for pointing the blooper out Solima!


  4. Pixelbas on the 26th March

    Great post, very interesting it could be the inspiration that has become a scholar as well

  5. Azad Shaikh on the 4th April

    I think education is not necessary for success but it does helps. So if you have time to get an education degree, you should get it.

  6. Bea on the 25th September

    Great article, but regarding #14. [ Asa Candler – Coca-Cola], it said in the piece that he founded Coke & was born in 1929. I thought Coke came from the 1890’s or somewhere in there. But either way, I’m going to have some Coke right now!

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