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6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Last updated on: June 17, 2014 14:10 IST

Image: Mukesh Ambani (R), chairman of Reliance Industries, poses with wife Nita before a news conference in Mumbai.
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

Think about some of the most successful and wealthy people in the world. Chances are you might name Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Mukesh Ambani.

Other than possession of great wealth, one thing common to all of them - the four business leaders are college dropouts.

Let’s take a look at billionaires globally who left their studies incomplete and still managed to make it big.

Surprisingly, there are many wealthy Indians, who made is big despite not having a formal degree.

The list only includes people who are alive.

Source: Forbes & Wikipedia

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Image: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates attends the Allen & Co Media Conference.
Photographs: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

Bill Gates

Country: US

Global Rank: 2

Networth: $67 billion

Age: 57

Source of wealth: Microsoft

At age 17, Gates formed a venture with Paul Allen, called Traf-O-Data, to make traffic counters based on the Intel 8008 processor.

Around the same time he went to Harvard College but later dropped out to focus on his business.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Image: Spain's Princess Letizia (R) stands next to chairman of Spanish global fashion giant Inditex, Amancio Ortega, during a visit to an Inditex factory in Coruna, northern Spain.
Photographs: Miguel Vidal/Reuters

Amancio Ortega

Country: Spain

Global rank: 3

Networth: $57 billion

Age: 77

Source of wealth: Zara

Amancio Ortega is the founder of the Zara stores, the famous clothing retail chain. Barely in his teens, Ortega started working for a local shirtmaker called Gala.

In 1972, when he was 36, he founded Confecciones Goa, selling quilted bathrobes which Ortega produced using thousands of local women by organising them into sewing cooperatives, according to Wikipedia. In 1975, he opened his first Zara store.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Image: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Nikita Kahn arrive as guests for the premiere of the new film "Star Trek Into Darkness" in Hollywood.
Photographs: Fred Prouser/Reuters

Lawrence Ellison

Country: US

Global Rank: 5

Networth: $43 billion

Age: 69

Source of wealth: Oracle

Ellison was a bright student. He left his studies (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) when his adoptive mother died.

After spending a summer in Northern California, Ellison attended the University of Chicago for just one term, where he first encountered computer design, according to Wikipedia.

After working for few companies, he went to form a company called Software Development Laboratories (now Oracle) with his former colleagues Bob Miner and Ed Oates.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Image: Las Vegas Sands Corp Chairman and Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson is accompanied by his wife Miriam (R) as he enters the courtroom after a break at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas.
Photographs: Steve Marcus/Reuters

Sheldon Adelson

Country: US

Global Rank: 15

Networth: $26.5 billion

Age: 80

Source of wealth: Casinos

He is the Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation - one of the biggest casino and resort companies in the world.

He began selling newspapers at the age of 12 and started a candy-vending-machine business at the age of 16. Adelson attended City College of New York, but dropped out.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Image: Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Limited, poses with his mother Kokilaben Ambani (L), wife Nita Ambani (C) and daughter Isha Ambani (R) before addressing the annual shareholders meeting in Mumbai.
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Mukesh Ambani

Country: India

Global Rank: 22

Networth: $21.5 billion

Source of wealth: Petrochemicals, oil & gas

Age: 56

After completing his Chemical Engineering from Mumbai, Mukesh Ambani went to Stanford University but dropped out.

His father, Dhirubhai Ambani, got a license to set up a polyester plant, which was very crucial to the business. He asked his elder son to drop out and help him set up the manufacturing site.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Image: Michael Dell Chairman and CEO of Dell Inc. arrives at the launch event of Windows 8 operating system in New York.
Photographs: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Michael Dell

Country: US

Global Rank: 49

Networth: $15.3 billion

Age: 48

Source of wealth: Dell

Michael Dell dropped out of The University of Texas at Austin. While a freshman pre-med student, Dell started an informal business putting together and selling upgrade kits for personal computers.

This informal business grew by leaps and bounds and he decided to quit his studies. The company, Dell Computer, came into existence when he was about 19.

Dell has been the youngest CEO to have his company ranked in Fortune magazine's list of the top 500 corporations. He was barely 27 then.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Image: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walks at the annual Allen and Co. conference at the Sun Valley.
Photographs: Rick Wilking/Reuters

Mark Zuckerberg

Country: US

Global Rank: 66

Networth: $13.3 billion

Age: 29

Source of wealth: Facebook

Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard in his sophomore year to build Facebook. By the time he began classes at Harvard, Zuckerberg had already achieved a reputation as a programming prodigy. He studied psychology and computer science.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Image: Eike Batista, Chairman and CEO of EBX Group speaks at a dinner panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California.
Photographs: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Eike Batista

Country: Brazil

Global Rank: 100

Networth: $10.6 billion

Age: 56

Source of wealth: Mining, oil

At the age of 18, Eike Batista began to study metallurgical engineering at the University of Aachen in Germany. Around the same time, his parents returned to Brazil from Germany.

Batista chose to remain in Germany and started selling insurance policies door-to-door to make a living. His business took off once he returned to Brazil in the 1980s to focus on gold and diamond trades.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Image: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich watches the players do a lap of honour after their English Premier League soccer match against Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge in London.
Photographs: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Roman Abramovich

Country: Russia

Global Rank: 107

Networth: $10.2 billion

Age: 46

Source of wealth: Steel, investments

The Russian business tycoon is better known for as the owner of Chelsea Football Club.

Abramovich dropped out of college to join the Russian army. He made a fortune in oil exports in early 1990s.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Image: In the inset: Micky Jagtiani.
Photographs: Courtesy, Landmark Group

Micky Jagtiani

Country: India

Global Rank: 329

Networth: $4 billion

Age: 61

Source of wealth: Retail

Micky Jagtiani is the owner of multinational retail chain the Landmark Group. He owns retail chains such as Lifestyle Stores, Home Centre Stores and Splash (Fashion).

After his education in Madras, Mumbai and Beirut, his family emigrated to London, where he joined an accounting school but later dropped out.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Photographs: Courtesy, Adani Enterprise

Gautam Adani

Country: India

Global Rank: 437

Networth: $3.1 billion

Age: 51

Source of wealth: Commodities, infrastructure

Adani was doing a bachelor’s in Commerce from Gujarat University but had to drop because of family’s financial problems.

He started out as a diamond sorter in Mumbai and later went back to Gujarat to help his brother in plastic business. He progressed to trading in Polyvinyl Chloride and never looked back thereafter.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Photographs: Courtesy, Ty Inc.

Ty Warner

Country: US

Global Rank: 589

Networth: $2.5 billion

Age: 69

Source of wealth: Beanie Babies

Ty Warner is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Ty Inc, which manufactures and distributes toys. His famous toys include Beanie Boos, Beanie Ballz, Monstaz, Beanie Babies, and LI'L Ones.

Warner attended Kalamazoo College in Michigan but dropped out after a year to pursue a career in acting, which never took off.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Photographs: Reuters

Subhash Chandra

Country: India

Global Rank: 613

Networth: $2.4 billion

Age: 62

Source of wealth: Media

The Media Moghul revolutionised the television industry by launching the country’s first satellite television channel Zee TV. He quit studies after completing 12th standard, that is, high school. He started his first business of vegetable oil at the age of 19.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Image: In the inset: Joy Alukkas.
Photographs: Courtesy, Joy Alukkas

Joy Alukkas

Country: India

Global Rank: 1342

Networth: $1 billion

Age: 56

Source of wealth: Jewellery

Joy Alukkas is an Indian entrepreneur, who owns a gold and diamond retail jewellery chain across nine countries.

This successful entrepreneur, quit studies to join his father shop and worked there as a salesperson.

6 Indians among college-dropout billionaires

Image: In the inset: Nirav Modi.
Photographs: Courtesy, Nirav Modi

Nirav Modi

Country: India

Global Rank: 1342

Networth: $1 billion

Age: 42

Nirav Modi is a third generation diamantaire and jeweller. The little know businessperson came to the limelight when a necklace he created, with a rare 12.29 carat Golconda diamond, was sold at Christie's for $3.56 million.

Modi grew up in Belgium and quit his studies (at Wharton) to work with his uncle in diamond trade in India.