These top tech billionaires dropped out of university and were still a success

For this blog I will be discussing my personally selected top five tech entrepreneurs who dropped out of university and then went on to become some of the most universally successful people.

I realise that this blog is a bit late to catch the public’s eye, but I am seeing many students and a lot of the press still commenting on the high tuition fees in the UK.  The general conception today that many people seem to hold is that not attending university will mean you have no chance of being a success, regardless of the fact that some of the most successful people in the world do not have degrees or diplomas.

A bit of History

In 2010 ex-Prime Minister Gordon Browne drew up a report, which was published the 12th October 2010 on proposals to remove the cap on tuition fees. The resulting debate on the proposals sparked protests from students opposed to any rise in tuition fees. Despite these protests the government won a vote in the House of Commons that resulted in universities being able to charge students up to £9,000 a year for their annual tuition fees. Sixty four universities announced their intention to charge the full £9,000 allowed by the government from 2012.

On the 10th of November 2010 the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union (UCU) held demonstrations in London. Arriving from all regions of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, approximately 30,000 to 52,000 protesters attended the demonstration. Further protests were held on the 24th and 30th of November, and the 9th of December, with students holding rallies and occupying government and university buildings. Organisers said that most of the protests were peaceful, but sporadic acts of violence and vandalism were reported by authorities; protesters and police officers alike were injured, and in some cases hospitalised. In one incident, a motorcade carrying their Royal Highnesses Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was attacked on Regent Street, which almost resulted in bodyguards drawing their weapons.

My Humble View

I strongly believe we all have the right to an education, but simultaneously I feel that once an individual reaches working age, but continues to pursue further education (and values what this process can do in the long term), then the educational fee’s are something that individual(s) should pay for.

Students that are paying a great deal of money for their education are far more likely not to take their degree for granted.  When a university charges more, the average student finds it harder to simply coast due to the risen prices.  Furthermore, students that lack motivation and prefer the more casual, fun side of university life are more likely to attend a cheaper university. This creates an atmosphere for the more expensive universities by which everyone is working hard, resulting in a more all round prestigious school in the end. This results in students valuing the degree they’ve obtained and the experience of their education. For far too long students have been using their time at university to drink, have fun and indulge in the care free party lifestyle often associated with students. I’m not stating that students shouldn’t have any down time, but when you have intelligent young adults coming out of universities with 2:2’s and 3rds, then you can pretty much guarantee they’ve pissed their time, education and money up the wall. It’s these particular students that devalue university education for others and contribute to the negative stereotype that students have.

It’s about you not a piece of paper

Success is about the limitations we as human beings place on ourselves.  Having a university degree doesn’t guarantees success or happiness, nor does skipping out on further education result in failure.  We as individuals allow society to influence our beliefs on what we can, and most often cannot do, yet the tech geniuses below didn’t absorb these negative limitations or allow society to bully them into conforming to societal expectations. Whether you have a degree or not you control your destiny, not society.

Now for the success stories:

Bill Gates

£35.8 Billion 


 Education: Dropped out of Harvard

Success: Co-Founder of Microsoft

Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational software corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services related to computing. The company was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975. Microsoft is the world’s largest software maker measured by revenues and it is also one of the world’s most valuable companies.

Larry Ellison

£25.3 Billion


 Education: Dropped out of University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana

Success: Founder of Oracle

Oracle Corporation is an American multinational computer technology corporation headquartered in Redwood City, California, The United States. The company specializes in developing and marketing computer hardware systems and enterprise software products – particularly its own brands of database management systems. Oracle is the third-largest software maker by revenue, after Microsoft and IBM.

Michael Dell

£9.3 Billion


Education: Dropped out of University Of Texas, Austin

Success: Founder of Dell Computers

Dell Inc. (formerly Dell Computer) is an American multinational computer technology corporation based in Round Rock, Texas, United States, that develops, sells, repairs and supports computers and related products and services. Bearing the name of its founder, Michael Dell, the company is one of the largest technological corporations in the world, employing more than 103,300 people worldwide. Dell is listed at number 44 in the Fortune 500 list. It is the third largest PC vendor in the world after HP and Lenovo.

Mark Zuckerberg

£8.6 Billion


Education: Dropped out of Harvard

Success: Founder of Facebook

Facebook is a social networking service launched in February 2004, owned and operated by Facebook, Inc. As of September 2012, Facebook has over one billion active users, more than half of whom use Facebook on a mobile device. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.

Steve Jobs (R.I.P)

£5.3 Billion


Education: Dropped out of Reed College

Success: Founder of Apple Inc

Apple Inc., formerly Apple Computer, Inc., is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Cupertino, California that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software and personal computers. Its best-known hardware products are the Mac line of computers, the iPod music player, the iPhone smartphone, and the iPad tablet computer. Its software includes the OS X and iOS operating systems, the iTunes media browser, the Safari web browser, and the iLife and iWork creativity and production suites. The company was founded on April 1, 1976, and incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc. on January 3, 1977. The word “Computer” was removed from its name on January 9, 2007, reflecting its shifted focus towards consumer electronics after the introduction of the iPhone.