The richest college dropout in the world is also one of the most renowned. At number two in the world's richest rankings and with the net worth of $56 billion, Bill Gates is a household name. He was the world's richest person from 1995 to 2007 and again in 2009, unsurprising when you consider how ubiquitous Microsoft products are in homes and businesses across the world. Gates enrolled in Harvard as a pre-law major in 1973, except kept up the computer programming he had begun in 8th grade. It was these extracurricular activities that made him his fortune after release of microcomputer design the Altair 8800 computer prompted him to set up a software company with Paul Allen. In 1975, he took a leave of absence from his studies at Harvard, only to return for an honorary degree in 2007.
The death of his adoptive mother prompted Larry Ellison to drop out of his second year at University of Illinois. He after that spent a single term at University of Chicago before dropping out again and moving to California in 1964. These two attempts at college certainly were not signs of a lack of determination although. In 1977 he founded company that would become Oracle, a software firm specializing in data systems. His abandonment of academia to move to California put him at the heart of software and computer innovation, move that has led to him amassing a fortune of $39.5 billion as of 2011, making him the 5th richest person in world.
The son of a Brazilian mining executive, Eike Batista spent much of his childhood in Germany and studied engineering in Aachen University. Though, before completing his degree, he started a gold mining company in the Amazon in 1980 a move that took the shine off his educational record but would soon fill his pockets. In 2000, he sold his share of company for a cool $1 billion; other than he did not rest on his laurels, in its place investing these funds into further mining ventures and oil and gas exploration. His business sense and ability to take benefit of market trends have allowed him to amass $30 billion in personal wealth, making him the 8th wealthiest individual alive and giving him the number one spot in Brazil.
Azim Premji managed to skyrocket the Indian IT company Wipro Ltd. from a worth of $2.5 million to one that is now valued at $1.4 billion. His 78 percent stake in Wipro along with other investments have generated him a personal worth of $16.8 billion, making him 36th on the world rich list. He took over the family business, that later became Wipro, after his father died in 1966. This unexpected tragedy meant he had to leave his course in electrical engineering at Stanford University. Azim Premji is nothing if not persistent, though, and he completed the degree 30 years later.
Mark Zuckerberg became the youngest self-made billionaire in the world and, with $13.5 billion in his pocket, the 52nd richest person on planet. As immortalized in the Hollywood movie The Social Network, he dropped out of Harvard, where he studied psychology and computer science, to head west to California, overseeing the rise of the social media phenomenon that is Facebook. Although Facebook was at first targeted at a college market, it was by dropping out and seeking venture capital that Zuckerberg gained such huge success.
It is clear that Michael Dell valued education only as a route to business success. At the age of just 8, he applied to take a high school equivalency test so that he might enter business sooner. What is more, as attending high school he invested money from part time jobs in stock market and successfully targeted newlyweds for newspaper subscriptions as working for the Houston Post, such that he made $18,000 that year more than his teacher's salaries. As a pre-med at the University of Texas at Austin, he founded company that would become Dell. Unsurprisingly, he never completed his studies, other than now has a personal wealth of $14.6 billion, making him the world's 44th richest person. 'Nuff said.