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Entrepeneurs who don’t follow the crowd

Photo Illustration: Kayla Stroud/SPECTATOR

Written by Mayah Cantave, College Life Editor

Kanye West, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg—these are just a few big names who started out in college but decided to cut their losses and try a different route.

Many people believe that getting good grades and obtaining a degree are the only steps needed to become successful. But is a formal education really a pre-requisite for succeeding? Is a college degree the only way people can make money? Does having a degree determine how your life is going to end up?

The answer is no.

Earning a degree is beneficial in aiming to become successful but it is not a measure of success. There are many entrepreneurs who have not had much of a formal education but still managed to become great successes. Meet a few entrepreneurs who used their vision instead of following the status quo to become successful.

1. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Michael Dell
These entrepreneurs have been the leaders in the computer technological world. All of these men dropped out of college and still managed to obtain a net worth of over $10 billion.

2. Richard Branson
He is the founder of Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile, Virgin Atlantic Airways and the various other Virgin brands. Not only did he drop out of high school at age 16, he was dyslexic and had bad grades. His net worth is upward of $5.1 billion.

3. Mark Zuckerberg
A name that everyone seems to know. He is the founder of Facebook. At the age of 29, he has a net worth of $13.3 billion. He and his college roommates, launched the website in his dorm at Harvard and dropped out his sophomore year.

4. Kanye West
This successful rapper was enrolled as an English major at Chicago State University. At age 20, he dropped out to release his debut album which he ironically entitled “The College Dropout.” Ever since he has won 21 Grammys and has his own clothing line.

5. Walt Disney
Disney has been household name for decades. Disney dropped out of high school to enlist himself in the Army for WWI. The army rejected him because of his young age so he worked in a Kansas City ad agency where he learned to draw and create cartoons. From there his legacy began.

6. James Cameron
This man is responsible for popular movies such as Avatar, Titanic, Alien, The Terminator, and many other movies. Before he pursued filmmaking, he was a physics student at California State University, Fullerton. He dropped out and worked as a truck driver. He would take breaks from driving trucks, pull over off the side of the road and would work on his screenplays. He found success in 1984 when he wrote and directed the movie Terminator. The rest is history.

7. Rob Kalin
Even though his own name is not very known, his website is. Kalin is the founder of Etsy. He flunked out of high school, and he faked an ID so he could take classes at MIT. His teachers were so impressed they helped him get into NYU. He wanted to create a marketplace where entrepreneurs can sell their products on one website, so he created Etsy.

Having a formal education does not guarantee a job, career, or success. Even though it can help move you in the right direction, it is not a necessity. So when you think you’re failing and have no hope, remember that if these people can make it, you can make it too.


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