Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group, which is made up of over 400 different companies. He dropped out of high school at age 16, and by 22, he founded Virgin Records. Branson is now worth around five billion dollars.
Larry Ellison is worth over 56 billion dollars, which makes him the fifth richest person in the world. He was the CEO of the Oracle Corporation from 1977-2014...and he achieved it all after dropping out of college during his sophomore year.
Rachael Ray has no formal culinary training or college degree, but has parlayed her ability to distill cooking down to its essence into a multi-media empire. Since dropping out of Pace University, her estimated net worth is over 60 million dollars.
David Karp is the founder and CEO of Tumblr. He dropped out of high school at age 15 to devote himself full time to his ambitions. He founded Tumblr at age 20 and is currently worth over 200 million dollars.
Russell Simmons graduated from high school in 1975. He briefly attended college before dropping out to pursue his interest in an up and coming style of music known as hip hop. He went on to co-found Def Jam records and bring hip hop to the masses. He is worth over 340 million dollars today.
Elizabeth Holmes is the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. She dropped out of Stanford to found Theranos, a health technology company and at age 31, is worth over 4.6 billion dollars, in addition to holding 18 US patents on various inventions.
Steve Jobs briefly attended Oregon's Reed College in the early 1970s. After deciding to drop out, he continued to audit classes for his personal benefit, including a calligraphy class which would go on to shape the Apple aesthetic.
Jobs of course went on to found Apple and, at the time of his passing, was worth over eight billion dollars.
David Geffen dropped out of not one, but two different colleges in the early 1960s. He then moved to Los Angeles and got his start in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency. He is the founder of Dreamworks (along with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg) and Asylum records, and is worth over six billion dollars.
Debbi Fields was a 21-year-old mother with no business experience when she founded the cookie company that bears her name in 1977. Mrs. Fields Cookies have since expanded throughout the world, making Debbi worth over 60 million dollars today.
Quentin Tarantino dropped out of high school at age 15, in order to pursue an acting class. He later worked as a video store clerk, using this time to educate himself about film. In the 1980s he met his future colleague Lawrence Bender, who encouraged him to write a screenplay. Tarantino has since won two Oscars and is said to have a net worth of anywhere from 100-300 million dollars.
Oprah Winfrey attended Tennessee State University but left before graduating to host a television chat show in Baltimore. She continued to host various shows until the launch of her own talk show in 1986, which made her a millionaire. She is currently worth over three billion dollars, and eventually went back to school to finish her degree.
Fashion designer Ralph Lauren dropped out of college in his sophomore year. He worked for as a salesman for a tie company and was inspired to submit his own designs (which were rejected by his bosses.) So, he decided to sell the ties himself, which was the start of his own business. He is currently worth over seven billion dollars.
Mary Kay Ash planned to start Mary Kay Cosmetics with her husband in 1963, but he passed away unexpectedly. Undeterred, she recruited her son to be her business partner and built an empire. Despite no college degree or formal business training, Mary Kay was worth nearly 100 million dollars when she passed away in 2001.
Madam C.J. Walker's story is the stuff inspiring movies are made of. She was born to parents who had been slaves and was orphaned at the age of seven. She married at 14, but her husband died when she was 20, leaving her alone with a 2-year-old daughter.
Walker got a job as a hair washer and, after suffering from hair loss, educated herself on hair care and products. She eventually started a mail order business and became the first female self-made millionaire in American history.