Worried About Exam Results? These Billionaires Didn't Even Finish Their Educations

By Gerald Lynch on at

School's out for summer in the UK, but if you're a teenager that's just sat exams, today's your day of reckoning. Results have been sent out today to those who'd rather just be curled up under the duvet, drowning the memories of algebra, chemical reactions and grammatical rules with bottles of MD 20-20. And for some, those grades may not make for enjoyable reading, especially those looking to head into prestigious higher education slots.

But, hey! Don't stress! As soon as you step outside the school system, you realise that grades and exams are all pretty much meaningless anyway. Sure, a good education is the most valuable thing you can ever own. But the bits of paper quantifying your academic worth? You might as well keep those in easy reach by the toilet. Just take a look at this sample handful of tech billionaire school drop outs (just the tip of the lesson-bunking iceberg), who never finished their educations and laugh at those degree waving bookworms now sitting on a mountain of student debt.

Sean Parker (Napster, Plaxo, Spotify, Airtime, formerly of Facebook)

Net Worth: circa $3.2 billion

The man almost single-handedly responsible for causing every music industry headache currently in existence, Napster creator Sean Parker is a particularly special tech billionaire dropout. Unlike many on this list, Parker never even made it to university, only attending Chantilly High School instead. His disruptive music-sharing service cemented his place as a tech disruptor however, and a stint as Facebook's first president saw his worth sky-rocket. He now sits on the board at Spotify and Yammer among other projects, and was played by Justin Timberlake in the Oscar-winning The Social Network.

Steve Jobs (Apple)

Net Worth: circa $7 billion at the time of his death in 2011

Steve Jobs must have enjoyed an ironic satisfaction walking past university campuses filled with his Mac computers, knowing that he'd never finished studying himself. The proto -Silicon Valley dropout, barefoot hippy Jobs left Reed College back in 1974 to found Apple with his buddy Steve Wozniak. A couple of Macs, iPods, iPhones and iPads later, he died with billions in the bank and the biggest consumer tech company on the planet at his command.

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)

Net Worth: circa $42.5 billion

Though Zuckerberg's Facebook was seeded by the world's university students, posting drunken snaps to his fledgling social network, Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard in his sophomore year. The company's CEO and Chairman ever since, it now has 1.3 billion active users and is worth more than $200 billion.

Bill Gates (Microsoft)

Net Worth: circa $79 billion

What list of tech money-makers would be complete without a nod to Bill Gates, the richest man in the world? The 59 year old founder of Microsoft started off a course at the prestigious Harvard college in 1973, but left barely two years later to found the Windows-making company with fellow dropout billionaire Paul Allen. Having stepped down to the Chairman role in 2000, Gates is now focussed on his philanthropic efforts at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He also drinks poo, which is probably in an effort to replicate some mad frat dare he regretfully missed when dropping out. The only explanation, surely.