School Dropouts




prosper grade (2) prestigious
afford graduate  Fortune 500
barely  institution higher education
co- drop out requirement
dorm found (2) accomplish
scheme net worth  advocate (2)
CEO real world enterprise
fund dyslexia roughly (2)
provide milestone


Study Hard; Work Hard

We’ve all heard it throughout our youths: study hard…get good grades…attend a prestigious university…get a job with big company…work hard — and you’ll succeed and become middle-class.

The Real World

But in the real world, is a college degree absolutely necessary? Do you really need one if you want to do well in business?

Higher education is certainly a requirement for professional careers in engineering, science, law and medicine.

However, it turns out that you don’t have to attend university to prosper financially: there are plenty of people who had not graduated from college (or even high school), but still accomplished a lot.

Steve Jobs

The most famous example in recent times is probably Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. Though he attended Reed College — an expensive institution his family could barely afford — he soon dropped out.

Jobs went on to lead the development of such milestone products such as the Apple II personal computer, the Macintosh, iPad and iPhone.

At the time of his death in 2011, Jobs’ net worth was $11 billion.

Fellow co-founder Steve Wozniak (Apple’s tech-wiz) is worth about $100 million. Wozniak never completed college either.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates started programming personal computer software at the age of 13. He enrolled at Harvard in 1973, but dropped out before graduating and founded Microsoft. Gates was the richest man in the world for 23 times as declared by Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of global billionaires.

Michael Dell

Another college dropout is the founder of Dell Computers, Michael Dell.

His net worth is said to be nearly $20 billion.

Dell had attended the University of Texas. In his dorm room, he started packaging and selling upgrades for personal computers.

Eventually he quit his studies and went on to bigger schemes and enterprises.

By 1992 at the age of 27, Dell had become the youngest CEO on the Fortune 500 list.

Richard Branson

Then there is Richard Branson. With a poor academic performance, he left high school at 16. Not only that, he was also dyslexic.

Despite (or some may say because of) that, Branson eventually found Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile and other Virgin brands.

Richard Branson’s net worth is roughly $4.9 billion.

Today, Branson is a strong advocate of education. He believes that schools should be doing a better job of helping entrepreneurs, and that funding be provided to them.

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg launched the social network in February 2004 as a Harvard-only site, but quickly expanded to several other US colleges. Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard in his sophomore year to work exclusively on the project.

Today, the site has almost 1.5 billion active monthly users and a market cap of $250 billion.

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1. What do parents, teachers and counselors always tell children and teenagers?

2. A university education is necessary to succeed in life. Is this true or false?

3. Steve Jobs got a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. Is this correct or wrong? Why did he drop out of college?

4. What did Jobs accomplish?

5. Did Michael Dell start a business in his thirties?

6. Richard Branson had some “disadvantages”. Yes or no? What were his disadvantages?

7. Could Branson be a hypocrite?
A. What have your parents, teachers and other authority figures tell you as a child?

B. Do you know people who went to university, but are not particularly “successful”? Describe them.

C. I know very successful people who did not graduate from college (or high school). Yes or no?

D. Are there many university graduates who can’t find (proper) jobs?

E. University education is overrated. Do you agree?

F. What will happen in the future?

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