A report from INSEAD recently stated that 40% of CEO’s have a MBA degree, that translates to the fact that 60% of CEO’s do not have an MBA. Yes you heard that right! And when you browse through the list here, you will be amazed to see the fields those successful people from the business world majored in( if at all)!

successful-entrepreneurs-without-mba

Here are 10 successful entrepreneurs who never formally studied for a MBA or Tech degree,

1. Anne Mulcahy: English and journalism major

Mulcahy served as CEO and Chairwoman of Xerox from 2001 through 2009. She started out in the company as a Field Sales Representative in 1976, two years after earning her B.A. in English and Journalism from Marymount College in Maryland.

2. Carl Icahn: Philosophy major

Icahn is the chairman of Icahn Enterprises and is one of the most well-known and aggressive activist investors of our time, buying and eventually folding Trans World Airlines, and more recently trying to take over Netflix. His philosophy thesis for his 1957 degree was titled ”The Problem of Formulating an Adequate Explication of the Empiricist Criterion of Meaning.” He went to NYU’s Medical School, but dropped out without graduating.

3. Dhirubhai Ambani: Matriculation

Indian Business Tycoon, Dhirubhai showed little interest in formal education. After completing his initial five years of education at the village school, he went to Junagarh to study further till Matriculation. Though not an academically brilliant student, Dhirubhai displayed exceptional leadership skills. He later went on to build the Reliance Industries.

4. Ken Chenault: History major

Chenault has been the CEO and Chairman of American Express since 2001, and is a director at IBM. His major in History at Bowdoin College informed his beliefs and career choices. In an interview with Bowdoin Magazine, he said: “I was a history major at Bowdoin and as I looked at different movements in different stages in history, it was clear to me that it was important to have some segments of any particular group work within the system.”‘

5. Larry Fink: Political science major

Larry Fink is the Cofounder and CEO of BlackRock, an investment firm.  He studied political science at Duke University and then received his MBA at UCLA. Fink’s firm oversees one of the world’s largest asset managers and the government used his firm as an advisor during the financial crisis to value billions of dollars of real estate assets.

6. Michael Eisner: Double major in english

Eisner was the CEO of the Walt Disney Company for over 20 years, from 1984 to 2005. He didn’t take a single business course at school. He studied English literature and theatre as an undergrad and now urges his three sons to study English too. He defended his liberal arts education in an article published by USA Today saying, “Literature is unbelievably helpful, because no matter what business you are in, you are dealing with interpersonal relationships”‘

7. Peter Thiel: 20th century philosophy major 

Thiel was the co-founder and CEO of PayPal. He currently serves as president of Clarium Capital, and as a managing partner at venture capital firm, the Founder’s Fund. He was the first outside investor in Facebook. Despite his well-publicized criticism of higher education, Thiel got his undergraduate degree in 20th Century Philosophy at Stanford in 1989.

8. Ritesh Agarwal: High School

The OYO Rooms founder Ritesh Agarwal, completed his higher schooling at St. Johns Senior Secondary School. He went on to establish the Gurgaon based company in 2012. The startup is a network of technology – enabled budget hotels and is backed by Lightspeed Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Green Oaks Capital. Ritesh is a college dropout who founded Oravel when he was 18 received its share of fundings and accolades and later he rebranded it to OYO Rooms.

9. Sam Palmisano: History major

Sam Palmisano is the former CEO of IBM, having stepped down some time back. He played a critical role in revitalizing the company. He went to John’s Hopkins where he studied history.

10. Ted Turner: Classics major

Turner is the founder of CNN and TBS, and a noted philanthropist. In 1976, Turner’s company used satellites to dramatically increase its reach. Although he went on to become a billionaire, Turner’s father was furious with him for choosing to study Classics and wrote a famous letter in which he stated, “I am appalled, even horrified, that you have adopted Classics as a major. As a matter of fact I almost puked at the way home today”

About Author

Ruchi Pandita

Ruchi is a word-weaver, a painter, an amateur photographer and a poet at heart. The ease with with she can explain the most complex stuff impresses people around her. Being a gemini, she is never content, always looking for new ways to explore her self and the world around. The startup revolution has greatly influenced her and she is using her talent to help budding entrepreneurs find the way forward.

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