Top Entrepreneurs Who Didn’t Get a Business Degree

Many people wonder if they can succeed in the business world without a business degree. Well, we’re here to tell you that there are plenty of successful people out there who never earned a business degree–some never even finished high school! The world is out there for your taking. If you’ve got the passion and the drive, anything is possible, degree or not.

 Coco Chanel – Chanel

“In 1910, she opened her first business, a hat shop, also in Paris. She later established boutiques in Biarritz and Deauville, this time making and selling clothes. Her designs were hugely successful and, by the 1920s, Coco had debuted her iconic perfume: Chanel No. 5. Five years later, she launched the classic Chanel suit (the collarless jacket and fitted skirt). Coco is notably the only fashion designer on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. She is credited with liberating women of the early 20th century from the confines of the corset, and introducing simpler fashion, lines and fabrics that endure today.” –(Daily Worth)

 

Howard Schultz – Starbucks

“Brooklyn native Schultz attended Northern Michigan University on a football scholarship and earned a degree in communications. After graduation, he started working in the coffee business as a salesman for Hammarplast, which sold European coffee makers in the U.S. Eventually, he became the company’s director of sales, which was when he discovered a small Seattle chain called Starbucks. In 1982, he joined Starbucks and the rest is history.” –(USA Today)

 

 

Alexa Hirschfeld – Paperless Post

“Hirschfeld recieved a B.A. degree in Classics at Harvard University in 2006. The e-vite service was conceived in 2007 by her younger brother, James, while the Harvard undergrad was planning his 21st birthday party. He then called his sister, who had planned to leave her first job as an editorial assistant at CBS, where she was often stuck opening mail. ‘I wanted to be in something that was not figured out yet,’ Alexa said in a 2011 interview with Cosmopolitan. ‘I imagined that if I were, there would be more room for creativity.’–(TIME)

 

 

Matt Mullenweg – WordPress

“Matt Mullenweg started WordPress, which now powers around 22% of the web, yet he dropped out of college and began working at CNET Networks from 2004 to 2005, before quitting that to found Automattic, the business behind WordPress.com.”–(Gentleman’s Journal)

 

Oprah Winfrey – The Oprah Winfrey Show

“Oprah was offered [a] job as an on-air reporter in Baltimore. The only problem was that the job started a few months before her graduation. Ultimately, she chose the job (from which she was fired), sacrificing her communications and performing arts degree. She soldiered on, working a morning talk show in Baltimore and then hosting another in Chicago before hitting the big time. The Oprah Winfrey Show was the highest-rated talk show in American history, earning 17 Daytime Emmys. She was named the richest African-American of the 20th century by Forbes in 2009 and is one of only two black female billionaires in the world.” –(Daily Worth)

David Karp – Tumblr

“The creator of Tumblr (the 9th most visited site in the US), despite never even graduating high school. He had dropped out of Bronx Science high school in 2001 to be home-schooled, and never received a high school diploma. Karp is now worth an estimated $200 million.”–(Gentleman’s Journal)

 

 

 

 

Sara Blakely – Spanx

“A onetime door-to-door fax machine salesperson, Sara Blakely invested $5,000 to come up with something to wear under white slacks. She initially shilled her new invention, which became shapewear brand Spanx, on the sales floor at various Neiman Marcus stores. In 2000, Oprah Winfrey called to add Spanx to her famous Favorite Things episode. Today, Spanx sells its undergarments, leggings, and maternity wear in 65 countries. “–(Forbes)

 

 

 

 

 

Shani
Shani is a photographer and content creator from Los Angeles. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a Communication degree, which she puts to good use by connecting with all the incredible Jewish organizations and the people who support them. With a deep pride in her Jewish roots and an Israeli background, Shani hopes to share the power and potential of Jewish innovation and connection with the world.