A good academic background is a great start to a successful business or professional career. However, success does not always correspond to having achieved excellence in studies. Some great tycoons or personalities from different fields never completed an MBA or even did not finish higher education. Bill Gates and Jack Ma are just a few examples, but there are more.
Be careful; you cannot try to compare the fact of having studied or not. All the studies on the subject leave no doubt: the difference in salary or success options between someone who has studied and someone who has not is overwhelmingly in favor of the former.
However, we cannot deny that there are profiles that did not fit well into the educational system and did not achieve the same success in their studies as they did professionally.
Examples of professional success without great academic achievements
Some of the most famous people in new technologies did not complete their MBAs. In some cases, they even had to change their studies or reduce their ambitions. Some of them did not finish their studies at all.
However, there is one constant in all these people: they are brilliant brains. They are what are considered to be natural talents in each of their areas. This natural talent makes it possible to replace the lack of training because, generally, they are also people with a high capacity to learn, a lot of tenacity, and faith in their projects.
Two very clear examples of this are Bill Gates of Microsoft and the late Steve Jobs of Apple. There are many more examples. Among the best known, we could highlight the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, who has also referred to the usefulness or otherwise of MBAs on many occasions.
Ma’s reflections on the importance of graduating with an MBA are well known, as this billionaire does not consider them necessary (although they are complementary). That is a relatively widespread theory that schools provide knowledge, but business requires wisdom, which can only gain through professional experience.
The Alibaba founder’s theory, in any case, does not hold much support when we see that another very important part of today’s great entrepreneurs maintains a solid academic background.
Other billionaires without MBAs
Other examples of famous entrepreneurs who are successful in their fields but did not achieve academic excellence include Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft), Steve Ballmer (former CEO of Microsoft), Jan Koum (co-founder of WhatsApp), Matt Mullenweg (creator of WordPress) and Richard Branson (Virgin).
Branson had also had a business career since the age of 16 when he dropped out of school.
In short, the summary is that, although there are profiles that have not needed extensive education to achieve success, studying is necessary for most people.
The higher the level of education, the greater the professional opportunities. The higher the academic training, the better the options for developing one’s business ideas and projects. It is not a dogma, but reality shows that the proportion of success among those with an education is much higher than those without one.