Being a successful billionaire, there is no doubt that Branson is intelligent. Did he learn his tricks in college?
Richard Branson did not attend college. In fact, he was a high school dropout. He left the Stowe School in Buckinghamshire at 16, and went on to found the conglomerate Virgin Group, which owns over 400 companies. Branson reportedly now has a net worth of over $4.5 billion, and does not see a traditional education as a necessity for success.
Read more for Branson’s advice on how to be successful, and his own experience with education.
Branson’s Life Before Launching Virgin
Finally, he went to Stowe School in Buckinghamshire until he was 16 years old.
For a year from 1967-1968, Branson lived as a squatter in England.
In 1996, he finally launched his own magazine named Student and it did well, making him a decent income within a year.
After this, he started a “mail-order” record business, selling records at significantly lower prices than large stores.
Starting Virgin Group
Branson may have inherited his entrepreneurial flair from his mother, who was a successful innovator in her time, selling tissue boxes and bins.
They signed various bands, and eventually became the top independent record label in the world.
The company even has a space mission called Virgin Galactic.
Part of Branson’s appeal is his plunging into the business market as a “Virgin” (which is where the name for his company originated) with no experience.
This, he says, provides him with a unique perspective that veterans in the market do not have.
Branson On The Importance Of Innovation
Branson has disclosed several times that a university degree is not necessarily as valuable as people consider it to be.
In a blog post on the Virgin Group’s website, he wrote, “In my opinion, entrepreneurial drive beats a fancy degree anytime.”
He spoke out about his struggle with dyslexia in response to a question about the value of education. He said, “I didn’t go to a prestigious university; in fact, I didn’t even finish secondary school. I suffer from dyslexia and couldn’t keep up with my studies as a teenager. I didn’t fit in at all.”
The Virgin founder concluded by saying, “The point is that university isn’t the be-all and end-all, and it’s certainly not a prerequisite for business success.”
“I’m not saying that people shouldn’t go to university if they want to, but simply calling attention to the benefits of learning from the school of life. I received my own education through work. In my opinion, real-life learning is the best way to acquire skills. In fact, I’ve been campaigning for education to be rethought.”
Since then, Branson has become one of the richest men in the world, with an estimated net worth of over $4.5 billion.