Some of the CEO’s of huge tech companies, like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, are college dropouts. But does the world’s richest man and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, have a degree?
Yes, Jeff Bezos does have a degree and from a very prestigious university. He graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. At Princeton, Bezos had a GPA of 4.2, but even before his Princeton days he was a high achiever.
You can read more about Jeff Bezos’ academic background by scrolling down.
Early Childhood Prodigy
Even from a young age, Jeff Bezos was known as a child prodigy. He was increasingly curious about how everything worked and he was lucky enough to have a Grandfather who nurtured that curiosity. Jeff’s grandfather, Lawrence Preston Gise, owned and operated a cattle ranch in Cotulla, Texas.
In a 2018 interview with Business Insider, Bezos recalls helping his grandfather with tons of different farm tasks. He said “we fixed windmills, and laid water pipelines, and built fences, and barns, and fixed the bulldozer that you guys talked about.”
When he was in the fourth grade, Bezos became obsessed with computers. In the same Business Insider interview, Bezos said “I got very lucky: My elementary school had a teletype that was connected to a mainframe computer…” This was just the beginning of his learning programming and soon he would spark that entrepreneurial fire within.
You can watch the full Business Insider interview by following the below YouTube link.
High School Success
By the time Bezos reached High School, he had an even greater thirst for knowledge. In this 1999 Wired article titled The Inner Bezos, his science teacher, Bill McCreary, says that Bezos not only wanted to be an astronaut, but that he wanted to be a space entrepreneur. Bezos even attended NASA’s high school space initiative.
Towards the end of his high school years Bezos embarked on his very first entrepreneurial venture with his then girlfriend Uschi Werner. The two created a summer learning program called DREAM for kids in grades five and six. They managed to have six kids enroll in the $600 program.
At the end of his high school career, Bezos graduated as the class valedictorian. He was also one of three students in his graduating class to be awarded the Miami Herald’s Silver Knight Award.
Time at Princeton
With his good grades and impressive academic background, it comes as no surprise that Bezos was accepted into Princeton University. Bezos was originally enrolled in the Physics program, after all he was interested in space travel. It was in the Physics program that Bezos realized he was struggling with some of the Math. He spent over three hours trying to solve an equation once.
He managed to get help from another student to learn how to solve the equation, but after he concluded that maybe a Physics major wasn’t for him. Alternatively, he transferred to study Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and earn his degree in these two fields. He graduated with an overall GPA of 4.2.
While at Princeton, Bezos was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. This fraternity was reserved for the undergraduate students with high GPA’s generally over at least a 3.8. Other than his membership in the prestigious fraternity, Bezos is said to have spent most of his time in the university’s computer centre, only emerging occasionally to eat, sleep, or play beer bong.
In 2010, he returned to Princeton to give the baccalaureate remarks for the graduating classes commencement. In this speech, he spoke of making the decision to follow the less safe path towards his passion. And it was in this speech that he encouraged the graduating students to “Build a great story!”