As of 2020, Richard Branson boasted a net worth of around $4.5 billion, but did he ever acquire an educational degree?
Richard Branson does not have a degree. In fact, he never pursued any education higher than high school. He dropped out before he reached further education, and immediately jumped into the world of business.
Read on to learn more about the impressive accomplishments of Richard Branson.
Making The Money, Not The Grade
When Richard Branson made it big through the seventies and eighties, he really made it big. The shrewd businessman and entrepreneur experimented with many ventures and had a real knack for success.
By the eighties, he’d already founded a mail-order music business, and a string of record and music stores. His brand became known as ‘Virgin’, and would ultimately become iconic and recognizable around the world.
He’s since launched a transatlantic airline company, an internet and media service organization, and even a space tourism business. His innovation and mostly public-serving nature earned him a knighthood at the turn of the century. As of 2000, he became known as Sir Richard Branson.
Branson was reportedly trying to elbow his way into entrepreneurship from as young as sixteen years of age. His first real venture was the publication of a magazine, starting in 1966. This was a considerable success, and by eighteen years of age, in 1968, Branson would be worth around thirty-five thousand dollars.
Music would ultimately be the base foundation under Branson’s wealth. He would use his magazine and media influence to meet and interview prominent artists of the era. This subsequently led him to open record stores, having a long-standing interest in music.
One of his biggest moves came with the founding of Virgin Records in the seventies. This business was an overwhelming success, and after a few years had taken Branson’s brand overseas. He worked with some huge industry names and had a massive net worth by the time the eighties rolled around.
While these achievements are impressive in themselves, it gets better. Richard Branson – unlike some other entrepreneurs and businessmen – never achieved academically. He dropped out of high school, never had any interest in obtaining a degree, and didn’t perform well while he was at school.
Dropping Out, Moving In
Richard Branson has gone on record explaining that he struggled with dyslexia as a child. He felt he couldn’t be taught, and couldn’t learn. He didn’t believe in exams and studying, and insists you don’t need good grades to be successful. In that statement, he’s the ultimate evidence.
In an article on the Virgin website, Richard Branson states, “I am fortunate in many ways, my education has been my career.” It’s a fair statement, as one of the best ways to learn in business, is to run businesses.
In an article in 2018, Richard Branson highlighted the key attributes a CEO needs, and it wasn’t academically focused. He stated, “The mark of a great CEO is someone who leads by example and embodies their company’s character.” He went on to insist that children should be given the opportunity to learn through failure.
There are several examples of massively wealthy and successful figures dropping out of their education. These include the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. However, the majority of these figures dropped out because of their success, not because they felt they were inadequate.
Richard Branson is honest to the point of being self-deprecating. In a 2018 article with CNN, he explained that he’d never have imagined he could have made it to where he is today. He stated, “I was seen as the dumbest person at school.” This notion was drilled into him, and he never felt capable of success.
In the video below from YouTube, Branson explains how his education ‘made him feel stupid’.
However, his incredible forays into numerous industries prove that his thoughts were wrong. His work with air travel has been altogether legendary, with Virgin being a deeply recognizable brand worldwide. Branson is looking to change the way people travel, with his enormous teams of engineers looking to realize galactic travel.
Although, it wasn’t always plain sailing for the business magnate. In the nineties, his company tried to launch a war against Coca Cola with their own brand, Virgin Cola. This was ultimately a poor maneuver, and it never took off. In a Virgin blog post, Branson explained, “I consider our cola venture to be one of the biggest mistakes we ever made.”