5 Entrepreneurs with Surprising Education

Here’s 5 Entrepreneurs who have unconventional Educational backgrounds.

1. Jack Dorsey

The founder of Square and Twitter never completed his undergraduate degree. Dorsey enrolled at Missouri University of Science and Technology and then New York University but never completed his degree. By the time he left college he was an experienced programmer already. He learned how to code while he was still in high school. At this time he started to write programs for coordinating taxicab dispatching. In fact, some of them are still used to this day. He drew upon his programming knowledge when he founded Square and Twitter. There have been many successful founders of businesses that have followed a similar path that Dorsey did: wanting to participate in the startup game, they ended up developing the necessary skills and then decided not to stay around to complete their college degrees.


2. John Knific

Knific is an up-and-coming entrepreneur from Cleveland who founded DecisionDesk, which offers a platform for streamlining application and admission processes for universities and other institutions. However, as a Case Western Reserve student, Knific studied music not business. DecisionDesk began as CitizenGroove, which was a platform for streamlining music schools’ audition process to help applicants be able to upload their digital auditions recordings. Currently, DecisionDesk partners with more than 100 institutions. It might have grown out of a problem that was specific to the field that Knific studied, however he used his experiences with music to transformed into something even larger.

3. Steve Jobs

There are many famous successful college dropouts, including Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey. Steve Jobs of Apple also left Reed College as a dropout and failed to finish his degree, partly due to the fact that the high tuition cost was too expensive for his parents to afford. However, the culture that Reed exposed him to influenced the approach he would take at Apple later. Jobs stated that the humanities classes that he attended at Reed helped him with everything he did subsequently. He learned the skills of empathy and ingenuity through his experiences as a starving student. He also said that the most important class that he took was Calligraphy, because it served as his introduction to design principles he used for building Apple computer. Jobs might have been a college dropout technical, however he continued living and learning at Reed, and although he might not have studied business, everything that he learned there contributed to his later success.

4. Jane Wurwand

Although Jane Wurwand didn’t ever study business in college, she is a multimillionaire today who invests in entrepreneurial ventures started by women. Wurwand moved to the U.S. from England, with just a beauty school certificate. She ended up establishing the International Dermal Institute, which was a skin care school whose mission was to focus on health instead of beauty. Her previous experience working as a teacher was the foundation of her success: Dermalogica, Wurwand’s company, is one of the world’s most successful skin care companies. Wurwand studied skincare and then took what she learned and used this knowledge to identify needs that were unmet. She used this to revolutionize the entire beauty industry. That just shows that it is always possible to draw on the things you know already when looking for a successful idea for a new business.

5. Walter Driver

Who would ever think having a creative writing degree could provide the fuel for making it to the ninth spot on Inc.com’s fastest growing American companies list? That is precisely what Walter Driver’s degree did for him. The co-founder of Scopeley, a California-based gaming network, studied creative writing and literature at Brown University. He credits his education for providing him with the skills needed to become successful. He says that the most valuable thing that he learned in school was being taught how to create a narrative given that it is how humans are able to make sense of their world