Does anyone still need to get an MBA to run a successful startup business? If you’re a tech entrepreneur, the answer might be “no.” In fact, tech startups – especially recent ones – are less likely to have a cofounder with an MBA. For example, here are 10 American tech billionaire entrepreneurs who did not go to business school: Larry Page (Google), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Sergey Brin (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Jan Koum (WhatsApp), Brian Acton (WhatsApp), Drew Houston (Dropbox), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Bill Gates (Microsoft), and Steve Jobs (Apple).
• In Forbes 2014 World’s Billionaires list, the first seven entrepreneurs ranked #17 ($32.3B), #18 ($32B), #19 ($31.8B), #21 ($28.5B), #202 ($6.8B), #551 ($3B), #1372 ($1.2B), respectively.
• Larry Ellison ranked #5 ($48B), and 3rd-richest person in America.
• Steve Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, and family ranked #73 ($14B), rising from #98 ($10.7B) the previous year.
• Bill Gates ranked #1 ($76B) — the world’s richest person. He’s been #1 in 15 of the past 20 years of Forbes lists.
• Koum, Acton and Houston became billionaires in early 2014. (Houston’s non-billionaire co-founder at Dropbox, Arash Ferdowsi, CTO, dropped out of MIT.)
On the flipside, several successful entrepreneurs do have MBAs: Frank Batten (Weather Channel), Phil Knight (Nike, co-founder), Scott McNealy (Sun Microsystems, co-founder), Meg Whitman (eBay), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway). Of that group, 3 are billionaires: Phil Knight (#42, $18.4B), Meg Whitman (#869, $2B), and Warren Buffett (#4, $58.2B). Buffett is the 2nd richest person in America, as per Forbes 2014 list. With the exception of McNealy and Whitman, however, none are tech entrepreneurs.