Europe's 11 richest billionaires who never went to university

Times100richest John CaudwellTim P. Whitby / GettyJohn Caudwell is now worth £1.7 billion.

There’s no doubt that having a degree can open certain doors for you in life, but that’s not to say that without one you can’t break into the 1%.

Though many of today’s most successful business people are alumni of Ivy League or Russell Group institutions, there are a surprising number of billionaires who never even graduated university – about 35%, in fact.

Below are Europe’s most successful billionaires that never got a degree.

(Net worth figures according to Forbes)

11. Sir Alan Sugar -- £1 billion ($1.54 billion)

Gareth Cattermole / Getty

Age/From: 68, UK.

How he made his money: Consumer electronics. Founder of Amstrad, which makes Sky Digital boxes.

What he did instead of university: Sugar grew up on a council estate in London and dropped out of education when he was just 14. He then went on to work for the Ministry of Education as a statistician for a brief period before selling electronics and car aerials from the back of a van he bought for £50. He has been very vocal about his opinion of higher education, branding university 'a waste of time.'

10. John Caudwell -- £1.7 billion ($2.7 billion)

Tim P. Whitby / Getty

Age/From : 62, UK.

How he made his money: Telecoms. Founded British phone retailer Phones 4 U.

What he did instead of university: Caudwell was 15 when he left education, and he spent his younger years as a second-hand car dealer. It wasn't until 1987, aged 35, shortly after the first mobile phones became commercially available, that he and his brother ventured into the telecoms market and founded the business that would eventually build them their fortune.

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