Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman almost became a not-so-great dentist

Leon Cooperman might have missed out on being a billionaire.

The Omega Advisors CEO sat down with OneWire’s Skiddy von Stade to chat about his history, failures and successes — including a eight-day stunt as a dentistry student that surely would have changed his fortune forever.

“[The dentistry school’s dean] put me fairly or unfairly — I’m not really sure — on a guilt trip saying I had deprived the 103rd applicant of an education,” Cooperman said.

He didn’t know at the time the school could have pulled another applicant off the waiting list to replace him. He quit the school and ended up losing his tuition, room and board as a result.  

His parents weren’t happy either. They had been proud of calling first-generation college student son a “dentist.”

But it proved to be the right choice for Cooperman. Who went on to work at Goldman Sachs and build his own multi-billion dollar hedge fund.

“It was one of the best decisions of my life,” Cooperman said.

Watch the full interview above and subscribe to the Open Door series to receive upcoming interviews.

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