You can succeed without a degree


A degree can be a great asset to any business career. But if you don’t have one, take heart from the success stories of those who rose to the top without the benefit of that piece of paper. You can succeed without a degree.

Some of the world’s best-known business tycoons didn’t complete college or university: Steve Jobs, Ellen Degeneres and Walt Disney among them.

You can add to that list somebody you may never have heard of. The wealthiest woman in Nigeria, Folorunsho Alakija, whose worth is valued at $2.6 billion according to Forbes and who has relied on ambition and dedication to build her business empire.

Alakija, now 63, began by pursuing fashion design and secretarial studies in London at a young age. She returned to her home in Nigeria to work as a secretary in a merchant bank. Eventually she would go on to pilot her first business Supreme Stitches, a tailoring company that targets a niche market of upscale clients. This business became so successful that she has dressed various high profile individuals including former first lady of Nigeria, Maryam Babangida.

In 1993, she obtained an oil-prospecting license, which granted her a profitable block in Nigeria’s coastal waters. Her company, Famfa Oil, holds currently 60% stake within the oil field. Alakija has notched up many other achievements, including creating The Rose of Sharon Foundation, which provides aid and support to both orphans and widows.

“So I am 63 and I am not yet done. So what is your excuse? I never went to a University and I am proud to say so because I don’t think I have done too badly,” she has said.

During a presentation for 2014 UN Youth Day at the University of Lagos, the 63-year-old businesswoman reiterated her story of success, providing motivation for the students. She holds to the belief that although a degree is highly important and often necessary, hard work and persistence are the most crucial elements when looking to strive and become successful. Formal education is not a requisite in life for finding success.

“You do not have to have a university education to be able to make it so count yourselves privileged to have that education as part of the feather in your cap,” Alakija said.


  • A degree is a valuable asset, but if you don’t have one it doesn’t mean you won’t succeed.
  • Determination and dedication can still get you places and help you reach your goals.
  • You can still be smart, even if you’re not formally educated.

About Lauren Robinson

A Journalist at The Business Woman, Lauren has a solid passion for the world of writing. Previously working with Fairfax Regional Media and Bauer Media Group Lauren loves beauty, entertainment, lifestyle and human-interest stories.




    November 8, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100 sure. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks



    March 11, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks in support of sharing such a fastidious opinion, post is
    pleasant, thats why i have read it entirely

What Do You Think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *