Bottom-line recommendation for prospective MBAs: “One of the things I say to students when I visit Cornell University today is that five years out of school, 80 percent of what they learned they will no longer use. You can’t go through a career of 25 to 30 years relying on what you learned in school 25 to 30 years ago.”

degrees of success
attaining an mba isn’t a guarantee of business success. just ask enron’s
jeffrey skilling. indeed, many mbas at the helm of their corporate ships have run aground. maybe that’s why some of the richest and most successful executives in america didn’t need higher education of any kind to make their millions. here’s a brief sampling of the wealthiest school washouts.

bill gates, 48
chairman and chief software architect of microsoft corp.
harvard university

carl ichan, 67
financier who successfully took over texaco, usx, and twa in the 1980s
new york university

david geffen, 61
co-founder of dreamworks skg
the university of texas at austin

michael dell, 39
founder and chairman of the board of dell inc.
the university of texas at austin

sheldon adelson, 70
chairman and principal owner of las vegas sands inc., which owns the venetian resort-hotel-casino
the city college of new york

larry ellison, 59
founder and ceo of oracle corp.
university of illinois

wayne huizenga, 65
owner of the miami dolphins
calvin college

steve jobs, 49
ceo of apple computer inc.
reed college

j.r. simplot, 95
founder of j.r. simplot co., an agribusiness firm whose estimated net worth, according to forbes, is $2.5 billion
high school