Some of the world's biggest entrepreneurs share an unlikely path to success. These bold leaders abandoned their educational careers to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams — the path trod most famously before them by Bill Gates, who left Harvard to start what would become Microsoft.
From Ryan Seacrest and Elon Musk to Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso, see what catapulted these visionaries — all members of CNBC's NEXT list — to phenomenal success.
— By Paul Maidment, special to CNBC.com
Updated 15 March 2016 by CNBC.com staff