Mark Zuckerberg famously started Facebook in his Harvard University dorm.
But before he even went to college, Zuckerberg's father Edward offered his son an alternative: a future as a McDonald's franchise owner.
"My dad, funny enough, right before each of us went to college offered us the options of going to college or like investing in a franchise and running it," sister Randi Zuckerberg told CNN Business' Laurie Segall of her dad's offer to his son and each of his three daughters.
Of course, Zuckerberg chose Harvard — and then dropped out.
"I think [my parents] were like 'OK, you probably should have taken the McDonald's franchise money if you wanted a business. But, OK, this might be a second good choice,'" Randi told CNN.
When Zuckerberg started college in 2002, no one could have foreseen that his time Harvard would eventually make him a multibillionaire.
In fact, had Zuckerberg chosen Big Macs over books, he could have made a good living by most people's standards. A 2016 report from CNBC and Franchise Business Review pegged the average profit of food and beverage franchises at $90,388 a year. And it's not unusual for McDonald's owners to make six figures, according to a 2015 Bloomberg story.
Of course, Zuckerberg currently has a net worth of $43.2 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index, which roughly translates to making $2.4 billion per year since dropping out of college in 2004.
It's unclear how much Zuckerberg's father would have needed to invest for a McDonald's franchise in the early 2000s. As of February 2019, according to the McDonald's website, the total investment to begin operation of a traditional McDonald's franchise ranges from $1,013,000 to $2,185,000, and "profitability depends on many factors."
This story has been updated to reflect Mark Zuckerberg's net worth as of Nov. 17, 2022.
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