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Striking It Rich by Hard Work and Dumb Luck

An MBA doesn't guarantee riches, but for these B-school alumni, it didn't hurt. Each of the MBA grads (and one MBA dropout) listed in the slides that follow holds a spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Some became known for their shrewd business moves—such as John Paulson, who bet against mortgage-backed securities, and Alexey Mordashov, who built Russian mining company Severstal into a multibillion-dollar conglomerate. A handful had notable family connections or inheritances, and one of them was a successor at a company controlled by his father. Others are famous for starting their own enterprises, such as Nike (NKE) founder Phil Knight and Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio. Classrooms and case studies may be a distant memory for these billionaires, but make no mistake: At one time, they, too, were binder-toting business students ambling across campus.

Note: Net worth shown is three-month average effective Jan. 29, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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