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Lord Sugar
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A-Level Results: Stars Of Business Who Didn’t Achieve Top Grades

Students throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland will be anxiously awaiting their A-Level results, with some 750,000 grades set to be revealed on Thursday.

But for those who don’t, all is not lost. Each year, spearheaded by former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson, celebrities and business people alike are quick to take to social media to remind all those who didn’t quite make the grade that their ultimate success has not been dependent on making the grade.

Here’s a selection of recent responses from some of the biggest stars of business…


Lord Sugar

Lord, then plain Alan, Sugar left school at the age of just 16, with no qualifications. He took to the marketplace soon after, and the rest is history.

Sugar managed to pass just one GCSE, and was quick to remind students two years ago about not only his shortcomings in the classroom, but those of a fellow successful entrepreneur…


Sir Richard Branson

As Sugar mentioned, the Virgin boss today has a net worth of over $5 billion, but last year, used GCSE results day to highlight his struggles at school, where he had a poor academic performance.

Branson even wrote a blog on the issue of how best to test those with dyslexia, and called on students to recognise that it is the setting and achieving of goals that is most important.


Deborah Meaden

Dragons Den star Deborah Meaden is another who left school before taking any A Levels, and now has a net worth of some £40 million (along with three honorary degrees).

While Meaden hasn’t (yet) taken to social media to share her ‘don’t stress over your exam results’ story, fellow Dragon Theo Paphitis gave some reassuring advice to students two years ago.


Simon Cowell

Another reality TV star, Cowell left school with just two O-Levels to his name – in English Language & Literature, and in Sociology. He went on to become a successful producer before moving into broadcast, notably as a judge on Pop Idol prior to The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.

Cowell recently spoke about how his success in music was not helped by his schooling and, controversially, how he would like his son to leave education when he turns 10.


Jeremy Clarkson

Not so much of a business heavyweight as a major celebrity, but Clarkson nonetheless has amassed a fortune of just under £50 million from his combined passion of motoring, presenting and journalism.

He is of course also the king of the A-Level results day tweets. While we wait to see what gem Clarkson comes up with this year, here’s been the pick of the bunch from recent years:


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