6 Highly Successful People Who Earned Their Degrees Online

Becky Leighton

Posted: January 27, 2020

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January, the Monday of months, has finally come to an end. We made it, y’all! And just like Tuesday morning brings the promise of increased energy, better focus and a fresh cup of coffee, February presents a new start and the opportunity to begin a life-changing adventure, wherever you may be in your journey. 

Here at MasterStart, we provide you with all the tools you need to kickstart your new chapter of success with 11 career-changing courses in management, business, marketing, and leadership. Online learning offers the opportunity to get your degree while still leaving time for your job, friends, family, and hobbies, making it just as good (dare we say, better) than conventional tertiary education.


Don’t believe us? Here are 6 highly successful people who studied online and went on to achieve more than they ever could have hoped for.

1.     Steven Spielberg

The man behind Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan and Jaws has definitely had an unconventional college career. After leaving school, Spielberg started his degree in film studies at California State University. During his studies, he started working at Universal Studios and eventually dropped out to focus on his film career. Years later he returned to CSU and gained his online degree in Film Production and Electronic Arts. The best part? He pulled the greatest power move in history and submitted Schindler’s List in lieu of the 12-minute short film that was required for the course. 

2.     Daniel McCarthy

Daniel McCarthy may not be a household name, but he is currently the CEO and President of Frontier Communications – an internet, TV and mobile provider which is valued at over $5 billion. McCarthy has studied at not one, not two, but three different universities, including the University of Phoenix where he earned his MBA via correspondence.

3.     Arnold Schwarzenegger 

Bet you never saw this one coming, but it’s true! In the late 60s Good ol’ Arnie hopped off of a plane from Austria and enrolled in a number of correspondence courses at Santa Monica College and UCLA. In 1979 he furthered his online education at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and in 1980 he graduated with a degree in Business Administration in Marketing. Schwarzenegger went on to become the Governor of California and, more importantly, the Terminator.

4.     Howard A. Schmidt

Yet another University of Phoenix alumnus, Howard Schmidt earned his Master’s degree in Organisational Management in 1998 through their online learning system. Amongst numerous other achievements, such as a career in the United States Air Force and a position as the Vice-Chair of the President’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Board after the 9/11 attacks, Schmidt served as the US Cyber Security Coordinator under President Obama until 2012.

5.     Paul Goldschmidt

The success of Paul “Goldy” Goldschmidt, American Major League baseball player, is a testament to the value of hard work and ambition. In 2013, while playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Goldy got his Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of Phoenix. In a commercial for the university, he states that completing his studies online allowed him to focus on his career and family while still earning his degree.

6.     Nelson Mandela

This list would not be complete without including Madiba, the father of the rainbow nation. Nelson Mandela held not one, but two degrees which he earned through correspondence learning. At the beginning of his career, Mandela got his BA degree from the University of South Africa and, during his incarceration in a number of prisons, he completed his Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree through the University of London’s distance-learning programme.

These individuals continue to inspire us with their hard work, determination, and success. Furthermore, they prove that no matter what time or place you are in, it is never too late to earn your degree and boost your success. Online learning allows you to gain your qualifications while still providing the flexibility that enables you to balance work, family, friends, and hobbies. 

2nd February is the last day to register for one of MasterStart’s world-renowned courses, so make this year count and don’t miss out on the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the heroes that have come before you.

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