How did t boone pickens get started making his fortune and who does he thank for it?


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Alex Wheeler answered
T Boone Pickens started his working life as a paper boy. Once he had established himself, he expanded his delivery route from 28 papers to 156, vastly increasing his earnings. For much of his later life, this strategy of 'quick expansion by acquisition' would be his favored technique.

  • Early career
After his family moved away from his home city following the end of the oil boom in the 1930s, Pickens attended and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a major in geology. He was employed by Phillips Petroleum shortly after leaving college, and stayed with the company for 3 years, leaving in 1954. After a brief hiatus from the industry, Pickens returned to found the company that would evolve into Mesa Petroleum. Mesa was one of the world's biggest oil companies by 1981, and Pickens gained celebrity status by leading the company through a series of high profile acquisitions, with some of the acquired companies being as many as 30 times larger than his own.

  • Family ties
If asked today, Pickens would likely thank his parents for their backgrounds in the oil trade, as they would have given him a good introduction to the industry and motivated him towards working in it. Pickens originally went to college on a basketball scholarship, and only majored in geology after losing his scholarship. Perhaps he would thank whatever or whoever he felt was responsible for the loss of his scholarship, as majoring in basketball would have led him down an extremely different path!

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