Credit: Dave Eastbury

'I went to five schools in two and a half years' - Dan Wagner, Powa Technologies

The internet entrepreneur was expelled from school but always slept like a baby during exam time.

by Adam Gale
Last Updated: 18 Aug 2016

Name: Dan Wagner, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Powa Technologies

Age: 52

Which school did you go to? I went to five schools in two and a half years. It started when I was expelled from Merchant Taylors’ School at 13, and ended when I left University College School at 16. I was a joker and a trouble maker, which I put down to my unsettled home life. Had my parents not divorced, I think I probably would have gone down the normal school and university route.

What grades did you get? When it came to O levels, I just didn’t bother at all. I did the usual six or seven – maths, English, history, geography, etc – and ended up with about four, all Cs and Ds. I retook some and eventually got five, but it was painful. I wasn’t engaged and had no fixed plans for the future. Maybe it was arrogance too. By then I already had a B in photography A level, which I’d studied in my own time.

How did you handle pre-exam nerves? I didn’t. I don’t get stressed about anything, even today. I sleep like a baby. I’m very fortunate like that.

What advice would you give your teenage self? You don’t need to do things in such a hurry. Starting work so young cost me a piece of my life. While my friends were on gap years and taking long, lazy summer holidays, I was working two jobs – selling hi-fis by day, flipping burgers at McDonald’s by night. I wouldn’t do anything differently, but I was 50 before I took a proper two-week holiday.

Return to MT's exams special page to find out how the others did.


Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime


Get your essential reading delivered. Subscribe to Management Today