Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Robson M. Marinho

Second Advisor

Tevni E. Grojales

Third Advisor

Alfonso Valenzuela


Problem. A review of the literature on Hispanics reveals the absence of academic studies on the conditions and life experiences that helped poor Hispanic immigrants become multimillionaires after arriving to the U.S. at 18 years of age and older and without conversational English. Most Hispanic immigrants live in poverty right after arriving to the U.S. and only a few become multimillionaires. A study on how they rose above poverty has the potential to uncovering useful information for other poor immigrants who are still looking who seek financial success. Such study will also add to the larger body of literature information regarding the experiences and factors that contributed to poor immigrants reaching the multimillionaire status.

Methodology. This qualitative multi case study recruited four Hispanic multimillionaire immigrants who immigrated to the U.S. in poverty and with limited communication skills in the language of the land. Participants were interviewed to uncover their life experiences and the factors that contributed to their financial success. Following the inductive nature of qualitative inquiry for data collection and analysis, once data saturation for each individual case was achieved, a cross-case study was performed to uncover overlapping factors associated with the phenomenon.

Results. Data analysis uncovered 17 major factors contributing to becoming financially successful in the U.S. Salient among the factors were a progressive non-conformist attitude that led participants to seek more profitable job opportunities. Interviewees also placed education high in among the factors associated with their success. Education prepared them to face challenges analytically and made them marketable in a very competitive job-market. Finally, real estate investment was notoriously conspicuous in the research. The net worth of participants was principally determined by the value of their real estate possessions.

Conclusion. This research reveals that poor Hispanic immigrants who arrive to the U.S. in poverty and with limited knowledge of English can become multimillionaires. Their human capital, such as mental fortitude, vision, and resolve, made them succeed financially where others failed.

Subject Area

American Dream, Immigrants--United States, Hispanic Americans, Emigration and immigration--Economic aspects, United States--Emigration and immigration--Economic aspects, Andrews University--Dissertations--United States--Emigration and immigration--Economic aspects.