Jack Ma is one of the richest people in China, and his way to the top has been a long and tough journey.
A business magnate and philanthropist, Jack Ma is the cofounder of Alibaba, a conglomerate that’s focused on technology, artificial intelligence, retail, e-commerce, and the internet. If that leaves a lot to the imagination, think something along the lines of a combination of eBay and Amazon.
Something as impressive as starting a company and turning it into one as big as Alibaba naturally spark the interest of many. Getting a closer look at Ma’s history and tidbits about him could be just the thing to know more about how it came to be.
As of this writing, he’s behind only Tencent Holding’s CEO and chairman Ma Huateng, making him the second richest in China, according to Forbes. On the international stage, he’s in the 20th spot.
Beyond his home country of China, Ma may not be a household name such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, or Jeff Bezos just yet. However, all that has been changing since his accomplishments and whatnot have made their way to the worldwide scene.
For starters, Alibaba shares opened at $ 92.70 per piece, which is the biggest initial public offering or IPO in the history of the United States.
Now to whet the appetite: his real name is Ma Yun. That’s just one of the many amazing facts about Ma, and there’s a lot more to find out.
He Started Out As An English Teacher, Earning $ 12 To $ 15 Per Month
After he graduated from Hangzhou Teachers University – now known as Hangzhou Normal University – with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1988, Ma was the only one chosen out of 500 students to be a university teacher.
It was a stroke of good luck, and it was probably an honor. During his stint as an English teacher, he was earning somewhere between 100 to 120 Renminbi a month. At the time, that was equivalent to roughly about $ 12 to $ 15.
He spent a total of five years teaching before he moved on to other things, including but not limited to starting his own businesses.
He Learned English By Giving Visitors Tours Free Of Charge For 8 Years
When he was 12 years old, Ma had a strong desire to learn the English language.
To do that, he would give foreigners tours for free, riding his bicycle during the early hours of each morning to a hotel in Hangzhou that’s at least 40 minutes away.
He would then improve his English by conversing with the visitors as they go through the tours. Not only that, but he also learned “Western people’s system, ways, methods and techniques.” In that, he developed a globalized view, which was in conflict with what his teachers and studies taught him.
This went on for eight years.
He Flunked His University Application To Hangzhou Teachers’ University Not Once, But Twice
With billionaires such as Gates and Zuckerberg dropping out of Harvard University, it’s easy to mistake Ma as following in their footstep.
The thing is, his story didn’t go like that at all. He flunked his university admission exam at Hangzhou Teachers University two times. In an interview with Inc., he even said that the university could be considered as the worst in the city.
What’s more, he wasn’t really a good student to begin with.
“I failed a key primary school test two times, I failed the middle school test three times, I failed the college entrance exam two times and when I graduated, I was rejected for most jobs I applied for out of college,” he said.
Needless to say, Ma didn’t let his failures stop him or slow him down on his way to success.
He Was Rejected By Harvard 10 Times
During the World Economic Forum 2015, Ma revealed that he was rejected by Harvard University.
For most people, one rejection is enough to stop them, but that wasn’t the case for Ma. He applied over and over again to the university until he was rejected a total of 10 times.
“I applied for Harvard ten times, got rejected ten times and I told myself that ‘Someday I should go teach there,’” he said.
In 2002, he gave a speech in Harvard where he was called a “mad man” for his way of managing Alibaba by a CEO of a foreign company, whose mind was changed after Ma invited him for a three-day stay at his business.
Ma earned his Master of Business Administration degree or MBA from Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.
He Was Rejected For A Job Application At KFC
Right after leaving behind his five-year career as an English teacher in 1995, Ma started his search for other opportunities.
One of the 30 jobs he set his eyes on was a local KFC branch in Hangzhou, but he was rejected by the fast-food restaurant. To add insult to injury, he was the only applicant who was rejected out of 24 candidates. In other words, the other 23 people who applied got in, and Ma was the only person who didn’t get hired.
After that, he went on to pursue his own business, which was a small-time translation and interpretation company.
Read the source article in TechTimes.
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