“I applied for Harvard ten times, got rejected ten times, and I told myself that ‘Someday I should go teach there’ ” – Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group.
Jack Ma (Ma Yun) is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group. His road to success involves failure, rejection, fighting, resolve, hard work, agility and vision. He encountered numerous failures and rejections, and was even once termed crazy. His father cautioned him about his peculiar “dangerous” ideas that could lead him to imprisonment during the early days.
Ma graduated with a MBA from Cheung Kong University while establishing Alibaba in the early 2000s. Although he has his concerns about traditional teaching methods, particularly at business institutions, he has passion for academics. Ma was a university English teacher, and talks about teaching again someday in the future.
In addition, through Ma’s speeches about his early, innovative years, one can deduce that Ma learned most by experimenting, observing and questioning the status quo. These skills helps him to form a 4-dimensional perspective and notice opportunities that others fail to identify.
Ma was introduced to the Internet during his first visit to the United States in 1995, and was surprised to learn that China is not part of the online network. It was then, he identified potential business opportunities of the Internet and how it could make easy for small and medium Chinese enterprises to do business with the rest of the world.
In 2005, after Ma and Alibaba made amendments to their operations and successfully drove eBay out of China with the help of Jerry Young of Yahoo; Ma got Yahoo to invest a total of USD 1 Billion in exchange for a 40% stake in Alibaba. Besides getting crucial funds to help Alibaba to execute its international growth strategy, that investment earned Alibaba a valuation of USD 2.5 billion.
In 2014, Ma and his team listed Alibaba in the NYSE stock exchange in the United States, and managed to raise in excess of USD 20 billion for the company; making Alibaba one of the world’s largest companies outside of the United States with a market capitalisation of approximately USD 200 billion.
Ma and his team are turning Alibaba holding group into a large conglomerate by acquiring smaller companies in various sectors.