In light of his visit to Manila last week, businessman Jack Ma’s name has been adorning Filipino news headlines.
His “no good” verdict on the local internet connection was a hit, too.
A few days before his trip, De La Salle University posted a teaser of the magnate’s upcoming stop to the academe. Even without mention of Ma, the online audience seemed to have figured out the puzzle, and became very excited for it.
On the big day, some even lined up early for tickets to his event.
But who is Jack Ma?
Well, for one, he is the founder of Alibaba, China’s top e-commerce company, and has been named many times as China’s richest man, alternating with other successful executives in his country.
But aside from that, he’s also number of other things and had his fair share of struggles that brought him to where he is now.
Find out why he’s one of the most sought-after and admired business personalities today with these 5 facts:
1. He was no Harvard graduate.
Unlike many popular business people, Jack Ma did not graduate from a prominent business school or university. He took a shot at entering Harvard but only to be rejected 10 times. He later got into Hangzhou Teachers University, which, according to him, was even deemed as the “worst university” of his city.
This just shows that a famous Alma mater is not necessary for you to reach your goals and be successful.
2. He graduated with a degree in English and was a teacher by profession.
Ma started to learn the English language at age 12. One of his strategies was to guide foreign tourists around his city so that he’d develop his skills. In fact, he got his English name “Jack” from one of his adventures as a tour guide.
Later on, he’d pursue English in college. He applied and was rejected for multiple jobs before landing a stint as an English teacher at a university.
3. He started Alibaba in his apartment.
Sometimes, it’s hard to think that something big as a billion venture would start very small, but believe it or not, that’s how things are for most prosperous businesses. The difference comes in how much time and dedication one would spend on that small dream.
The same goes with Jack Ma’s company. According to Alibaba Group’s site, the company began with just 18 people, its first headquarters situated in Ma’s apartment.
4. His recent trip to Manila only lasted a day.
How much can you do in a day? For Jack Ma, much. According to a report by Rappler, the businessman was able to successfully carry out a packed 24-hour schedule in Manila, including his reception of his honorary degree at De La Salle University, meetings with Philippine business partners, and a courtesy call with President Rodrigo Duterte.
5. He’s no longer Alibaba’s CEO but is still very influential.
Though he is known as the man behind Alibaba Group, he no longer runs the company as CEO as he stepped down in 2013, saying that he’s “no longer young enough to run such a fast-growing business” and conveyed his belief in the potential of their young employees.
Ma still plays a key role in the company as the chairman, and has expressed in interviews his desire of going back to teaching.
Featured photo from Bloomberg