Learnings from Jack Ma

Jack Ma’s Journey From $12 per month to $46.3 Billion Net Worth

An employee earning $12 per month rising as China’s third wealthiest person, Jack Ma is a man of perseverance. With a net worth of $51.5 billion (as of April 2021), his story is a perfect example of a rags-to-riches story.

Widely known as the Chinese business magnet, Jack Ma is the founder and CEO of Alibaba Group, the multinational technology company specialising in e-commerce, retail, Internet and technology. Here are some takeaways from the journey of this billionaire entrepreneur for all the aspiring and budding entrepreneurs.

5 Learnings For Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

You have to start somewhere

Jack Ma was born and raised in a communist Chinese society. Without having a strong financial background or connections, Ma learned that only education can lead him to success. This made him an enthusiast for learning English and ended up in one of China’s local teacher’s institutes.

From making $12 a month at a local university, which was his first job, to creating a net worth of $51.5 billion, Jack Ma has established himself as an influential figure in the startup businesses sphere.


Jack Ma dealt with a number of failures all his life. Starting from his school days, Ma failed his final exams thrice before passing. He even failed the entrance exams for colleges before getting in Huangzhou Normal University.

Along with his educational phase, his early entrepreneurial ventures were a disaster too. He failed in two of his initial internet ventures and made it in his third chance. Alibaba, his third company, took off and created a buzz in the e-commerce industry with a legendary IPO by setting a world record as the biggest offering in the history of business.

This explains that all these failures didn’t stop him in any way from dreaming bigger rather taught him to value his work more.


Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.


If anyone knows how to overcome rejections, then it is Jack Ma. He received more than a dozen rejections, starting from his college days. After graduating with a degree in English he applied to 30 jobs and was rejected in each one of them. He even applied for a police academy with 5 others but was not even considered for it. He was the only one turned down for the job because he was “no good”.

With minimal job options, he applied for Harvard scholarship but was turned down 10 times. In an interview, Jack Ma once mentioned that when KFC came to China, 24 people went for the job. He was the only one who was rejected for the position and the other 23 were offered the job.

Being Persistent

Despite all the rejections and failures, Ma persisted throughout. He accepted his failures and allowed himself to stretch his vision for a better future. He managed to procure a gig with English translation services and went to the US as a translator. This was the breakthrough of his life. He was introduced to the internet and from there he started his second company ‘Chinapage’. This particular phase of his life gave him the opportunity to make connections in the business world.

Had he been not persistent, he would have never landed on the right path and Alibaba would never have been born. Making every challenge, rejection and hardship an opportunity to knock a new door and keeping a wide lens helped him through his tough times.

Never Give Up

Jack Ma’s struggle with hardships and desire for a successful life is inspiring for the budding entrepreneurs. Going far beyond his financial and professional capabilities has made him what he is today. His never giving up attitude towards life is what all entrepreneurs and small business owners should learn from.

Vaishali Das
Vaishali Das
Vaishali writes on financial concepts, business-life-cycle, start-ups and entrepreneurship. An alumna of Delhi University she specialises in digital publishing and SEO.



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