Alibaba founder Jack Ma is one of the richest people in the world, with a net worth of over $36 billion according to Forbes. But there was a time when he couldn’t even get a job at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The early rejection taught him an important business lesson: “You have to get used to failure,” he says, speaking at the University of Nairobi.
After college, Ma applied for 30 jobs in his home city of Hangzhou, China. He was rejected from every one.
At KFC, 24 people applied for the job, says Ma, and while 23 were hired — he wasn’t one of them.
The same thing happened when he tried to be a cop. This time four of five applicants were hired, all except Ma.
Another time Ma lost out on a job to his own blood.
“My cousin and I waited for two hours [in a] long queue to be the waiter for the four star hotel in my city, on a very hot day,” he says. “My cousin’s score was much lower than mine, [but] he was accepted and I was rejected!”
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