Chinese billionaire Jack Ma founded Alibaba, one of the world's largest e-commerce companies.
However, he thinks that even he would have a hard time landing a job in that company if he were to apply there today.
Too Much Emphasis On Academic Results
Speaking at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore, the 55-year-old who voluntarily stepped down as Alibaba's executive chairman last month, said that he and most of the other founders would have difficulty passing the initial screening in many of the most desirable companies in the world.
He explained that this is so because of a flaw in the international employment system that he said puts too much emphasis on academic results. Ma is known for struggling through school. He had also been rejected from 30 jobs before he started Alibaba in 1999.
"People like me, today, if I tried to apply (for a) job in Alibaba, it's almost impossible," Ma said, according to CNBC. "People judge you by your diploma.
He said that he met many other highly capable individuals who were rejected from good jobs simply because of their failure to perform academically. He cited two former colleagues who have founded Alipay and Taobao who failed to get into MBA courses because they flunked the math exams.
Helping The Next Generation Survive In The AI Era
The entrepreneur commented that academic checklists now become increasingly irrelevant in the fast-evolving digital age. He said that back in the industrial era, people had to remember faster, remember more and calculate faster, but these are the things that machines are now able to do much better.
He said that kids should learn how to be innovative, constructive, and creative so they can survive in the era of artificial intelligence.
"That is something I worry about. 20, 30 years on, our kids will never be able to survive because of the education we teach," he said.
Ma said he is planning to do philanthropic work in the education sector to better prepare the next generation for the shifting landscape. He wants to achieve this by encouraging greater independent thinking.