Countries with High English Proficiency Are More Innovative

HBR STAFF

Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, is one of the world’s most successful Internet entrepreneurs. But Ma has never written a line of code. He did not train as an engineer. Instead, Ma studied English in college, and worked as an English teacher and translator before diving into entrepreneurship.

That doesn’t surprise me. Ma’s bilingualism helped him work effectively across cultures and borders, and to pick up on global trends that gave him a critical edge in the 1990s as the...

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