Mark Zuckerberg says he learned more from a hobby than he did at Harvard

Zuckerberg: Having a hobby can make you better at your job

Mark Zuckerberg may be one of the most influential tech and business leaders on the planet today, but when he started out he was just another college student with a hobby.

That side project, a small social media website for Harvard University students, is now a global company that brought in more than $27 billion in revenue last year.

Although it would be unreasonable to think that every professional's extracurricular pursuit will become the next Facebook, Zuckerberg says that having a side project is one of the most important things young professionals can do.

"At Facebook we often ask [job candidates], 'What is something that you've built that is outside of the jobs you've done?'" Zuckerberg says, speaking at a town-hall event at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University that was broadcast on Facebook Live.

"Often that's one of the best ways people can show passion and leadership," he says.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Having a side project shows a prospective employer that you're committed to and truly interested in a topic, he says. And that sets you apart.

What is something that you've built that is outside of the jobs you've done?
Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook co-founder and CEO

Zuckerberg also says having a venture outside of work will help you learn new skills.

"I probably learned more coding from random side projects that I did than the courses I took in college," he says.

Though he's busy running a company, the Facebook CEO still makes time to pursue other interests.

His current side project? Traveling the country meeting and talking with residents of all 50 states.

"I could spend all my time running in Facebook[...]," he says, "but I want to make sure I'm a more well-rounded person."

Check out his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs

Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg believe the same philosophy made them successful