India has some of the biggest start-up hubs which are increasing day by day. From garages to tall skyscrapers, many are forming their fortune. Be it a CEO of your venture or becoming a CEO in an established company, the path is indeed difficult. So, how does one start young to become a CEO one day?
First, let’s understand “Is there an age requirement to be the CEO of a company?”
Well, if you are an entrepreneur, you can be a CEO even as a teenager. Although if you are an employee, it may take a decade or two given your calibre and opportunities you have or create to reach this position. But, in a nutshell, no, there is no age requirement to become a CEO.
Well, as we mentioned above, you can be a CEO as soon as you become an entrepreneur as they overlook the entire organization, create future visions, and ensure that the company works towards the same as a team. So, you can be a CEO as soon as teenage to till your 70th birthday (in India). In India, RBI or Reserve Bank of India has set the maximum age limit for MD and CEO or WTD to be 70 years.
At the same time, in small & medium organizations with at least 5 years of management experience minimum and a maximum of 15 years can be required to secure the CEO position.
For a larger company or an MNC, it could be a decade or two, even less than that given your professional growth. As we mentioned above, it depends on the opportunities you create for yourself. Some young CEOs across the world showcase that if you have the skills, luck is in your favour, and are recognised as a “the man” for the job.
From the world’s largest social networking platform Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg who created his own business and still leads as the CEO to Twitter’s CEO and one of youngest to lead a technology firm, Parag Agarwal, several Young CEOs in the world have carved their way either through the conventional way or by making their own. Have a look:
There are many exceptions to the typical way to become a CEO. People have made it as CEOs in different scenarios like women who have carbed their space in a business with their family and children.
Many drop-out entrepreneurs are on the list of the richest people in America. But they are also CEOs who have carved their journey as a start-up owner.
As a young student, you can focus on building your leadership skills, communication skills, grab knowledge about your industry and CEO's role. Actually a lot of things mentioned below are similar, except education.
So, let us assume, the question of how a professional can map his/her/their way to being a CEO at a large company typically.
Graduation: Well, unlike entrepreneurship, under or post-graduation is usually required to be hired at a large organization. You can choose to have a bachelors in your field of technology, management, etc. It is the minimum requirement for most CEOs.
Drive: One must have the drive to learn after being hired. It implies taking on new projects, working long hours, learning and acquiring skills, and indeed adding value to the company. This drive will also include willingness to relocate, regardless of the work-life imbalance it may cause.
Understand the Role: Just eyeing the CEO’s role as a professional in a company won’t be of any help. You must know what is it like to be an entrepreneur? What skills do you need? Find yourself a mentor who works with CEOs and shape your career in a way to reach that position. Especially in the large organization.
Clever Mindedness: Once you are in the race to the top, it is indeed like a chess game wherein you have to play well seamlessly playing each stroke carefully. Be it undermining less talented superiors without being caught or any move from the leading from the front. More like Harvey from Suits with or without your Mike!
Have an excellent Memory: We cannot mention Mike and not talk about memory, can we. Now, it is not important if you have a photographic memory. But a memory that allows you to remember who helped and who owes you!
No Leaves: Since we mentioned Suits, well, another few traits you can pick up from Harvey is never being absent. You cannot afford that if you are seeking a high-level position as a CEO. You can risk losing opportunities especially when you are working at a large corporation playing against the giants. Hence, no sick leaves, no vacation, or maternity leaves.
Guilt-Free: You cannot be leading a firm and overthinking whether you deserve what you are receiving. If your company is making millions a year, you have the right to every hour, day, the weekend you spent at work to make it happen. You deserve it.
Learning: Well, at last, it is key to remember it is not the end of the journey. Being a CEO means starting a journey towards more learning, self-awareness, and humbleness.