I am one of few people who managed to become CEOs without university degree. I was born and raised in Dubai but my parents originated from India. Here is my true career story.
It happened that one of popular real estate companies which builds and let apartments in Dubai wanted to employ sales people. At that time my father was working for a mortgage company in Dubai and he had seen the vacancy. He told me to apply even if I had just completed high school. I was 18 by then.
I applied for the position and after 3 days, one of the company employees called me for an interview. After 15 minutes of questions, he told me to leave and wait for feedback after one week.
One week later,I remember I was taking tea when someone called me to congratulate me.He said he was calling from the company I had attended the interview and he was pleased to inform me that I had passed the interview. He told me to start work one week later.
The following week, fresh from high school, I started working as a sales person. My salary was AED1,000 at that time. My role was to link people who were looking for houses to the company houses.
At first it was tough for me.Imagine working for two weeks without any successful sale.I though I could be fired but one of my colleagues encouraged me to soldier on.
It took me three months to link one client to our company, and I was excited.
I realized from there that business is all about perseverance, especially when you are a sales person.
One year later I had developed permanent contacts with several people who referred friends to me.the following year,I was not straining to look for clients because I had several referrals.The work started being impressive as I surpassed the target.
At one time,my boss was so impressed with me and gave me AED 5,000 as a commission.I had not touched such money since I was born.That act motivated me even more.
Three years down the line,my work was recognized and I was promoted to the level of Assistant sales manager. I stayed at that position for 2 years,working harder than anyone in the company.At this time I knew how the systems worked and the dynamics of real estate industry.
One day,a position emerged where the Marketing Director had resigned to start her own real estate company.Since I was so junior I didn’t bother to apply but my immediate boss applied.
When I arrived in my house and told my father that there was an opprortunity but I didn’t apply,he was surprised.But I said,”Since I don’t have any important certificate,they won’t consider me”.He shook his head and told me,”go and apply, God will do the rest”
The following morning I went and applied for the position without even telling my immediate boss. I was shocked to be invited for the interview the following morning.
Two weeks later, our director called the two of us-my immediate boss and I-to his office.He told us that since I joined the company, the company had realized tremendous growth due to my efforts, and since they were looking at appraisal, they decided I should be the Marketing director.
Immediately after hearing that, my immediate boss resigned out of jealous. But I didn’t mind his actions.
I didn’t stay at this position for long before our Director was transferred to Qatar to head our regional office. His position was advertised and I applied again.
I think God was with me all along because I didn’t get any obstacle in getting the job.
After working for the company for 12 years, I was promoted to the position of CEO.I was now the head of the real estate company after working so hard to earn the title.
The lesson I have learnt from my experience is that when you are less educated, some people will take you for granted, others will be jealous when you deliver more than them. But your hard work will take you places.
The only thing that will make you successful is hard work and determination.
I have also realized that some companies don’t consider academic qualifications when awarding promotions-your hard work will bring the title.
Another lesson that I leant from my father is that you should not ignore small opportuntites,they can turn to be golden opportunities.