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Cytonn boss talks of what it takes to become a CEO

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Ever dreamt of becoming a top man in a big company? Well, that was the dream most if not all of us had while we were growing up.

However, many gave up the dream once they realized it took a lot to be one while others were resilient and are now leading big companies. Business Today caught up with one of Nairobi’s top CEO who talked of his journey to get to where he is.

Edwin Dande, Cytonn Investments CEO, had a tough journey that came to pay off after years of hard work and toil. Talking to a Business Today reporter, Dande talked of his journey before and after he got into the business World.

“First of all, a CEO is just a glorified administrator because what you do every day is mainly administration,” Dande says humourously when asked of what it takes to become a CEO.

His journey started right after high school. He traveled abroad for further education immediately after high school and it is there that he acquired the skills and life lessons he uses up to today. While abroad, Dande learnt what it really takes to become a CEO even though he did not realize it then.

If you are thinking of disregarding this article because you think studying abroad means you had a smooth life, you are going about it the wrong way. The hardest part of Dande’s journey was schooling in the US.

“I was working a full-time job while going to school. During the day I was a student, at night I was a watchman,” Dande recalls, “I liked that job because the place had cameras so I could do my studies as I watched the premises.”

[Read: Cytonn CEO Edwin Dande wishes he left Britam quietly]

Apart from being a watchman, he did a lot of other jobs like pushing carts in Supermarkets, grounds work and was even a waiter at some point. Why do all this you may ask, to get money for his upkeep and pay fees as well. All this hustle of doing multiple jobs came to pay off when he finally graduated.

In an exclusive interview with a Business Today reporter, Dande talks of resilience as one of the key attributes one has to possess in order to become a CEO. From his own story, had he not been resilient through the hustle of doing multiple jobs and attending classes at the time, he probably would not have graduated.

After graduation, the Cytonn boss started secured his first job in business as an accountant in New Jersey. He worked at Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) in New Jersey for three years and decided to go back to school to do his masters in Finance. At this time he was pretty much comfortable abroad and not likely to come back.

Dande was forced to come back to Kenya during the global financial crisis. Back in the country, he secured a job with Britam where he worked for three years. He liaised with his colleagues at Britam and made a collective decision to leave the company and start Cytonn Investments.

Resilience and hard work played a key part in Dande’s journey to becoming Cytonn’s top man. Attributes he says one must possess to become a CEO. According to Dande, hard work, resilience and having a good team are what it takes to lead a company.

Do you have what it takes?

[See also: Cytonn CEO explains risk of off plan real estate investments]

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Kevin Namunwa
Kevin Namunwahttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Kevin Namunwa is a senior reporter for Business Today. Email at [email protected].
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