CEO at the age of 22

Md Saifullah | Update:

Shadman Sadab."Do not ask about my CGPA, please," quipped a smiling Shadman Sadab.

The 22-year-old is now the chief executive officer (CEO) of Hong Kong-based development firm Future City Summit (FCS) Limited.

Shadman, son of Hassanuzzaman and Sabira Hassan, finished his graduation from the Department of Television and Film Studies of Dhaka University. He joined as the CEO of the Hong Kong-based company even before his final result was published. Certainly, what’s in a CGPA?

The FCS organises an international conference every year that aims to build a future city. Since the inception of the firm in 2016, the range of their work has expanded every day.

It is conducting various programmes in different countries of the world. They include finding problems in different cities of developing countries, establishing a link between the authorities concerned and the enterprising youth, arranging investment for potential enterprises, training for the development of youths and so on. All the programmes now are run under Shadman's leadership.

Hong Kong's André Coke is the founder and chairman of FCS. India's T-Hub founder Sreenivas Kallipara, convenor of Hong Kong's organisation Make A Difference Ada Ying Kay Yong, executive council of Hong Kong SAR Government member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and many others are the advisers to the company. Shadman Sadab is from Narayanganj. What motivated him to become the chief executive officer of an organisation of such a large caliber?

Shadman was admitted to Notre Dame College in 2011 after passing SSC exams from Narayanganj Ideal School. Every morning he came to Dhaka by train. He commuted by the same train for classes in Dhaka University. What was the goal of life then? Shadman said, "There was no goal at all. I had no clue what I was doing and why.”

“The time spent on university campus was like a dream. When I returned home by train, it felt like I was returning from the dream to reality." Shadman’s family shifted to Dhaka when he was a second year student.

Shadman was a little introvert as a child. At Notre Dame College he discovered that there were lots to do besides just studying. He used to participate in different programmes and festivals held throughout the year.

He came to know about outsourcing and its possibilities after getting admitted to Dhaka University. He started giving private tuitions to earn his pocket money. He also worked for the British Council, Ten Minute School, and Bloodman, an application-based organisation.

“When did you study?” Shadman candidly said, “Honestly speaking, I was not much studious. It seemed as if we had a big distance from the world of realities with our education system. Alongside my studies, I wanted to learn how to work.”

The big opportunity to learn the work came in 2016. Shadman Sadab came to know that there would be a conference called Future City Summit in Hong Kong. He also got the opportunity to take part in the conference. He did not know at the time that the certificates given in the conference would contain his signature some day.

"My objective in the Future City Summit of 2016 was to meet as many people as possible. I talked to the people of different countries, organisers of the programmes, speakers, officials of government and private organisations.

Shadman’s entire focus is on networking. He understood the importance of increasing contacts with people. In the next two years, he participated in a number of conferences, training and competitions in the UK, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

He developed a warm relationship with the FCS founder André Coke. He then started working as the FCS’ director in Bangladesh in 2017. Later he was appointed as the executive of the international relations and communication department of the organisation. Then the big surprise came in 2018.

Why a young boy from Bangladesh? André Coke replied, “Shadman had a natural propensity to be an entrepreneur. The dream of building a future city, the whole of it, is dependent on innovative initiatives and leadership. I think he has potential.”

*The piece originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat

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