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21 most successful business men under the age of FORTY.

here is much inspiration to be drawn from the first The Economic Times-Spencer Stuart '40 under 40' listing of India's hottest young executives. 

First, talented and ambitious professionals and first-generation entrepreneurs have as good a chance of making it big as scions of business families. Twenty-five professionals and eight entrepreneurs made the cut in a list which also had seven inheritors. Second, while a marquee MBA certainly helps, it is not the only rapid way into the corner room. Seventeen chosen in this nationwide hunt for 40 top CEO-level executives under 40 years of age made the grade without an MBA.
Third, men still outnumber women, but there are already more women in this list than the number of women CEOs among the 30 BSE Sensex companies. Expect their numbers to grow in the coming years. Lastly, ET and Spencer Stuart, an executive search and leadership consulting firm, started this exercise with a first list of about 2,000 candidates who have achieved more than a fair measure of success before they turn 40.
This bears testimony to the fact that exciting young talent is indeed forcing its way up the ranks in India Inc. Whittling that list down to a short list of 80 contenders was a challenging exercise. And it needed all the combined wisdom of the jury — Deepak Parekh (chairman), Subodh Bhargava, Anjali Bansal, Janmejaya Sinha, Harish Manwani, D Shivakumar and Sanjeev Bikhchandani — to pick the final 40.
The study finds resonance in the Indian demographic context — the average age in India is 28 and 74% of the country's population is below the age of 40. "This demographic gives us an edge over other countries like China, " HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh said, speaking at an event organised to felicitate those who had made it into the '40 under 40' list. "But it may also create strife in society if we are unable to meet employment needs." 
What do the people in our list advise those aspiring to be future leaders? Dhiraj Rajaram of Mu-Sigma calls for faith in the vision. 
"If people connect with your vision, they will stay with you — be it investors, customers or employees." Adds Parag Shah of Mahindra Partners: "Hire people smarter than you and empower them." 
"The CEO's job is to inspire and get out of the way," says social entrepreneur Ashwin Naik of Vaatsalya. "Stand up and dust yourself every time you fall," offers Aditya Ghosh of IndiGo. 
Here's the list of India's hottest young executives:

1. Vijay Shekhar Sharma,37, Chairman & Managing Director - Paytm/One97

Education: DCE (B.E., Electronics and Communications)
Previous Jobs: RiverRun Software and Intersolutions India
Claim to fame: Youngest engineer from Delhi University
Best advice anybody gave me: Mostly came from my investors
Success to me is: Creating a product that makes the lives of a billion people simpler
My favorite people: Jack Ma, Masa ( Masayoshi Son), Steve Jobs, Rupert Murdoch and Sunil Mittal. All of them were underdogs who ended up creating business empires even when they were written off at different points in time.
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old: To create incredible consumer tech products
How I unwind: Love high adrenaline activities. I regularly go rafting, have done bungee jumping and skydiving. Music helps me relax. I usually drive a BMW and listen to music. U2 and Coldplay are my favorite bands. I also like to listen to Cuban jazz and the blues. And I mostly go to sleep listening to western classical music. 
My favorite song: Where Streets Have No Name by U2

2. Rakshit Desai, 39, Managing Director, FCm Travel Solutions and Flight Shop

Education: London School of Economics(Msc), Griffith University (MBA), Sydenham College (B.Com)
Previous Jobs: Thomas Cook, Roland Berger, Claim to fame: Transformation (turnarounds and scale-ups) of multiple businesses in the UK, Canada and India
Best advice anybody gave me: As I was flying the coop, my granddad said "remember, there is dignity in labour" 
My favourite people: The Wright brothers, Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir David Attenborough, my mum and granny
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old: Footloose and fancy free! I hadn't the foggiest idea. Still waiting for some of that fog to lift
What do I want to be when I'm 50: A good father, son, husband, brother, friend and colleague. If there is one thing I would like to change about myself: Get fit again
How I unwind: Long walks on the beach with my wife Khyati
My favourite book: The Fountainhead
Favourite Song: Pink Floyd's Brick in the wall
Who do I want to be when I am 50: Making a difference

3. Nishant Rao, 36, Managing Director, LinkedIn India

Education: MIT Sloan (MBA); University of Texas at Austin (Computer Science
Previous Jobs: LinkedIn, McKinsey Co, Ariba, Epicenter, Microsoft
Claim to fame: Founded India's first voice-based call centre in the late 90s
Success to me is: Being able to look myself in the eye and say that I truly gave it my best shot, irrespective of the actual outcome
My favourite people: My two year old, who is helping me re-learn the zest for life
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old: A successful software developer starting my journey as a continuous learner
One thing I would like to change about myself: Live more in the present.
How I unwind: Spending time with my family, listening to music, watching sports, comedy on TV
My favourite book: Good to Great, Tuesdays with Morrie
My favourite movies: 3 Idiots, My Cousin Vinny
My favourite sport: Cricket, American football (NFL)
Who do I want to be when I am 50: A successful tech entrepreneur starting my journey as a teacher

4. Jairam Sridharan, 40 President, Retail Lending and Payments, Axis Bank

Education: IIT Delhi (Chem. Engg.), IIM Calcutta (PGDM)
Previous Jobs: ICICI Bank, Capital One Inc
Claim to fame: Led the transformation of Axis into a retail bank
Best advice anybody gave me: Finish what you start, Shikha Sharma
How I unwind: I read - about 40 books a year, literary fiction, business, behavioral economics, politics. Traveling with my family
Success to me is: Making my parents proud and moving the needle - making an impact on my business, my bank, the industry, society at large
My favourite people: Warren Buffett - for his intellect, clarity of thought and folksy wit; M.S.Dhoni - for his leadership skills, his composure under pressure
What did I want to be when I was 20 yrs old: Anything but a chemical engineer!
If there is one thing I would like to change about myselfTalk less, listen more
My favourite book: Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie and The Harry Potter series 
My favourite movie: This year - Margarita with a Straw
Who do I want to be when I am 50: A published author

5. Deepak Dhar, 40, MD and CEO, Endemol India

Education: Electronics Engineering Previous Jobs: MTV, Star TV
Claim to fame: Introducing disruptive and differentiated content to Indian television
Best advice anybody gave me: It's not about auditions, it's about emotions, Sameer Nair, and Rajesh Kamat's lessons on the business of entertainment.
Success to me is: I think my favourite quote sums it rather well: 'The elevator to success is out of order. You will have to use the staircase. One step at a time.'
My favourite people: Amitabh Bachchan - he's a powerhouse of talent and an amazing human being, he's the only person I have ever been star struck to meet
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old: Cricketer - I was really into the sport and have played cricket at the state level If there is one thing I would like to change about myself Taking some time out to explore the places that I visit on business trips
How I unwind: Listen to music and watch movies and play a lot of racquet sports
My favourite book: Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle by Dan Senor
My favourite sport: Cricket
My favourite movie: The Godfather
My favourite song: Winds of Change by Scorpions
Who do I want to be when I am 50: Organic Farmer

6.Gaurang Pandya, 38, President, India Operations, UTC

Previous Jobs: None. 16 years at UTC
Claim to fame: Leading the Carrier Guam business at the age of 28
Best advice anybody gave me: "Take a flyer" or take risks on people you see potential in, you will be surprised on their achievements and they will be the highlight of your tenure
Success to me is: Leaving a solid legacy and being able to move to the next role by making myself redundant 
My favourite people: My parents, my wife and our kids
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old: A sportsperson
If there is one thing I would like to change about myself: Spend more time with family and friends 
How I unwind: A round of golf and driving my car
My favourite sport: Football
Who do I want to be when I am 50: A sportsperson in a different avatar 
7. Amit Agarwal, 40, Vice President and Country Manager, Amazon India,
Education: B.Tech Computer Science, IIT Kanpur; Masters Computer Science, Stanford University
Previous Jobs: 16 years at Amazon
Claim to fame: Made the largest online store in India within a year of its launch
Best advice anybody gave me: Your character is reflected not in the gifts you're endowed with but by the choices you make over the course of a lifetime, Jeff Bezos and my father
Success to me is: About feeling happy.
My favourite people: My father for his humility, hard work and optimism; and Jeff Bezos for his customer obsession, innovation, and long-term thinking. The 'women' in my life - my mom, wife, sister and my daughter.
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old: Complete my PhD and teach. If there is one thing I would like to change about myself Be able to savour the moment in its entirety without being distracted
How I unwind: Listen to classic rock and Kishore Kumar songs; cross-fit and running; playing with my kids; strumming my guitar
My favourite book: Built to Last by Jim Collins
My favourite song: Anything sung by Kishore Kumar
My favourite movie: Deewar (Hindi) and Rocky (English)
Who do I want to be when I am 50: Happy with my choices and still building and innovating

8. Prashant Sarin, 38, Partner, Bain and Company

Education: M. Litt, Oxford University (Rhodes Scholar), PGDM, IIM Calcutta, B. Engg, Delhi College of Engineering
Previous Jobs: HP Labs
Claim to fame: First MBA student from India to receive the Rhodes Scholarship
Best advice anybody gave me: Seek significance rather than success, in your personal and professional life, former managing partner at Bain
How I unwind: Spending time with my family, I love the joy of simple routines with my children and reliving my own childhood through parenting 

Success to me is: A successful life is an interesting one - which requires a balanced, highly diversified portfolio of people, interests and activities.

My favorite people: My children are constant reminders of 'living in the moment', E Sreedharan What did I want to be when

What did I want to be when I was 20 years old: A journalist 

Who do I want to be when I am 50: Continue to work with change-oriented executives who want to transform their industries and communities

If there is one thing I would like to change about myself: I can be obsessive about work to the exclusion of everything else. As my children get older, I need to become better at multi-tasking, and developing a better work-life balance

My favourite sports: Running, swimming, soccer and miscellaneous word games

9. Manjari Upadhye, 39, Associate Director, Cadbury Dairy Milk Equity, Asia Pacific Region, Education: MBA (FMS), 

Previous Jobs: PepsiCo, Colgate Palmolive and Ocean Spray Cranberries USA

Claim to fame: Launching Gluco+
Best advice anybody gave me: My Grandmom - You can only do what you can do
Success to me is: Delivering quality work within the timeline and costs required
My favorite people: My family & Madonna
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old: A renowned geneticist
Who do I want to be when I am 50: A renowned human being
If there is one thing I would like to change about myself:Stop overthinking
How I unwind: Watch a movie alone with caramel popcorn & diet soda
10. Kedar Lele, 39, Vice President - Modern Trade, e-Commerce & Institutional Business, Hindustan Unilver,
Education: ISB Hyderabad (MBA); Mudra Institute of Communications (PGDPC), The Bhopal School of Social Sciences (BComm)
Previous Jobs: India; BPL Innovision Business Group; D.D.B. Mudra Communications
Claim to fame: Took over the smallest branch of HUL in Eastern region and made it the fastest growing in the three year period of 2010 to 2014, crossing a turnover of over 5,000 Cr
Success to me is: Being able to make a real difference
My favorite people: Harish Manwani and Amitabh Bachchan for reinventing himself again & again 
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old: I wanted to be a District Magistrate (DM) who would ensure law & order, drive development of the area and encourage the society at large to practice social discipline and inculcate civic sense
Who do I want to be when I am 50: A teacher, an angel investor, leadership coach. Hopefull I'll be done with running the corporate race by then
If there is one thing I would like to change about myself: My inability to say No. I just don't get down to saying that I have had enough for a day. The innate desire to do many diverse things puts tremendous pressure on my time and that leads to my spending little time with my family & children.
How I unwind: A round of Golf, a weekend movie with my wife Shweta and a trip to the club with my two sons
My favourite movie: Everything Amitabh Bachchan
My favourite song: Tum saath ho jab apne, duniya ko dikha denge.
11. Amisha Jain, 38, COO - Product Merchandising and Brand Management, Arvind Internet
Education: INSEAD (MBA); University of Texas Austin (MS Electrical Engineering); MS University (BE Electronics Engineering)
Previous Jobs: Nike India, McKinsey & Company, Motorola Inc.
Claim to fame: The launch of Nike's House of Cricket and House of Football retail concept in an MBO environment
Best advice anybody gave me: Remember you are in the Race of One — You strive to be better than yourself, others don't matter, my husband
How I unwind: With a book on my patio
Success to me is: Not about delivering against a vision or goal — that is a given. Real success is when every member of the team has delivered their best while working towards a goal and learned and grown along the way.
My favourite people: My mother.
What did I want to be when I was 20 years old: I wanted to end up at NASA in space research! Thanks to my husband part of that dream is fulfilled and I own a telescope now
If there is one thing I would like to change about myself: Would like to find a way to spend more time on my personal interests
My favourite sport: Roller blading (if we can call it a sport?)
Who do I want to be when I am 50: Heading a portfolio which delivers products and services catering to a better consumer lifestyle
12. Siddharth Adya, 40, Position: Vice President, Regional Lead - South Asia, APL Logistics
Education: Delhi University (BA, Economics), Asian Institute of Management, Manila (MBA), 
Claim to fame: Moved the business away from just traditional logistics operations to a more solutions driven model, focused on value creation for the customer
Sidharth adhya
Best advice anybody gave me: No person or job is big or small. It is our thinking and approach that makes the difference
Success to me is: Knowing that my achievements create positive value, help me provide for my family and contribute to a better life for people around me
My favourite people: My grandfather taught me the meaning of greatness and how it has nothing to do with the material things in life
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old: I wanted to join the army
Who do I want to be when I am 50: At the helm of a successful commercial enterprise

13. Bhavish Aggarwal, 29 Co- founder and CEO, Ola

Education: IIT Bombay (Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science)
Previous Jobs: Microsoft Research
Claim to fame: Launched India's first mobile application for personal transportation. Now India's fastest growing personal transportation network/app. Fastest Indian startup to enter the UnicornBSE 0.00 % club
bhavish agarwal
Best advice anybody gave me: Do or do not, there is no try (Yoda)
Success to me is: The daily journey of following your dream and taking incremental steps towards it
My favourite people: Jack Ma, Steve Jobs
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old: An entrepreneur
How I unwind: Cycling and playing squash
My favourite book: The Starbucks Experience- 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary and Insanely Simple
My favorite movie: Senna

14. Nitin Prasad, 38, Managing Director,Shell Lubricants India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

Education: INSEAD (MBA), Georgia Institute of Technology (BSEE)
Previous Jobs: Altera (USA)
Claim to fame: Turnaround of underperforming businesses
nitin prasad
Best advice anybody gave me: Never stop learning!
Success to me is: To be remembered as a leader who made a real difference in people's careers and lives
My favorite people: Both my grandfathers who showed me how to be a leader who can recognize and unleash the potential in others
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old: At 20, I was working in Silicon Valley and passionate about innovation, technology, about creating something that would last. And that hasn't changed!
Who do I want to be when I am 50: Still hungry for the next challenge, willing to take risks and learn new things
If there is one thing I would like to change about myself: To be more artistic and multi-lingual
How I unwind: It is a combination of sports - football, diving, skiing, sailing, golf; and exploring the world with my wife, trying great food and drinking good wine.
My favorite sport: I love skiing, diving and sailing.
My favourite music: I love jazz

15.Radhika Piramal, 37, Managing Director, VIP Industries

Education: University of Oxford, Harvard Business School
Previous Jobs: Bain and Co.
Claim to fame: Diversified from luggage to lifestyle by launching Caprese handbags
radhika piramal
My favourite people: Roger Federer
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old: MD of VIP Industries
What I want to be when I'm 50: MD of VIP Industries, which will get 2/3 of revenues from lifestyle brands by the time I'm 50.
If there is one thing I would like to change about myself: Be more patient
My favourite movie: If Lord of the Rings Trilogy is on, I can't turn it off.

16.Ashish Hemrajani, 40, Founder, CEO, BigTree Entertainment

Education: Sydenham College (MBA)
Previous Jobs: 2 years at JWT
Claim to fame: Founder, BookMyShow
ashish hemrajani
What do I want to be when I'm 50: Sailing Around the world
How I unwind: Never miss a chance to go sailing
My favourite song: Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan

17.Rakesh Kumar, 38, Sales Director, Pepsico India

EducationIMT Ghaziabad (PGDBM), University of Delhi (Bachelor's)
Previous Jobs: ConAgra Foods
Claim to fame: One of the youngest sales directors at PepsiCo. Winner of Pepsico's President's Ring of Honour, Chairman's Award and "I-Care Manager" award
rakesh kumar
Who do I want to be when I am 50: Fighting fit and making progress
If there is one thing I would like to change about myself:Make time to stay in touch with old friends and colleagues.
How I unwind: Squash in the morning
My favourite song: Kabhi Kabhi

18.Mukesh Bansal, 39, CEO, Myntra, Head of Commerce, Flipkart

Education: IIT-Kanpur (B.Tech, Computer Science)
Previous Jobs: Multiple early stage start-ups in Silicon Valley [NexTag, eWanted, Centrata, newScale]
Claim to fame: Building and launching Myntra as India's largest online product personalisation platform in 2007
Success to me is: Being happy, challenging myself and doing things differently all the time.
How I unwind: Reading, playing sports like golf occasionally and enjoy regular fitness sessions.
My favourite book: Guns, Germs and Steel, A Short History of Nearly Everything and Black Swan

19. Nitin Kukreja, 38, President and Head of sports, STAR India

Education: Values from parents, commerce from SRCC, thinking from IIM-A, business and management from my boss and now patience from my kids.
Previous Jobs: 3 days as a shirt salesman; 4 years in PwC, an articled clerk and then a qualified Chartered Accountant; 3 years in Morgan Stanley
Claim to fame: Being a quiet part of a very visible revolution in Indian sports that's happening from cricket and kabaddi to football
nitin kukreja
Best advice anybody gave me: Never mix strategy with execution - and he who said it knows who it is!
Success to me is: A kabaddi mat in every school in India - and kids lining up to play.
My favourite people: Calvin - not the theologian but the one who is friends with Hobbes. Simple philosophies on life through the lens of a kid
If there is one thing I would like to change about myself: Would like to spend more time on relationships - personal and professional
How I unwind: It used to be a sports channel - but now that's work! So it's a mindless Arnold Schwarzenegger action film, a video game or a comic
My favourite book, movie, song: My iPhone isn't it all of the above?
Who do I want to be when I am 50: Stay 20 years old

20. Sanjay Gupta, 37, Head Marketing For Youth, Wellness, Marico

Education:Harvard, MDI (MBA), SRCC (Economics)
Previous Jobs:Accenture and Purple Squirrel
Claim to fame:Building Saffola, into one of India most valuable brands
sanjay Gupta
Best advice anybody gave me:Be a good human being, my dad
How I unwind:Spending time with my childhood sweetheart, my wife
Success to me is:Creating success for people around you
My favorite people:My parents for all that they have taught me and their unconditional love
What did I want to be when I was 20 years old:A successful marketer
If there is one thing I would like to change about myself:Be more regular with my fitness regime
My favourite movie:Rocky IV
My favourite sport:Football, I am a Chelsea evangelist

21. Peyush Bansal, 31, Founder, Lenskart

Education:McGill University (B Tech); IIM-Bangalore
Previous Jobs:Microsoft
Claim to fame:4.0 GPA at college, getting great people to work with me and great investors to back me
peyush bansal
Best advice anybody gave me: Create meaning and money will follow
Success to me is: Enthusiastic customer happiness
My favorite people: Bill Gates, Ronnie Screwvala
What did I want to be when I was 20 years old: Probably PhD
How I unwind: Sit on a comfy couch and watch TV
My favourite book: The High Performance Entrepreneur by Subroto Bagchi

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