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You can listen to Allan’s story by clicking below

“I was CEO of a large company in Brazil. I turned 40 and I looked to my future and I saw that I wasn’t happy. I had money, I had a life, I had a beautiful family, I had a good car, a good house but I just wasn’t happy.  I was looking for something, but I didn’t realise what it was at that point.”

-Allan Costa, Allan

Graduate College, MSc Information Technology, Management and Organisational Change 2003

Allan Costa is very good at making things happen. In a career spanning IT, Operations and later General Management, he has achieved many successes due to his ability to build strong teams, with outstanding creative individuals. Allan is an Angel Investor and owns five companies in Brazil.

From being unhappy at 40 to becoming extraordinarily successful now how did you make changes in your life?

I left that role and I took another position as CEO of a company in the financial sector. I soon realised that this didn’t make me any happier.  I dropped this job in 40 days and I decided to pursue my purpose. I believed that looking for my purpose in life, I would find happiness, and also make money and all this kind of stuff that after all we all need to do.

Do you think money is important in life?

Money cannot be your main motivation to do anything.  You learn pretty fast that you cannot live in more than one house at once, you cannot drive more than one car at once, and you cannot eat more than one chicken at once. You realise that of course money is very, very important. I like money, I want money, I need money. I want to live in a very big house, I want to run a very good fast car, I want to do lots of things that need money.  But don’t put this in front of all these things that have much more importance in life.  For example, purpose; why are you doing what you’re doing?

What did you learn when you started forming your own businesses?

I started forming companies at the age of 40, it’s not a regular age for starting your own companies but I can guarantee you that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and to pursue the things that you really want to do in life.

Starting your own business is like an apprenticeship; a lot of on the job learning. I can tell you that not even Lancaster (although it was great), not even Harvard, or twenty years working as a CEO for someone else’s company, taught me as much as I learned becoming an entrepreneur.

What if you don’t have an original idea to get going?

There’s no need for an original idea.  The need is for an original approach to the idea, not necessarily the idea.  If you don’t have that great idea that’s going to change the world, there are lots of things that can just be done better.

How can students prepare themselves for life beyond university?

Develop multiple interests, don’t restrict yourself to only one thing. For example, I took motorcycle trips around the world, in the United States and Australia. I’m planning to visit the Highlands. It’s what I love, because I love riding motorcycles, but each one of these trips gave me a lot of valuable learning about how to plan and how to implement things in a situation.

With the benefit of hindsight what tips can you share of others considering their career paths?

If I could turn back time I would have started my companies earlier…if I could turn back time definitely I would choose the entrepreneurial way earlier…And finally, dream big dreams. I have no regrets at all.

You can view Allan’s LinkedIn profile here.

For more inspiration and stories of success and failure, return to the Startup Stories gallery.

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