Careers

This CEO says every young person should travel the world before settling into a career

Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images

If Sigve Breeke, Telenor Group's President and CEO, could go back in time he would have studied more languages and travelled the world at a young age.

"My strong advice to the 20-somethings of today is try to build a world of experience," Breeke, who runs of one the world's largest mobile telecommunications companies, told CNBC's "Life Hacks Live" series at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

"Don't go into your career too early. Try different things. If you want to be a successful business person of today's global business, you need to know a little bit about a lot of things, rather than going very deep in one topic."

His advice challenges conventional thinking of focussing on one area and building up niche industry experience early in a career.

"I would advise young people to travel abroad, take up a job in a foreign country and try something completely different," he said, citing the fast-changing global state of business and industries.

He advises young people learn Chinese, adding he wished he spoke it himself. "It is not just about the language but about understanding the Asian and Chinese culture," he said.

"But it is hard to learn," he admitted.

Breeke wasn't always in business. He started his career in public service, working his way from local politics to becoming Norway's Deputy Minister of Defence.

He said he pivoted to business with the aim to make the world a better place than he found it. Despite working in the telecom sector for two decades now, his biggest challenge is to stay updated.

"To be a CEO, you need to understand what's out there," he said. "I've been spending a lot of time, meeting customers and startups to understand what's going on both in society but also in business. To stay relevant, that's a challenge."