The Steps To Becoming A CEO

CEOs have it all – or so you’d imagine. However, it takes a lot of work to get that far and climb to the top. Here are some of the things you can do to increase your chances of becoming a CEO and if not and you’re merely wondering how to improve your resume, they’re great ways to do so too.

Have A Bachelor’s Degree

The first step to becoming a CEO is to gain a bachelor’s degree.  The only time this step can be bypassed is when you launch your own company.  Other than this, the prospects for becoming a CEO without a degree are almost non-existent.  The skills and competencies required to effectively run a company are developed and honed during your college years and as part of your degree course.

A bachelor’s degree in liberal arts or law can help you start on your path, but people focusing on becoming a CEO should consider a business-related degree instead.  This will include business administration.  These types of courses will cover the fundamentals of business including finance, management, operations, and economics.  The degree will also provide an understanding of legal and ethical frameworks that surround most businesses and that companies have to operate within.

If you intend to become a CEO, you may want to consider a leadership specific degree such as organizational leadership.  Students who complete these degrees will develop the skills that all business leaders need to have.  They will also be prepared to lead others and guide them through corporate change.  The coursework in these degrees combines psychology and business studies to create a mixture that encourages students to develop their interpersonal skills.  This is vital for anyone who wants to be a CEO because you need to tap into the human side of business to develop the strong leadership skills required.

Get On-The-Job Experience

You have to work up to the position of CEO.  After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, you will need to get on-the-job experience in order to climb the career ladder.  This experience starts with an entry-level job.

Entry-level positions are designed for college graduates and will vary from supervisory roles to lower management.  After the person has gained experience on this level, they will be able to advance to more general manager positions.  This is where additional experience is obtained that will allow them to advance to executive-level jobs and positions.

This is a career climb that does not happen overnight.  A CEO will need several years of professional experience before they are qualified for the position.  The long journey allows you to hone the management skills you need and learn the best business practices.  Leadership skills also develop over time and will form the solid foundation of your success as a CEO.

When climbing the ladder, you may be able to achieve the results you want by changing companies.  Some companies will hire qualified candidates from outside their organizations more often.  However, many companies prefer to have a CEO who clients the ranks in the business as this ensures the position is filled by someone familiar with the business structure and company culture.

Get A Master’s Degree

While you have to get on-the-job experience, the journey to the CEO position can be shortened by earning a master’s degree in business administration.  This is an optional step, but the advanced degree prepares you for success by diving into the inner workings of all elements of a business.  The degree also provides advanced skills that prepare you for corporate functionality at the top-level.  It is important to understand this because it affects the critical decisions any strong leader needs to make.

When looking at these courses, if you want to become a CEO, you might want to look at an MBA focusing on the running of a business such as a general management degree.  This specialized degree will cover all the topics that are fundamental to good business leadership.  The topics include corporate strategy, ethics, organizational behavior, and project management.

It is important to note that getting this degree does not allow you to sidestep on-the-job experience.  The degree will make your success more likely because approximately 40% of S&P CEOs have an MBA while 25% to 30% have some form of advanced degree.  MBA graduates are more attractive candidates for management roles including CEO because they have a higher level of corporate-related competency.

The Skills A CEO Needs

While having a degree and years of experience is helpful, it is only part of the equation for becoming a CEO.  There are fundamental skills that any CEO needs to have to ensure that the knowledge they have is applied correctly to corporate situations.

Strong management skills are vital for any CEO because they have to direct the operations of an organization to encourage growth.  Management skills will work with keen leadership ability.  A CEO has to facilitate company growth by coordinating resources, people, and policies.

CEOs also need to have excellent communication skills to ensure they are able to explain and discuss their vision with all business shareholders.  The communication will not only need to be clear, but it also has to be persuasive.  This is a skill that can be honed over time through management experience.

As the CEO of a company will have to make decisions that directly impact the overall success of the business, they need to have strong problem-solving and decision-making skills.  They need to be able to analyze a situation to recognize potential issues and find viable solutions.  These are skills that CEOs have to use on a daily basis.

CEOs also need to be able to effectively manage their time.  These professionals have a lot on their plate and they have to be able to prioritize the most important tasks.  They also need to handle everything to ensure goals and targets are met.

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