If you belong to those who strive to conquer career peaks, and career success means nothing else for you but the CEO role, you’re in the right place. In this article, we reveal what CEO’s job really implies, what educational foundation one has to obtain to get access to such high positions, and what personal qualities one should develop to be able to handle the responsibility of defining the future of an organisation. Let’s waste no more time!
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The CEO or Chief Executive Officer’s role is the very top management position in an organisation. Being the head of the group of other chief executives (also known as C-suite leaders), including the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Operations Officer (COO), and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), a CEO typically collaborates with them on a daily basis.
First and foremost, being a CEO means doing everything possible to ensure a company’s bright future. It usually includes strategic planning, financial planning, managing change, handling crisis situations, and other important things. Besides those, a CEO has to be consistently informed about all the processes taking place inside and outside of the company. Therefore, their daily responsibilities also include numerous meetings with managers, employees, as well as potential vendors and business partners. Future CEOs should realise that it’s an extremely varied, oftentimes unpredictable, and never boring role, succeeding in which will feel incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. However, there is also the other side of the coin.
Alongside receiving the perks, a CEO is the one who shoulders responsibility for any failure happening to the company. Even if the reason for the failure isn’t the CEO themselves, it’s them who have to arrange the processes, build teams, and manage employees in such a way that these failures have little chance of happening.
Individuals who have decided to move towards the CEO position should understand that this career path will take quite a bit of time. Whether you want to climb a career ladder and become a CEO of an existing company, or you want to establish your own business, nothing will work out without the right education.
If you dream of leading your own organisation, without the necessary knowledge, you won’t be able to arrange and run all the processes in your own company properly. If your aim is to land a CEO job in an existing company, the board members just won’t allow an individual without the right qualifications and a wide breadth of experience to rule their business.
The very first step in paving the way to your dream position will be obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Choosing business-related programmes like Organizational Leadership, Business Administration, Finance, or Marketing will be a truly smart move. These programmes provide a solid foundation of organisational, communication, business management skills, and effective leadership skills that are vital for future executives and CEOs.
Of course, a bachelor’s degree will give you the key skills. However, it won’t fully prepare you for becoming a CEO – one has to top it up with an advanced degree. According to research conducted by one of the world’s leading staffing firms:
Interestingly, of all the 2023 Fortune 100 CEOs, only 9.8% hold an Ivy League MBA. This trend challenges the conventional belief that only an elite school education can guarantee a fast track to top-level executive roles and the future success. In fact, obtaining an advanced degree in a top university has something to bring to the table: valuable connections and brand name prestige. But even without those, if you focus on developing a diverse set of skills and qualities typical of successful CEOs and also dig through opportunities to gain valuable hands-on experience, the chances of making a breakthrough are high.
As we’ve said, business school studies are a solid foundation, but it’s only the beginning of your professional journey. The real fun starts when you land your first job and start integrating into the dynamic landscape of a modern corporate world. Only in this way will you be able to obtain the valuable practical experience that will eventually help you make it to a CEO.
If you are willing to become one of those effective leaders, your plan has to be a bit more sophisticated than ‘Find a good company, work hard, become a CEO in 20 years’. There are some ideas for you to consider when developing your own career growth trajectory:
Strong leadership skills are a must-have for anybody who has put their eye on the CEO position. As we’ve already mentioned, being a CEO isn’t only about managing business processes, it’s also about managing people. What exactly it implies:
Furthermore, a real CEO should regularly have self-reflection sessions where they will analyse their behavoiur and actions, encounter and embrace their weak points, and also identify areas for growth. Being a CEO means destroying your ego and prioritising your employees’ and company’s well-being over your own. This is hard but it will help you develop an authentic leadership style and create a forward-thinking corporate culture in your organisation.
You already know that networking is an integral part of a successful CEO’s routine. However, it’s now just about getting as many contacts as possible. We’d like to share some ideas on how to properly arrange your networking routine.