How do I Become a Chief Executive Officer?

Patrick Roland

The chief executive officer of any business has a multitude of jobs. Unlike the various departments within an organization, the chief executive officer's output is measured not by production but by a company's mission objectives, culture and vision. To become a chief executive officer, you will need a sharp understanding of business, excellent communication skills and finance-raising ability. The reward is a job in which you call the shots and act as the head decision maker for an entire company.

Steve Jobs was the face of Apple Corporation in the early 1980s, then again from the late 1990s until his death.
Steve Jobs was the face of Apple Corporation in the early 1980s, then again from the late 1990s until his death.

Education is a tricky subject if you want to become a chief executive officer. Many CEO jobs will not have educational requirements, but to attain the level of business smarts and managerial expertise, you will need either some great schooling or years of business experience. A business degree will serve you well in this position because it instills the understanding of corporate structure, finance, economics and management.

A CEO is the highest ranking manager of a company.
A CEO is the highest ranking manager of a company.

A master's degree or doctorate degree in specialized fields also can help if the company is equally specialized. For example, a Doctorate in Chemistry could help you run a chemical producing company. Classroom education isn't the only way to reach the top if you want to become a chief executive officer, though. If you started your own company and built it into a success, for example, you would have an intimate understanding of a CEO's role even if you never obtained a college degree.

A chief executive officer doesn't balance the accounting budget or test products or even think about the marketing plan. If you want to become a chief executive officer, you need to understand that some of the job's main duties are rather intangible. Steering a company's culture and vision are two of the most important jobs, and they are accomplished by looking at the big picture of where the company must go. Helping senior management officers make decisions on all fronts actually is one of the more important roles of a CEO. Also, being the face and voice of the company, like Apple Inc.'s Steve Jobs, is another important part of the role.

Raising finances is not a large concern for chief executive officers of big companies, but if you want to become a chief executive officer for a small company, it will be. Raising funds and securing investors is a massively important job for a burgeoning company's CEO. Finding the money to operate helps the company to do its job and, ideally, to turn a profit.

Many chief executive officers first hold chief operations officer positions.
Many chief executive officers first hold chief operations officer positions.

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