How to Become a C.E.O.? The Quickest Path Is a Winding One

from NYTs

How does a person get to be the boss? What does it take for an ambitious young person starting a career to reach upper rungs of the corporate world — the C.E.O.’s office, or other jobs that come with words like “chief” or “vice president” on the office door?

The answer has always included hard work, brains, leadership ability and luck. But in the 21st century, another, less understood attribute seems to be particularly important.

To get a job as a top executive, new evidence shows, it helps greatly to have experience in as many of a business’s functional areas as possible. A person who burrows down for years in, say, the finance department stands less of a chance of reaching a top executive job than a corporate finance specialist who has also spent time in, say, marketing. Or engineering. Or both of those, plus others.

However, there is still such a thing as too much variety: Switching industries has a negative correlation with corporate success, which may speak to the importance of building relationships and experience within an industry. Switching between companies within an industry neither helps nor hurts in making it to a top job.

These are some of the big findings in a new study of 459,000 onetime management consultants by the social network LinkedIn. Experience in one additional functional area improved a person’s odds of becoming a senior executive as much as three years of extra experience. And working in four different functions had nearly the same impact as getting an M.B.A. from a top-five program.

This interactive graphic shows how different traits affected a former consultant’s likelihood of ending up as a top executive of a midsize or large company.

More here.

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41 Responses to How to Become a C.E.O.? The Quickest Path Is a Winding One

  1. Vannesa Martinez September 16, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Versatility is key-the most important lesson for anyone in the workforce to adopt. In this day of age, have a skill in one particular field is not sufficient to help anyone climb up the ladder of management. Companies now seek employees who can bring a variety of knowledge from several diverse fields of business to will help improve the efficiency of the corporation. This how to was not written to provide the public with simple hand out answers, but to make its readers reflect on how they want to present themselves to prospective employers to benefit themselves in the long run.

    Right now this is the conversation that college students should be thinking heavily about as to how to make themselves look appealing and stand out from the competition. We spend so much time and money dedicating our early adult years in higher education. It is up to ourselves to make sure that we take advantage of every resource that will help to improve ourselves and help advance ourselves career-wise. For example, students would be getting more out of their education if they pursued a major, minor, or concentration at the same time of them studying their principle declared major. This gives them the opportunity to pick up another subject of interest that will benefit them when it comes time to look for full-time employment. Data obtained by the Burning Glass found there was a 53 percent increase from 2011 to 2015 to the number of hybrid jobs now being offered and required by the job market. This ties in with the idea that not only businesses, but the job market is expecting more out of its workforce to compete with advancement and innovation.

    The article is a reminder for students to consider what is best for their future when they get out of school. The interactive graph that displays the percentage of likelihood that men or women would get an executive position based on factors such as gender, location, degree, experience, and type of college. This graph added to the article a necessary visual for its readers to see the great disparity of percentage of likelihood of obtaining an executive position and the great disparity between what qualifications a person might possess. It serves as a motivational and reminder tool that possessing skills and knowledge in different fields of business may be a lot of work and classes to balance now, but people will be compensated at the end.

    As the article stated in the cases of several C.E.O.’s, having background knowledge of a few departments allowed them to understand better the flow and function of the operation of a business. We can look at several C.E.O.’s examples like Marla Beck, C.E.O. of Blue Mercury, to get a feel of their struggle but value the importance of hard work. These people were people part of the common workforce, but what made them stand out was their initiative and willpower to want to learn and explore every sector of their company to understand how to make themselves run efficiency.

    After reading the article, readers should feel more empowered and motivated to go out there and seek how to be a more successful life. I do not think the underlying idea of the article was to tell people how others reached C.E.O. status, but to show the public that it is possible for them or for anyone for that matter to ascend into higher positions at work. It allowed me to value more the education I am currently getting here at Seton Hall and how I need look into another major or concentration to expand my skillset and ensure myself that in the future I can obtain employment easily. The initiative is to motive the public to break out of their comfort zone and have the want to expand their horizons. The key to success is taking advantage of the education we are being provided with now.

    • Danielle Gangemi October 27, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

      The road to becoming a C.E.O. is not a straight path to success. Most people think that people must work hard, be smart, and have good luck. Although some of these may be true, the main way to work up the ladder is to have experiences in many of a business’s functional areas. Someone who focuses on one expertise has less of a chance to become a chief executive than someone who has experience in more than one department. It is not necessarily to get vast experiences in many fields, but to get a lot of experience between functions. For instance, switching industries may give someone more of a negative outlook rather than focusing on companies within the same industry.

      According to big findings from LinkedIn, it is proven that experience in one additional functional area increased a persons’ odd in becoming a C.E.O of a particular company. Comparably, Burning Glass, a website that contains millions of job listings, found a demand for hybrid jobs. Hybrid jobs are incorporated expertise in more than one field. It is essential to have a vast experience in order to obtain higher bonuses and promotions within a company. Over the years, there is an increase in the technological ability to collect and analyze data. This data will eventually give us a better understanding on the type of education people need and what workers need to know in order to become the most successful. Success isn’t just about getting to the top, it is important to have focus on obtaining diverse skills and learning fields outside of one’s comfort zone. Some may think that their expertise in one field will wow a consumer. However, according to George Kurian’s experience, what may seem great for his level of expertise may not be what the client is actually looking for. It is important to obtain skills that are similar to, but different from one’s existing skills. When climbing the corporate ladder, location is a key factor to pay close attention to. To start a journey on the winding path to success it is crucial to have specialties in multiple functions and to ultimately step out of one’s comfort zone.

      It is hard to plan out exactly what decisions to make in order to work towards becoming a C.E.O. There is no definite answer on what steps people should take in order to definitely achieve a promotion or become an executive chief. However, it is important to also know these tips and suggestions if this is something someone looks for in their future. This will impact business because employees that have these skills will improve the workplace and people will have more expertise and knowledge on what companies are searching for. It is necessary to come out of your comfort zone at times to experience different things. Working hard and never giving up is just half of the process, focusing on skills and trying new things might just get people the executive position that they are striving for.

  2. Daniel Cooper September 16, 2016 at 11:50 am #

    Becoming a leader of anything it is important to be able to do anything that needs to be done. The work force is becoming a very complicated place now days. Working for a business is now very global and easier to communicate with foreign clients. Being able to speak a few different languages will help that cross over between being a great leader and a decent leader. The fact that a college degree is not as strong as it used to be. The struggle to become a leader like C.E.O is becoming more difficult. The promotion used to come when a person works in a field long enough. Companies now are looking for the best person available. It could be an outside source.
    A leader can do anything that needed of them. Since a business is becoming more of a technological, a business leader should be able to adopt to the newest technology. They should be able to teachers others how to use and what it is used for. Burning Glass has found a surge in demand for what it calls hybrid jobs. This means that people are able to do more than one job. This allows the person to be more flexible and do more work while the company needs less workers. This increases the production that a company can do. In my economics class, one the most important things in the world is education. This allows the people to work faster and smarter. This increase of people with a higher education is able to increase the production. The increase of the employees with a higher education will have the company able pay higher wages and the living should increase.
    As I stated before, people think the number years they work for a company the more they should get paid. The matter of fact that is not true at all. The company wants to progression in skill sets. The article tells the story of a man named George Kurian and he made a ground breaking technology. This was not accepted because it was not what he company needed. It did not satisfy the customers. Working the same company for twenty plus years should get you a pay raise, but not a promotion to a new job. The company needs people who can raise the value of the company with no ideas to increase production and lowering the cost.
    The ability to change with the world helps the person achieve the goals. Since I am a huge sports fan, I see people with great ability in one level fail in the next one. This is because the game is getting harder and a lot more pressure is added. As people move up in the company, the pressure is building to keep performing at the same level or even higher. Like my father, he works for a roofing company since he was eighteen. He started off as a labor. He would drive around and install roofs for corporations. He move up and up now he is running the entire northeast area. He had to continue to keep up his work and not lack. The work and the ability to adopt allowed to learn new positions and move up the ladder.

  3. Kaitlyn McCluskey September 16, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    To be at the head of a company, it is obvious that it takes a lot of work and dedication. A person cannot simply jump instantly into a big position as their first job. Typically, you see people who are running companies have come up from smaller positions and after years of experience. There is obvious reasons as to why someone in charge of a company needs to have experience in multiple departments of their company. For the most basic reason, the head of the company needs to be able to run and understand the entire company. How is someone going to run a company if they do not know what is going on in one/some of their departments? Employees who work for someone, typically turn to them when they need advice or some kind of approval. Clearly, the “boss” needs to know how to manage and accommodate the needs of his/her employees.
    The idea of having a “nonlinear career” mindset is a theory that I really believe works. This section of the article was particularly interesting when it started talking about a management consultant having almost double the odds of becoming a top executive if they lived in New York rather than living in Washington. The explanation behind why this study turned out this way is not something that is easy explained or understood. But the fact of the matter is, top jobs in the business world do require a wide variety of knowledge and expertise in a multitude of fields. If someone has a lot of experience in one particular field, for example accounting, then that person would be most qualified to be at the top of the accounting department within a company. But someone who has experience in a couple different departments, definitely seems more attractive for the position to run the company in its entirety.
    In the “Entrepreneurial Options” section of the article, Ms. Beck’s story shows that there are other paths to working your way up to a position like chief executive. She was exposed to different projects which helped her become efficient in different areas of retail business. She took some skills that she acquired in her first experiences with business and was able to apply them to other functions of the business. I also am a firm believer in the idea of stepping out of your comfort zone. This article brings up a popular idea that people tend to stay in their comfort zone. When it comes to the business world, being comfortable with your work might seem good because comfortability leads to confidence. But it is true that someone who wants to run a company, should be able to adapt well in uncomfortable situations because they are bound to have to deal with a situation that they are not familiar with. The ability to do this, proves a person to be a true leader.
    My grandfather started as a mail boy for a company called Lubriplate when he was in his teenage years. Once he was old enough to go to college, he decided against it at first but always showed such interest in all the areas of the company. The company told him that they will help him pay for college if he wants to go so he can be qualified to work a position at the company. After 8 years of working all day and attending night school, my grandfather graduated college and started work as an accountant for the company. Over the years my grandfather applied his passion for learning to all of the areas of the company and now has proudly been the president of the company for many years. My grandfather’s success is incredibly inspiring and definitely shows that you need to apply yourself in more than one area in the business world in order to earn a high position.
    This article touches base on the fact that not only does it take “brainpower” to work one’s way to the top in the business world but it also takes the ability to become familiar and learn about other divisions on the business. Someone who wants to be at the top of a company, cannot be scared or intimidated by learning other skills. They need to be able to set an example for the rest of the employees to work hard and to always expand your horizons as much as you can. After all, my dad always told me in life it is best to be the “jack off all trades, master of none”.

  4. Matthew Marinella September 16, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    The most fascinating part about the business world is all of the possible avenues a person can take. In addition, a lot of these avenues coincide with each other and are the makings of a well-functioning business. In order for a business to be healthy and successful it has be versatile. A well running business has to have several areas of operation. Most importantly it needs a leader who has dipped there foot in each part of the industry. Having a resume full of different experiences and skills is essential in order to attain top executive jobs today.
    A diverse background shows a lot about a person. Anyone can do one job function their whole life and be good at it. But, not many people can excel in a variety of different career fields. Doing the same job for different companies doesn’t count as experiences it counts as a singular experience. Working the same job has you exposed to the same problems and same work load. A non-linear career path as discussed in the story is one of the most interesting paths to take. George Kurian going from engineer to business man is a complete 180. This type of unorthodox career transition distinguishes George from the rest of the pack. He has had work experiences that no one else will ever see. Problem solving is a critical skill to obtain in the business world. Every single day there is a problem that is going to be needed to be handled with. Kurian has an extremely diverse work background giving him experiences many people have never had. It’s amazing how helpful his engineering experiences were in making him a successful CEO. Those unique experiences actually relate in many ways to the work that he does now.
    The entrepreneurial background is something that I think pays of the best. Over the summer I started my own business and the experiences I have obtained can compare to nothing. When you are an entrepreneur you are building from the ground up. Everything is on your own time and you have a heavy reliance upon yourself. Furthermore, you get exposure to many facets in the business world. Over the summer I gained skills in selling, project management, organization, and budgeting. No job or internship could have ever given me the opportunities and skills that I have acquired through this business.
    A big differentiation factor among candidates in the workforce is skill set. The more skills you possess the greater chance you are to reach an executive level. The skills that you attained in the past can come in handy in many situations. You can utilize the skills you have on a daily basis. Nowadays the more skills you have, the more qualified you are. Diversity comes back into play with your skill set as well. You need skills in different fields in order to standout. When you bring all these varied skills and put them together it makes for an impressive background.
    The recent trends in high executive hiring’s demonstrates the change of our working culture. It’s not about who the most tenured employee is anymore. You need to be highly skilled and show great diversification in order to get that senior position. This is a change I feel is definitely overdue. The best course of action is to find a company that has a wide variety of fields within themselves. Then every two years switch fields in that company will keep you loyal and add more experience and skills to your resume. Each sector of a business is a cog and all of the cogs must be efficient in order for the business to be successful. Who would you rather have running the company, any who’s been at the company for over 25-plus years only handling finance, or the employee who hasn’t been at the company as long but, has experienced and worked in almost every section of the company?

  5. Cliff Nash September 16, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    This article is reminiscent of the idea that someone can be a “jack of all trades but a master of none”. You can be a very versatile worker who is able to work in many different fields but you do not have one specific field that you excel in making it so that you can easily change what you are working as allowing you to apply for a wider range of jobs. If someone is only good at one thing and is not well versed in many different areas, their skill set is very limited and may not be what many companies are looking for.
    Just from speaking to my friends here at Seton Hall University, I can tell that the younger generation is aware of the fact they must be well versed because many students are not only working toward their major but are also perusing a minor and in some cases a certificate in different fields. Personally, I am looking to attend Law School once I graduate college and upon speaking to others who have already been through college and law school, they say to try and have a major that can stand out from the rest. The most popular majors to attend law school are philosophy and English, but what is everyone wanting to apply to law school is one of these two majors? Then no one is unique or stands out. By getting a major that is not “the norm” for applying to law school there is a chance you will be looked at differently because it can open up your perspective or the type of law you are willing to go into.
    There are other upsides to having a CEO that has been a part of many departments, this is that they understand how things work at each level rather than assuming every job is easy and can be done quickly. If your company’s CEO worked their way up the corporate ladder, they may have built a rapport with the workers at each level. This not only helps them grasp an understanding of the amount of work that goes into each position but also helps their employees trust their new CEO.
    If a CEO is to effectively lead their workers, they must understand what is going on in their departments so when concerns arise from the workers, they have some sort of understanding of what they are going through and how to handle the situation. If a CEO was just placed at this position of power because they had a few degrees, they would not be able to understand the workers issues nor know how to handle them. There would be no rapport between the CEO and anyone in the company. By being very versatile, the CEO will be able to do a much better job. They can adapt to the changes that are taking place around them because they have most likely been in the same situation as their workers are in.
    Although it is very good to be versatile and know many different trades of a company, it could also hurt you if you have jumped around in jobs to much. By constantly changing jobs you may give the impression that you are not fit for the positions you have especially if you quickly jump from one to another instead of spending quite a bit of time at each position. By jumping from job to job quickly you are showing a lack of commitment and it will give the impression that you do not want to work hard at the one job you have and would rather constantly look for an easier way to do things and an easier job to have.

  6. Tyler Hands September 16, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

    Becoming a CEO, while an enthusiastic goal, may not be for everyone. Obvious, right? As the article points out, advancing to the title of CEO takes time, a broad understanding of the company and the people who make it all possible. It even displays your chances of becoming one via graphical analysis. But what gives the best insight is the personal accounts of CEOs the article gives later on.

    From the several testimonies we can gather a few givens. The broad understanding of a company expands exponentially depending on how large the company is. For instance, the article gives an example of a 109 store chain where the CEO used only analytical skills to manage the company. However two other examples in the article speak on the multiple years CEOs spent in fields they had no original intention of working in to form a more complete understanding of how the multiple departments of the company work together. The first question in this journey to CEO is not how does one become a CEO but what kind of CEO would one like to become? Managing a lemonade stand chain or overseeing all of apple?

    Anyone can start a start-up company and self-profess the title of CEO, that’s why they are called start ups. Anyone can do that, not everyone can rise through the woodwork though. And even start-ups are hard to, well, start. First you need a product, as imaginative as most may think they are this product has the end goal of actually selling to a target audience for a profit. Once you have a concept in mind next comes the manufacturing, but in the case of most all start ups you have no funds. After selling off equity in the company you’ve just started to ensure your product comes to life its time to create a brand, effective ways to meet the target demand, pricing etc. Daunting as the task may be, it does have its benefits. Just last week a CEO came into a Principles of Marketing class at Seton Hall university with a agricultural innovation that’s groundbreaking, literally the product goes into the ground. This CEOs company is valued at $60 Million with an opportunity for an international launch and a prosperous future. The product is currently manufactured in the guest room of the company’s head of technology’s guest bedroom by a 3D printer. The head of technology, as prestigious as the title may sound, does not get paid and neither does the CEO. As far as titles go, they carry very little meaning unless they actually pay off.

    What if you went through the wood work? To simplify the process lets take the graph in the article as our example. Best case scenario: you’re a man who has 25 yrs experience in the field after being an elite undergrad and earning the Top MBA in your graduate school and you live in NYC. While having all this you only have a 66% of being a CEO if you’ve only had one role, to increase your chances 15% you’re looking at 5 other jobs to have held. But then again, your chances drop 4-7% just for being a woman. Another 22-28% if you’re not in a metropolitan hub such as NYC, etc. Chances getting slimmer and slimmer the more you think about it.

    So in hopes of becoming a CEO, think of which scenario you would like. A slim to none chance of working your way through the wood work to reach an around the clock job or an instant gratification CEO title with any benefit of the title being years of development away, if it works that is.

  7. Robert Andrew Luba September 16, 2016 at 6:33 pm #

    The game has changed in the world of business, although it still requires hard work and expertise in areas, it is no longer a straight track to leadership. One must excel in all forms of business and prove they are indeed a jack of all trades. It is essential now. The business scene has become incredibly competitive and lost the conventional form of promotion after promotion for the idea that people can be most effective in a single area.
    Peter’s principal comes to mind. The business ideal now is to focus employees towards they perform most optimally for the benefit of the company. It would make less sense now for someone who headed a single department of the company to become the head now than it was years ago. Hard work has lost not lost its value, but the value of hard work spread out among different facets of the work place has become more valuable. It is now realized that promoting an employee to the point where they become obsolete at the position they has been appointed to can no longer be an option for big businesses. There is too much to risk by putting a person without a grand understanding of a company at the head of itself.
    A more pervasive role in the company is something that would make sense for a CEO. In an ethics class I attended lay semester, I learned about some of the characteristics of the owners of Google. The professor explained that the men that started it were not privy to delegate. The men did not expect any more from their employees then what they would expect from themselves. Every day, they would be the first to enter their office, and the last to leave. This, is what I would say, differs a leader from a boss. Boss or manager are titles that are associated with delegation, giving orders and receiving higher pay than their subordinates. A leader, on the contrary, is someone who works among those he is responsible for. Every good leader was once a good follower.

    The idea of working in most departments of a business before being put in charge of it as a whole makes sense. How could an owner understand business function, problems, and solutions, if he has never had firsthand experience in all of them. The linear form of escalation in a corporation does, as the author of this article states, seem entirely obsolete. It would be foolish to relinquish decision power to someone with purely theoretical knowledge of w business and no firsthand knowledge of business function.

    With increasing use of technology in the work place, the CEO should not only be able higher the correct people for the job, he should be able to operate it himself. In addition to operation in this given field, like any other, the CEO should knowledgeable enough in it to be able to identify where great employees of this field come from. Understanding where to find employees that will excel would be. There is no room for someone unresponsive to technology in a business environment today. To be without new forms of media would mean a grand slow down for whoever does not respond to change.

    Few people will be CEOs of large companies. It is not a common job. This is due to the grand scale of the operations one must be responsible for and that there can only be one at a time per company. Due to this rarity, it is not entirely common that someone can explain exactly how they came to find themselves in their executive office. To be given a simple formula of being put placed at different positions and levels of companies to finally reach the top of one is an excellent point with good sense behind it. with so many stories of success of people and their ability to become executive officers, it is hard to say if this formula is fool proof. The fact of the matter is that this is a broad description of what one man did to become a CEO. It is not a formula for success, but one of potential. although he explained his path, there is no way to explain the other factors of what it took to rise. Although being skillful in many ways lead him there, it is no doubt that his devotion did as well. Reliability, character, and expression are something needed to lead that he surely displayed. Even if most others ways to the top have changed, that much remains constant.

  8. Edward Vestergaard September 16, 2016 at 8:38 pm #

    To run any business large or small, one must display certain universal traits such as responsibility, leadership, intelligence, a strong work ethic, etc. However, for those disinterested in being one’s own boss, the journey to becoming a corporate hotshot is long and demanding. Although dreams are dreamt of the glitz-and-glam of which corporate life promises, most won’t ever get there- they’re simply unqualified for such a position. What makes a likely candidate for say, a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) then? Versatility. Having experience in additional business aspects other than one’s specialization is key for consideration, as it shows a rounded understanding of different company divisions/functions. From a managerial standpoint, that’s a fair requirement; by being reasonably knowledgeable in other areas, decision-making is more effective since they’re backed by appropriate insight. It’s important to note that versatility entails proficiency inside the industry, for what good is fashion background when one suddenly desires to rank among construction’s elite? To sustain credibility, staying within one industry can help build relationships that can ultimately lead to networking opportunities in the future.

    When proficiency was broken down relative to job experience and certification, I was surprised by what I read. While experience in one function equates to three years of general job experience, experience in four functions has “nearly the same impact as getting an M.B.A. from a top-five program” (Irwin). Yet I wonder, what is the extent of accomplishment which acknowledges one as “proficient” within a specialty? The article doesn’t offer many clues, so I’m left to speculate. I’d imagine, for example, an accountant who has dabbled in marketing would at least need to conduct market research (primary and/or secondary) or serve on an idea committee for advertising, slogans, packaging, etc.…something, anything to prove his/her talent for this work. I could be wrong, but simply observing specialists at work shouldn’t count for much experience, it takes minimal skill to watch and take notes. Granted, acquiring skillsets from different functions would take time- for most of one’s focus would be concentrated upon the duties of his/her own specialty- but I see the importance of branching out as a means to become increasingly useful.

    If Irwin is implying that one becomes a greater asset upon demonstrating a range of capabilities, I totally agree with him. As a whole, society has become increasingly competitive, meaning securing a position of any capacity is more difficult than ever before, especially for upper management. No longer do traditional hierarchical standards for promotion apply, as its successor emphasizes cross-functional ability. Now promotion favors those who strayed from their comfort zone by actively pursuing diverse skillsets; a bold move which displays the type of ambition and drive an upcoming CEO should have. I believe this new concept is substantially better than the previous for it makes seniority irrelevant, giving younger employees a fairer chance of reaching elevated status. In an economy that is continuously seeing the arrival of new companies to market, it would seem senseless not to advance the best and brightest, a classification of people who can navigate through the frustration of competition and ensure success for his/her company.

  9. Sahnera Spruill September 16, 2016 at 11:39 pm #

    I have actually chosen that I want to be a C.E.O. so this was a great read. I agree with what was stated about getting experience in as many of a business’s functional areas possible. The passing summer I got my first job which was an internship. I was a database analyst. I pulled resumes, observed, corrected and created databases in Microsoft excel, interviewed possible employees, and I even shredded paper. My job was great because I was getting helpful experience in the aspects of business that I didn’t encounter in my own businesses. My boss told me to get as much experience in different areas of business possible but not to hop around from location to location. In order to assist me she has offered me an internship with her company for as many summers as I need. Next summer I’ll still do what I was already doing, except each summer she will add to my tasks. Next year I will be training new employees and learning a little about accounting, along with what I was already doing. I believe this is a good approach. One that teaches you numerous skills, but also teaches stability and discipline. Hard work, leadership abilities and luck also are just as important. Knowledge only goes but so far goes. I could have a brain like Einstein in the business world, but without hard work or the ability to lead, what do I really have? Nothing. The work world is extremely competitive and in this competitive work world people with experience are more attractive. There was a point raised in the article about how work has become extremely cross functional. Employers are looking for employees that have more to bring to the table. They need people that can contribute to the flourishing of the company. Anyone can have experience and a simple degree in business. But what if they could hire someone who had experience and a degree in both business and math? That’s one less employee that they need in their company. As stated in the article, getting out of our comfort zones is so important. We need to teach ourselves to venture out and explore new opportunities. Marla Malcolm Beck’s entrepreneurial approach was pretty special since she basically trained herself in all of the functions necessary to make a retail business work. She also worked as a consultant, working on projects that required her to figure out the pricing of mutual funds. She is just a strong example of how a variety of experience is important.

  10. Hannah Isaacs September 18, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

    The idea that a person needs to be versatile in their professional experiences to reach the top level of management should not come as a surprise in the evolving business world. What I find interesting is how this need for versatility has created a new concept, “The nonlinear career progression”. The nonlinear career progression is when people have spent time working within finance, management, marketing, or other departments that would positively affect their professional growth. This article also solidifies my choice to go on to get a management degree once I have completed my undergraduate in marketing. I will be better equipped for the professional world having already experienced versatility in the classroom.
    This also goes hand in hand with how professionals are saying that their job descriptions are not as black and white as they used to be. Instead of strictly overseeing finances or accounting professionals have mentioned that their jobs are including more human resources or information technology. I believe this aliens with the new mentality that firms are working in teams. If members of a team come together and work on a project they have the opportunity to develop new skills. These skills inevitably are making them more valuable down the line when looking for new higher management.

  11. Harrison McClure September 20, 2016 at 9:57 pm #

    No matter what job you may have, there always seems to be a better one that you are striving to get. Everyone has aspirations of climbing the corporate ladder, but most have no idea how to do it. All the characteristics listed in this post are accurate when aspiring to be a boss, but it did leave out the most important characteristic in my opinion. The key characteristic that one must have to be a successful boss is the respect of their peers.

    Without having the respect of your peers it is extremely hard to be a successful boss. If you are someone that is disliked at the workplace, and has a generally negative attitude while working you are: A) Not likely to become a boss in the first place and B) Not going to get the most out of the people working below you. You also have to be patient with the employees you are delegating your responsibilities to, especially when managing a blue-collar job.

    I have experience working in the construction industry, and I can tell you first hand that when a boss is extremely demanding and critical of employees, employee performance goes down. It may work in the short-term when someone is watching over the employees like a hawk, but when the employees are not being watched they will take the opportunity to slack off and relax. On the other hand, when a manager is motivational and upbeat, employees will be generally more excited about work, and will work much harder when not being supervised.

    The ability to be versatile, and knowing how to act in certain situations is the key to being a successful manager. The more you are respected by your employees, and know how to treat each employee differently to maximize their personal capability, will lead you on the right path to becoming a great boss.

  12. Antonia Smith September 21, 2016 at 9:00 pm #

    The one thing that is most reinforced throughout my studies from as early as my first year of high school is that in this day and age, experience is the only thing that will set you apart from the majority. The more experience and the more varied that experience the better. A school friend of mine once got a job in finance due to the amount of geography trips they had participated in when in school and that they spent a month working for his mother’s advertising agency. Me and him still to this day fail to see the correlation and he even admits how neither of these ventures come to play in his 9 to 5. It’s a little baffling how someone who studied finance in depth for 4 years will be 2nd place to someone who undertook experience dipping lightly into a range of sectors (as mentioned in the article). Don’t get me wrong, the principles are often universal across any employment but the details are tailor made to the trade you chose to experience. There was the very valid point made in the article that too much switching and experience isn’t always beneficial. A huge part of employment, especially within finance and legal sectors, seems to be who you know and not always necessarily what you know. An individual is more likely to build long lasting close relationships with people in high positions if they are interacting and operating in that particular department for a substantial amount of time, learning the inside tricks and trade secrets. Another good point from this article is that it’s important to note some industries can collaborate, for example if you are an electronic trader, you will have more success if you have the experience of operating in both a business environment as well as a tech department. The one clear benefit is diversification, almost like the economic definition of spreading risk so that if one option fails, you have a backup. When people undertake a nonlinear road to their employment, they diversify their ability to work in any industry if one they intended to go into doesn’t materialize. Something I found very interesting was the mention that if a person was from the likes of New York they had more of an advantage in gaining employment than someone from a bigger state such as Washington. I remember being told how if I ever want to succeed in gaining a place within finance I had to study in London, the financial capital of the UK and some would argue, the world. All though it is illegal to discriminate on a basis of geographic location, a CFO once explained to me how someone is more likely to be equipped if they studied/lived in the forefront of a sector in the most prevalent city. Overall, I thought the article was a very interesting read and highlighted some points that are ever present in other countries as well as the US.

  13. kaitlyn healy September 22, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

    Neil Irwin’s article about how to become a Chief Executive Officer, C.E.O., was very interesting for a young student like myself whose future plans are to become successful in business. It might seem a little discouraging at first because he starts the article by saying that the way to the top was always determined by hard work, brains, leadership ability and luck. These are what I consider to be my strong points but as the article went on I have determined no matter how things may twist and turn these personal attributes will always be an intricate part of climbing to the top with a plaque on your door.

    Neil Irwin stated that he feels that the fastest way to the top is to experience as much as the industry as you can. The days of staying with one company is long gone and now the idea of just specializing in one aspect of business has also gone away. People are looking to diversify and reach out for experiences in more than one field to make themselves more marketable.

    The article cited a very interesting study by LinkedIn that studied 459,000 management consultants, and the study showed that experience in an additional functional area increases a person’s odds of upward mobility. The most interesting part of the study for me was that adding four different functional areas to your resume has the same effect as going to a Top 5 MBA program. That part of the study I found interesting because a top five program also comes with a very high price tag and if I can get the same results by diversifying my skills I would rather jump into the work force and go that route. Although I value education maybe business has become a hands on industry that you learn as you work to add skills.
    Another company that Irwin cited was a company called Burning Glass and apparently this company looks at job listing to see if there is any trends. This information can be helpful for new graduates because this data can predict what companies are looking for in the future. This is somewhat of a concern for students who are in school now because in a business school there are areas of expertise that we as student’s choose, an example of this would be accounting, economics, business management, etc.. I think we need to try to pick up as many skills as we can in college so we can be ready to be thrown into a world of having to be proficient in many things.
    Companies are looking for accountants and financial people to understand the areas they are supporting, so for instance if a person is a financial manager for logistics they need to understand how the operations works and warehousing and shipping. You have to become very well versed in the company to become an executive. The article stresses that these days it is not just a linear route to the top but a route that might have a person change jobs, change companies and acquire experience.

    The other way to acquire skills to become a C.E.O. is to start your own company. Being an entrepreneur forces a person to acquire skills because of the responsibility of running your own company. The example in the article was Margaret Beck who started in the cooperate world and found it unfulfilling. She later opened her own on line company and turned it into a business that was acquired by Macys and now she is the retail C.E.O. She had to learn many skills such as marketing, finances, inventory, retail operations and this has prepared her to become a successful C.E.O. I found this interesting because my older sister is starting a company and the amount of work she had to learn has been overwhelming. She never thought she would understanding ordering, inventory, data collecting, but she has given herself the chance to be the C.E. O. of her own company. It’s exciting time so I am hoping I can take a page from her playbook and the theories I learn in school and climb the cooperate later. The other thing I found interesting were the comments that the article generated. So many people feel that C.E.O‘s got there because of who they know and they really have a bad reputation of being uniformed and out of touch. Most of the comments were very negative. I think getting to the top also requires relationship building, you can’t burn bridges and you have to work to earn respect and that is where the hard work pays off.

  14. Briann Downes September 23, 2016 at 12:55 am #

    Neil Irwin’s article is very appropriate for business students, like myself, who desire to climb the corporate ladder. It is crucial to understand that in order to reach the upper rungs of this ladder we need to exceed the norms of hard work and leadership ability. Versatility has become essential to obtaining the role as a top executive and it has created this concept of “the nonlinear career progression.” This is the idea that for one to grow in their professional field, they must have experience in multiple divisions, such as finance, supply chain management, or marketing. A person who simply has ten years of experience in engineering stands less of a chance for reaching a CEO position than an engineer who also has spent some time in advertising.
    Taking the winding path to become a CEO can be compared to the game of basketball. Yes, a player may be comfortable when it comes to defense, but is blocking a couple shots enough to make you a good basketball player? The answer is no. You have to perfect both the offensive and defensive abilities in order to become a great player. You need to take a step out of your comfort zone and work on shooting those three point shots, even though you may not be good at them at first. The same notion applies to climbing the corporate ladder; you need to be willing to take on jobs that are unfamiliar. Mr. Monahan says, “What was critical for me in going into new functional areas was breaking that habit of feeling like you have to know it all. When you’re honest with yourself and with others in terms of your need for their support and involvement, generally people are willing to share with you what they know and help you be successful.” His statement ties into Ms. Marla Malcolm Beck, whom the article mentions. Beck transformed her online beauty products company into a $210 million profit by training herself as a retail CEO to perform the functions of an inventory manager, supply chain coordinator, and an information systems wizard. It is not that she got years of experience in each field, but rather she gathered some core analytical skills and used them to learn to develop her abilities in those functions. The ones that are going to rise to the top are the ones who take that step out of their comfort zone and learn the workings of other business functional areas.

  15. Dean Falcone September 23, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    If someone is reading an article like this, chances are they should not be a CEO. CEO’s are not looking all of the internet for the quick scheme to make it to the top. They are preparing themselves as best they can. Looking at this article for the answer to becoming successful implies uncertainty about oneself. If someone already has the skills, experience and connections, this article would be laughable to them. I am not one of those people who possesses all three to the highest extent. Yet, I still think this piece is comical. What was said was fairly obvious. There was no new information given that was not already talked about in any form of schooling. Becoming a CEO, President or Chief of anything is not attainable by just reading one article. There may be someone who turns their whole lives around because of it, but anyone who is already working for success will not benefit greatly.
    These types of articles make me a little irritated. Anyone who is already studying as a business major or enrolled in any college can see that this article did not need to be written. Yes, it helps people to have all beneficial material in one place, but I do not believe this is that place. This article simply says be someone of diversity. Of course employers want to know that you are versed in more than just one specialized field. I did not assume that people thought otherwise, until reading this article. Seeing this title made me think that there might be a new field to study or a way to globalize your startup company. Instead, it was another form of someone telling me to expand myself intellectually.
    In almost every sport it helps to know what to do at every position, during every situation. This provides the player with a greater understanding and improved vision of the field. In the business world, it is imperative to know what other branches or departments do in relation to your own. This gives everyone a better look at their own job and the role they play for the company. Also, only being able to use your left hand will not make you a great basketball player. Being ambidextrous is what makes athletes excel. For someone to know accounting without knowledge of finance is not beneficial. For this article to feel the need to be written, it assumes people do not know this. Some might not, but they are in a hole dug too deep for them to learn one little piece of information and turning them into a CEO.
    My next complaint with this article is related to the efficient market hypothesis (EMH). If this was really the secret to becoming a CEO, it would already be outdated. The first people to see that would be CEOs and there would have to be a new way to move up the rankings. Just like the EMH states, public information is already reflected in the past showings. By the time someone sees it, it’s too late to take action. I cannot rely on something posted on the internet to help me gain success. This is because I know that if I could find it, thousands of other people can too. The stories mentioned in the article were not because they used its methods, it is due to the fact they are smart and work hard. Even without knowing about the EMH, searching for a one stop technique to sky rocket my career is bad plan. I must know that my life is currently not successful and will not be soon if I do not do anything. Instead of putting in the time and work to learn how to improve myself, I can search the internet and find a method I like. As students who will be graduating soon, it is important that we take advantage of the opportunities given while still in school. Trying to make ourselves presentable to employees as possible is now including how diverse our education is.

  16. Joselito Abarca September 23, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

    Every year the job market becomes more competitive. Jobs openings are limited, and only the most qualified are offered a position. The traditional way to getting to the top was leadership skills, luck, and brainpower. In the 21st century this is no longer the case. In order to become a leader in any industry in this century, it is important to be versatile. From past experiences Gary Pinkus, Mckinsey & Company managing partner, remembers how “work used to be much more hierarchical”. By taking on more task in the specific role, the person had the ability to get promoted. This was the system for many years. Today, the individual must possess a diverse skill set. In order to begin gaining these diverse skills, I believe students should begin during their undergraduate studies. Taking on leadership roles on different clubs, having a minor or major is a distinctive field of study and trying new things throughout their studies. I recently got promoted senior analyst in the Hall Street Fund and I took the position because I know that if I want to get far in my career, most jobs want people who are leaders. Moreover, leader must be able to communicate effectively and with authority and students can gain these skills in internships, jobs and clubs around campus. In today’s job market, neither a finance nor accounting degree will be enough to make you a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a corporation. If someone wants to become a CEO at Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan, a great ways to stand is by obtain a Certified Finance (CFA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. According to the article an MBA is no longer the only path to an executive role. A new study found that “working in four different functions, had the nearly the same impact as getting an M.B.A from a top five program”. The price tag on getting a top 5 MBA program is quite hefty.
    Moreover, Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs majored in history while in Harvard College and later on went to get his Juris doctor (JD) from Harvard a few years later. It is interesting that a history major is now a CEO of a major investment bank. Taking on different majors and minors also help a candidate stand out. Who would have thought it was possible? Having a JD allows the individual to understand how to effectively run a business and even manipulate the law. A diverse background is an efficient way to stand out from your competitors and obtain an executive positon. As technology advances, those who want to become an executive need to adapt to these changes. In the past everything was done through paper. Now, if you are not able to operate a computer, you will most likely not get hired anywhere. It is essential to understand other functions of the company and have experience in them. Even though the article’s title is “How to become a CEO? I think the substance of the article applies to any higher position given today’s scare job market. Even simple jobs such as being a manger of McDonalds, in order to become manager it important to understand the different roles and adapt to the new technology. Leaders need to be able to make great decisions, incorporate new ideas and add value to the company. In order to fulfil these requirements it is essential to have experience in other roles or career paths. An integral part to reaching an executive positions is having connections. In today’s job market it is about who you know, not what you know. The location in which you live in plays a pivotal role in obtaining a job. If a student wants to get a finance job, if he lives in New York their chances are higher living in the Midwest. Success in the business world has changed drastically. Brain power and climbing a linear path was the old way to reaching the top, today it is all about having a diverse set of skills and learning about different roles. Edith Cooper, Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs has this famous saying which states “Be comfortable being uncomfortable”. In order to be advance in your career, it is crucial to get out your comfort zone. This article has changed my way of thinking. I thought that by getting an undergraduate degree in finance and then pursuing an MBA, I would able to secure a higher position at work. This article has motivated me to rely solely on mastering skills in finance but to learn about other skills such as politics or supply chain management.

  17. Liana Beharrysingh September 24, 2016 at 11:48 pm #

    In today’s business-oriented world, the processes and norms are constantly evolving to accommodate the discoveries and innovations that are being created in order to help society toward their advancement. This exemplifies the role that evolution also plays in the becoming of a CEO considering the focus has opened up to a key aspect of diversity compared to the narrow view of simply hierarchy. This is a crucial attribute for the advancement of millennials for the progression of their climb on the corporate ladder. It was interesting to know that companies are looking for employees that are competent in several fields opposed to just simply one. Being well-rounded allows the employee to add more value to a plethora of aspects of a company’s operations and internal processes opposed to just one which then leads to them becoming the company’s asset. With this diversity comes the ability to be able to connect with many different customers and partners which essentially builds even more value for the company. Once future employers see this, they are more inclined to hire you due to the fact that your experience can do so much for them while still complying with their functions. “Marc Andreessen, the prominent venture capitalist, has gone so far as to call this the “secret formula to becoming a C.E.O.” The most successful corporate leaders, he wrote, “are almost never the best product visionaries, or the best salespeople, or the best marketing people, or the best finance people, or even the best managers, but they are top 25 percent in some set of those skills, and then all of a sudden they’re qualified to actually run something important.” After being involved in my internship, I have learned how crucial that diversity is through several different managers. The more you can add to projects, the more you are viewed as trustworthy and capable. Companies encourage stepping out of your comfort zone to observe how you can overcome and prevail with various challenges at hand and diversity is just the way to prove that in order to obtain those professional goals.

  18. Matt Multer September 26, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

    I’ve been trying to avoid reading this article the past three weeks since we’ve started doing blog comments but I finally gave in and my curiosity peaked. As a kid when you’re asked what you want to be when you grow up nobody says a CEO. If you threw twenty college kids in a room and asked what they wanted to be I don’t think anyone would say a CEO. And I thought about that, and asked why? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate end goal in the field you go into? Become the CEO of a company, have everything at your fingertips and never have to worry about money. Who doesn’t like to rule the roost? I think that’s my new end goal now after reading this article, to become the CEO of some company. Then eventually I can go on Undercover Boss. This article outlines how hard it actually is to become a CEO, president, vice president or have some sort of “chief” title that you can then put on your office door.

    The title says the quickest path is a winding one to becoming a CEO. The obvious answer to how can one do this is hard work, be smart and have leadership ability. But to get a job as a top executive now it seems you have to have as much experience in different fields as possible. The example that is used in the article says that a person who burrows down for years in the finance department has little chance of reaching a top executive job than a finance specialist who also spent some time in another field like marketing or engineering. Or both of those plus others. This is extremely annoying to me. I think it’s all about luck. You just have to have the right opportunity to come your way.

    On a much lower scale it seems to be all about experience no matter what job, or what company you’re working for. I have such a negative attitude towards the experience factor of finding a job because of my job search this summer. I applied to multiple businesses including, Walgreens, Target, Acme, Shop Rite, Dollar General, Modell’s, Bed Bath and Beyond and even Wal Mart trying to find a job this summer. Simply just to be a cashier. I thought oh I’ll get one of these no problem. I had no experience being a cashier and none of these companies hired me at all. It was really frustrating because how am I supposed to get experience when nobody wants to give me the opportunity? Especially at a place like the Wal Mart where I live. I thought I was definitely capable of being a cashier there than the demeanor that some of the people who work there have. Instead I applied at a Lexus dealership, and I had the opportunity to detail cars all summer which I had NO prior experience doing. I think companies need to give people the opportunity to gain experience. I don’t see why a person who has spent a career in finance wouldn’t have the capability to run a company.

    Marc Andreessen says that the most successful formula to becoming a CEO is to be in the top 25 percent in many fields instead of being in the top 1 percent of one field. I think Marc Andreessen is wrong. My father is the Executive Vice President of Sales for his company and I know for sure he can run that company and be the President if he got the opportunity. Even though his whole life he’s been in sales I know that man has enough knowledge of the textile industry to be the President of that company and make it run smoothly. He’s been bogged down in sales but his 20+ years of experience in the industry I believe would make him qualified. I think what Guy Burger said is exactly what it takes to become a CEO. Even if you aren’t good at every job in the company as long as you understand the different parts of the company and how everyone works and you can interact with your employees then you can be successful.

    While being a CEO would be a very nice job to have it seems like it’s a long, long, road to get to. I think you need to be lucky enough to be given the opportunity and be lucky enough to have the experience in the industry that your company is in. I don’t think it matters if you know everything, you just need to have a general knowledge about how the company operates. Maybe one day I can be lucky enough to be a CEO on Undercover Boss.

  19. Joe Murdaco September 28, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

    Not only is finding a decent job to support a family hard but reading this article makes it more challenging to decide exactly what the best way to get that job is. There are many different routes one can take to become extremely successful. However, this article makes one thing clear. Being an expert in only one aspect of a company will not get you a job as a CEO. You have to be knowledgeable in multiple departments in order to make your way up the corporate ladder.
    One avenue to take to become successful is to work in a variety of departments in order to be knowledgeable in all of them. Being a manager or CEO involves overseeing the entire company. If you limit yourself to one department, it makes it hard for a company to assert you in a top role because you will not be able to help every employee. Personally, I thought that being an absolute expert in a single department was the best way to go because I would become the best at answering questions regarding my department so I would be the company’s top choice. However, after reading this article, I have actually decided to change my plan in college. I am going to major in Finance and minor in Accounting with a certificate in information technology so I appeal to all different types of companies. I have heard a lot about people who get a degree in something but do not work in that industry because they could not find jobs. I do not want to be stuck in that situation where I have to settle for a low paying job because I was not able to work in different departments of businesses. I want employers to be attracted to my resume because I can work everywhere in the company and that is why I decided to change my mindset and my college plan.
    The second route to working your way up to a top position in a company is to start your own business and learn everything as you go. This is a more difficult path in my mind to attain success because you have to start from nothing and work your way up. Not only do you have to learn every part of the business you have to do it all alone. You are the owner and boss so there really is no one you can report to for guidance. I would not choose this path for these reasons. I would much rather have advice from someone else until I was able to run the company on my own because it would be a lot of failures if I did it on my own.
    I think that knowing every part of the business is extremely important for a leader to know so that they can address any problems that are occurring in the business. When I talk to my uncle that works high up in the Merrill Edge finance company, he explains to me what he looks for in an employee he is looking to hire. He wants to see people that understand how to use programs like excel and access and also someone that can think logically as well as quantitatively about everything. This goes to show that this article is correct in their analysis. My uncle wants someone that has dabbled in everything as least once. I will take his advice and try to understand some aspects of every department in business.

  20. Janelle George September 28, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

    This article discusses a topic that I particularly enjoy. While reading through it I came across multiple points I just had to share with my roommate and other friends. As a transfer student, I encountered a new variety of perspectives within the student body that was and is unfortunately discouraging sometimes. While these students are very much ambitious to do well in school they are fearful that of if they do not show sufficiency in their grades it will undermine their opportunity for good jobs. All of these students I meet are yet very diverse in their interests and experience. They are doers. Thus, they will do well. However, there is this mentality that we need to focus ourselves in one subject and thrive in it which is what should be the focus of institutions to break that mentality.
    As the article states, “success in the business world is about accumulating diverse skills and showing an ability to learn about fields outside one’s comfort zone.” Exploring multiple companies/industries one would not initially consider is a great example of gaining personal experience and an understanding of where one would prefer to work. It also creates those diverse skills not otherwise acquired from working in a single company/industry. For example, jobs within the food industry are best to teach speed and quality because most restaurants and services need to work quickly and efficiently in order to meet demand wants for quality food. Retail is essential background on proper customer/guest service experience. Then there are different product and service companies like media or radio. Each industry and company provides professional skills that better chances of performing well in a chosen field at a chosen company.
    So, while good grades are definitely going to benefit a student in their success, they will only benefit continuing education at the most. Getting a degree is easy as long as you pass. Gaining lifelong skills and experience is the hard part. Paying attention to your company in all areas will bring you to the top; it’s common sense, because fellow coworkers, managers and employees will recognize your knowledge for the company. They will recognize your skill and experience. To all who read this article believing in their being a fast track to becoming a C.E.O. and made it through my comment, I advise you to find a love of learning. You cannot break old habits, only create new ones. Create a habit of breaking your comfort zones and exploring your working world in areas you never considered before today.

  21. Jason Salazar September 30, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    Till this day I am still trying to decide what I want pursue a career in. I want something that would give me a stable life in the future. I know that nothing is guaranteed after college, which I why I need to make sure I need to major and minor in something that will help out with my resume. This article shoes us that just trying to stick to one part of a company will not get you to a job as a CEO. You must be able to know about other departments in the company as well in order to get to the top.
    It is important if you want to become a CEO that you do not stay focused only in one department. The CEO should know about every aspect of the company. I was planning to only major in finance and try to grow from there but now I see that it will be very hard to do that. The company you work for is going to want someone who has more skills in everything so they can actually assists all the other departments. I thought my plan was to grow in my finance field. Now that I see it does not work like that I am thinking of other things to do. My cousin who is an accountant told me that it will be hard to find jobs. He suggested me to major in finance and minor in accounting so I can look better when I go try to look for jobs. In the article it says they would want some type of information technology as well. I did take a class on that last semester which I enjoyed. I was thinking on getting a certificate in that so I can better myself even more. If I hand in my resume with a major in finance, minor in accounting and certificate in information technology then I think I will grab their attention. I will be able to possibly find different types of jobs out there. I cannot follow a linear career path like the article said. I have to be open about everything there is in the business world. It will only make my life better. The article talked about starting your own company and learning as you go. This seems like it would give you a lot of experience but then it will also be a big risk. Trying to start a business will be hard because it will take time to get it where you want it to be. You will be the owner of it so you have to make sure everything is going okay. If you do something wrong, you risk hurting your company and yourself. I do not like the idea of taking this risk because I do not want to risk everything I have in the business. The point of the article is that if you want to get up there in the business world you must have a lot of experience. Someone who can do multiple things and is capable of helping in many departments will usually end up with the position of a CEO.

  22. Reuben Danto September 30, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    This article allows the reader to understand the differences between reality and the previous thought process at a young age that becoming a CEO is all about being superior in your business field. With this being said, shared data throughout a variety of industries shows a key point that in the business world it is not just about climbing the ladder, but about gathering diverse skills from each field and combining them into a vision, plan, or invention. Mr. Kurian, The CEO of NetApp provides examples of linear progression and nonlinear progression and claims that nonlinear progression comes with resources that are beneficial towards becoming a senior executive in a company. Linear progression has the greater competition and is the proven steps towards success, but becoming a senior executive requires a different motivation and path. Another option, to acquire skills to become a C.E.O. is to start your own business. Being an entrepreneur forces a person to use all types of skills because of the responsibilities and time needed. The example in the article was Margaret Beck who shares that taking on a variety of roles in a large corporation might not allow for experience, but rather stress and lack of availability to other important events in life.
    This article touched on subjects in the business industry that are talked about on a daily basis, but not really analyzed thoroughly. The reason this article was informative and detailed has to due with acknowledging that proven tracks towards success aren’t always the best or efficient way. Different job functions in business enable for growth, but the article says the windy road is the best way to become a C.E.O. I don’t agree with that exact statement at all, but the examples towards becoming a C.E.O in the article provide a different perspective. Overall, there may be data proving one way is better then the other and that can be interpreted by many business professionals.

  23. Jalal Zahir September 30, 2016 at 8:35 pm #

    As a kid everyone imagines themselves being a CEO. I used to picture myself as an adult kicking my feet up on my test in my office headquarters, looking out the window of the skyscraper my company is headed at, and smiling at my success. When someone says the word, CEO, a lot of different images come to mind. Some people imagine a man in a suit, some people imagine a billionaire on a yacht, other people imagine a greedy pig swindling others for their money. The term CEO is usually associated with one thing, money. Usually when people say they want to be the CEO of a company what they really mean is they want money. Having all the money and power that comes with being the boss is what ultimately drives a lot of people, and these people usually end up in failure. In order to be a CEO you cannot be motivated by personal greed. In order to be a CEO you have to love what you do. Steve Jobs was a genius, but there are many technological geniuses in the world. The difference between him and his peers is he loved what he did. While others were looking for what would make them money, he looked to do what he loved. He loved innovation, and his love of innovation is what lead him to the iPhone, iPod etc. It is another cliché, but in order to become a CEO you need to be the hardest worker in the room. It is often times better to be the most driven person in your field than the smartest one. Putting in the extra work afterhours, going out of your way to help other with their projects, this is what will impress your supervisors. Nearly all CEOs of companies were not given that title in the beginning. They were low level employees who worked their way up the ranks. They had to show their superiors that they were more deserving of a raise in the company ranks than their peers. They did this by being the hardest working employee at the company. Even though passion is something that comes from the heart it shows in your daily interactions and how you go about conducting your business. The most passionate employees are the ones who are given the greatest positions of power.
    The article mentioned something that intrigued me that I had not previously thought about. Just as someone who owns stocks wants to have diversity in their portfolio, in order to become a CEO you need to have a diversity in your work experience. The people who become CEOs are the people who have work experience in as many different fields as they can. The article gives an example of a finance major. A finance major who only works on the financial side of business will have a lot less of a chance of getting a major executive position in a company than a finance person who has experience in marketing, management, and other sectors of finance. Prominent venture capitalist stated that in order to become a CEO, the best formula is to be in the top 25 percent in intelligence and experience in many fields than the top 1 percent in a single field. This perfectly encompasses how someone should approach their path on becoming a CEO. Business is more global than ever. In order to be a CEO you have to be able to understand all the different components of business because they are all connected with each other. A CEO of a marketing firm does not only focus on marketing. He has to know how to manage his resources, how to pick the best employees to fit certain roles within the company. He has to know how to manage a budget, he needs to understand every economic field in order to have executive power in one. This is why work experience is so necessary. Reading from a book help acquire knowledge, but unless that knowledge is put to the test in a real work environment than it is all just ideas and not applicable knowledge. If you want to become a CEO you have to go and find jobs in multiple career paths to acquire the greatest amount of knowledge possible. This is why the majority of CEOs are white men, because they are the ones given the greatest amount of possibilities in the country. It is no secret that racism is still a major problem within this country. One of the biggest ways that racism manifests itself is in hiring for jobs. A white man with a felony has the same chance of getting a job as a black man with no criminal record ( The unemployment rate for black Americans is at 9.5 percent, compared to only 4.5 percent for white Americans. Even when education is controlled, there is still a significant difference in employment between white and black Americans ( The gap in employment opportunities is the reason why so few minorities, and more specifically black Americans, are given prominent positions of power in companies. Only five CEOs out of the five hundred biggest companies in this country are black ( Unfortunately in this country a person’s chance of becoming a CEO is directly tied to their race. Opportunities in this country definitely come to people from a certain nationality and economic bracket, but luck is also a reason why people are given these opportunities. Sometimes people only get certain jobs simply because of who they know, or they happen to be at the right place at the right time. I have had two paying jobs in my short lifetime. In both cases the only reason I got the job is because of my friends. They told me that there was a position open in their company, I applied, they put in a really good word and I got the job. Sometimes it is as easy as that. That is why there are so many networking events in college. Being hard working, being passionate, and being the smartest person in the room will greatly help your chances of becoming a CEO. What the article fails to mention though is that sometimes it is as easy as knowing the right person, whether you are qualified or not.

  24. Yuhui Zhang October 8, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    To achieve a career goal at a top position like CEO, CFO for those who major in business are hard. Being a leader is not simple. It requires hard-working, versatility, and many other characteristics. To run a big company and direct all the employees to follow the goal that is created by top managers is a skill that for those who want to become top to learn about. The three path the article described are good to know, and I agree with those ideas. I think being cross-functional is good. Being cross-functional is always a good ability that can attract people’s attention. For a leader, he/she need to deal with many different situations. It is different from just being a manager for marketing or accounting. He/she need to contain several abilities to face any situations. In other words, a diver background will create a better and more chances for a person. Also, going out of comfort zone is a big step for leaders. A person who is not willing to take risks will stay in a position for many years. They are not willing to take risks because they are enjoying their good pay, or for any other reasons. But the key is that those who are not willing to go out from the comfort zone will not able to experience more. Those can only be an employee. A leader is always willing to take risks and catch opportunities in their life.
    I have not been at a work place, I think those tips are always helpful to know. I do think that people will confuse about their career goal when they are actually in the working positions for many years. After many years of working, they are satisfy with the position and unwilling to chance. That is time to revise those tips. At the same time, I think one other important thing will help to become leader is the personalities. Personalities can be changed due to many reasons. In other words, I think we need to be willing to changing. Changing is both good and bad. It is bad for those who want to stay in the comfort zone, but good for those who wants to become top leaders.

  25. BD October 30, 2016 at 9:50 pm #

    In today’s constantly evolving business world, education and experience are the key driving factors when it comes to marketing oneself for a promotion or bonus in a highly competitive industry. I found this article interesting as it talks about the “path” that current executives have taken to reach the highly sought after rank of chief executive. The “winding path” as described in the article comes to no surprise to me as the business world is different today compared to what it was 10 or 20 years ago. Chief executives today we see face much more challenging environments in terms of competition due to the ever-growing increase of technology and regulation. As far as technology, the computing power that is available today was unimaginable 20 years ago and this allows for increased efficiency in business but also creates more vulnerability to hacking. In addition to the advances in technology, corporate business in regulated to protect both investors and employees, and is something that all executives must have a basic understanding of.

    The reason there is no surprise to me that the path to becoming a CEO is not a linear one, is due to the fact that executives are responsible for such a wide range of operations that they need a diverse set of skills to complement the level management. For example, an executive that is highly skilled in one area and can be argued to be the best in that area will not be able to manage as efficiently as someone who is moderately skilled in a wide range of areas. Being the CEO of a large company, you are the person that people answer to and look for direction, therefore need to have basic knowledge in every aspect of the company. Everything from the financing operations of the company to the interviewing process for new potential employees must be covered in a CEO’s skillset. In addition to increasing your chances of possibly becoming an executive one day, I feel that diversity in both skills and business roles is something that promotes a positive learning environment. I have held several different types of part-time jobs throughout high school and college and feel that it was better prepared me for my future career. Working in both the automotive industry at a car dealership and transitioning to the agricultural industry working at a florist and garden center, I could apply similar basic skills and develop new unrelated industry specific skills. Taking the knowledge that has been learned from transitioning jobs in high school and college and applying those skills to my future career in the finance industry I feel is similar to finding your own winding path towards a management role.

  26. Michael Papotto November 11, 2016 at 7:03 am #

    This is very interesting as in many classes we hear that it is important to find your niche what your really good at and stick with it. This idea bucks that completely and I believe that is a good thing and makes a lot of sense. Having a Chief Executive who has only done one thing throughout their career doesn’t really seem like a great thing just thinking about it. A company and board of directors really would want someone who has done several different things in the industry so that the person at the top has a strong working knowledge of how all of the functions of the firm operates.

    It also makes sense and is good to point out that too much movement can be a bad thing. Especially jumping between industries to me that says that a person can’t really find an industry that they like so they keep moving and aren’t very dedicated to one company. Boards and people in charge of selecting top executives don’t want someone who is prone to jump around and leave often because at those positions they are looking for some one who will stay their and provide continuity stability for the firm.

    I do believe that it is important to for us going out into the work world to understand that it is good to move around and gain experience in as many parts of a company as we can. However we have to be sure that we aren’t jumping around too much and we do show that we are dedicated employees. I also believe that this route of growth will be hard for many people coming out of school because for at least as long as I can remember things have been laid out and straight forward, for example if you do well on the test you’ll pass and get a good grade. I believe it will be a challenge to shake off this straight forward expectation reward path that we have been on for so long and move onto a path that is winding and can feel uncertain.

  27. John Phillips January 20, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

    Becoming a CEO of a corporation is the goal of many people who work in the business world. It is a lofty aspiration, that only few ever accomplish. These individuals are unique, with a diverse set of skills, as well as traits that allowed them to stand out from the rest. This versatility includes, being well-educated, confident, working experience in different feels, and most importantly strong communication skills. The author brought to my attention fabulous research that supports the idea that differentiating yourself is the single most important thing you can do to find success. The single most important point addressed in this piece was the idea of using things you have learned through past experiences and applying them to your duties every day, in order to solve problems. This synthesis gives a basis of how one can aspire to become a CEO, we should explore what each of these skills and practices entails, to better understand what it takes to become a great a CEO.
    The first step to becoming a CEO is becoming well-educated. This gives you an intellectual structure, of learning how to make decisions, solve problems, and efficiently communicate. This is the foundation for a successful career. We must look to advance our education to the highest possible level; not just in one field though, diversity is key. We must try and strengthen our knowledge in multiple fields, such as business, engineering, and technology. Having versatility is a recipe for success. People focus too much on the future and one specific career path rather than opening themselves to possibilities such as multiple job opportunities. The author gives us facts to back up the fact that people who differentiate themselves with a diverse education background, get to executive positions more often than those with one concentration. The goal of receiving an education with aspirations of becoming a CEO should be focusing on research skills, business skills, communication, and technology. In my opinion, and in reading the article it is clear that these specific skills lead to the most success. Education is obviously the most important component, but a close second is personality and people skills.
    An aspiring CEO must develop confidence, charisma, and most importantly listening skills. These three things will help you develop better relationships, and eventually help you gain support from your coworkers. This blend of personality traits are three components of a great CEO. There are others, such as ambition and motivation. The work ethic that is required to hold such a position is intense. CEO’s work endless hours, and a bulk of a company’s responsibilities fall on them. You must be able to handle pressure and use the confidence you have to stick with the decisions you make.
    The final skill that one must have to reach CEO, is the ability to use past experiences and knowledge to solve everyday challenges faced by the company. This ability is not possessed by many, hence why becoming a CEO is so difficult. Every day, company executives face lofty challenges; they use a pragmatic approach to every problem and construct a solution. This is why developing a strong background in research and logic is so crucial.
    The skills discussed are things I try and achieve each and every day. I dedicate a bulk of my time to education an another chunk of my time working on my social skills. This piece opened my eyes to what it really takes to become a CEO. The research was very interesting, and thoroughly enjoyable.

  28. Lauren Burbank January 27, 2017 at 7:16 pm #

    I am learning first hand how true everything in this article is. The upper management in my department at Verizon Wireless will tell you over and over again that to move up in this company, you need to have experience in many different functions. I am a marketing major and I always felt like having experience in customer service and sales was all I needed, besides actual marketing experience, to work my way up the “corporate ladder” to the highly desired title of “CEO” or “Vice President.” The past two years have taught me that I was wrong. Verizon seeks people who may only hold one title, but will “wear many hats” and be able to complete a multitude of cross channel tasks.
    Almost every marketing manager or director for Verizon Wireless has experience in many other departments. Usually their variety in experience includes some form of retail management, project or product development, systems or operations field work, and/or some history of being in HR or finance. Verizon also pushes their employees to work in the different channels they are connected to: indirect, corporate, headquarters, and so on. This makes it a bit more challenging to create a direct path to the career I want, as to be really successful here you need to constantly be moving and learning new functions. Verizon is especially interested in people with knowledge in IT, network engineering, and cloud/digital marketing, which makes sense given the fact it’s a giant in the wireless industry.
    Despite never having an interest in IT, I am now planning on completing some certification programs over the summer on commonly used IT programs. An HR consultant here recently advised me how valuable that knowledge is, as they hired a few candidates with no college background—just IT certifications—and started them out with over $90k per year. I do believe that working in different roles helps you have a broader perspective and gives you an advantage when it comes to critical thinking and finding solutions for business concerns. I was given an “acting” assignment as a Quality Assurance Analyst and the thing that made me most successful in this role was that I had been working as a telesales consultant for the past two years. I knew how to communicate the feedback in a more effective way than my colleagues who hadn’t worked as consultants in quite some time, if ever. I also knew how to get the consultants more focused on improving the metrics the QA team measured because I “spoke their language” and they trusted my feedback.
    The QA experience combined with the ongoing work as a telesales consultant has landed me a few interviews in the past few weeks with departments I never thought would consider me. When I asked a recent interviewer what made my resume stand out, he said it’s because I would know what would be practical and most useful because I used the systems they work on enhancing. He explained that other candidates never worked with the system and wouldn’t be able to see it with a realistic point of view. This interview was for a senior analyst role in improving the point of sales systems used by representatives in indirect stores. As I said before, I never really had an interest in IT, and although this isn’t an IT heavy role, it’s definitely closer to IT than it is to marketing. I agree that the people who are at the top of a company should have experience in as many functions as possible because to put it simply, they are in charge of “the big picture,” and they need to have a firm grasp on every detail that creates that big picture in order to manage it efficiently.

  29. Erin Chan February 3, 2017 at 2:22 am #

    Business is cruel, people always have to try to win someone else. In fact, the final real winners are those who can create a win-win situation of entrepreneurs, they will not always win the whole way Business. But rather with the kind, as we imagine the way to be successful, and finally you will get is the trust and respect of others. The boss is working for themselves and they are create business performance. But also responsible for their own. If people have the mentality for their own work, they also have to do the quality of the boss. If people’s mind is working for someone else, they must rely on the supervision of others before they are willing to work hard, you are destined to be a migrant life. If we want to be a master in this life, we must first have to do with the owner should have a mentality. We can see that good leaders, beginning to be a good follower. At the same time, is important take time to maintain important personal relationships, such as letters, E-mail, call or door visit. To know how to do as much as possible for others is to add their own points in the truth, to cultivate a good public image and life conservation.
    In doing followers of the time, if it is to do a casual and mixed with a mixed, it will not be a great leader. Most good leaders, he or she was originally a good follower. Think like a boss, act like a boss. They will have the mentality of being a boss. They will go to consider the growth of enterprises, considering the cost of business. At the same time, they will feel the business thing is their own thing. On the contrary, people maybe justified, irresponsible. That they are always migrant workers, business has nothing to do with their own destiny. If they think it in that way they will not get the boss’s identity, will not be reused, low-wage earners will be their forever career.
    Boss’s work in addition to their own money and looking for employees to retain staff, but the coordination is often between the various footholds. In fact, the boss’s mind is only one need a lot of mind to help him think. After their own analysis of the decision, out of the things to bear responsibility.
    In the application is to know whether the boss is such a person. If with the boss mentality, people will become a trustworthy person. A boss willing to accept the people, which is also a major event can be people. Because a person who works diligently for the company to complete the work. Often have this job as their own cause, their business is part of the cause of the company the cause of the company is their own business. A successful leader will not only make decisions from his own perspective, but rather will switch to a lot of people from different positions to look at things, whether it is customers, employees, suppliers, and even partners, it will be easier to do more Good decision.

  30. Olivia Tarnawska March 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    One of my top aspirations other than owning my own company, is to potentially become a CEO of a company. This article I found to be not only interesting, but also relatable. Becoming a CEO of a company takes a lot of hard-work, dedication, leadership, as well as, versatility. These positions require a person to be well-rounded, confident, in addition to needing the necessary communication skills.

    I find the business world to be fascinating because it encompasses so many different areas. There are many aspects that go into a business that make it successful. Factors like customers service, attitude, discipline, risk, or marketing all contribute to making a strong and successful business. Speaking of a CEO, part of their job is to meet the needs of employees, customers, investors, and the law. Their power and importance is one intriguing aspect of the position. Additionally, another intriguing part of being a CEO is the salary. CEO’s are known to be generous and paid very well. That is one of the reasons that make it very appealing to myself. Being a student at Seton Hall, and coming from a family of four raised by my mom, it is my best interest to strive for a job that will ultimately secure myself financially as well as my family. Becoming CEO of a company, in my opinion, will set me for success. I also believe that it will offset my other goal of never having to worry about money, whether it be paying bills, or buying groceries.

    Though the business world is super competitive, and the road to becoming a CEO is long and hard-working, I believe that this can not limit a person’s ability to achieve what they want. The title, salary, and position will ultimately pay off all the work, dedication, and patience a person would put in. I’m excited to see what the business world has to offer, and wherever I start, I will continue to move forward in accomplishing either owning my own company or becoming CEO of one.

  31. Sirina Natarajan March 24, 2017 at 8:21 pm #

    It makes sense that the person fit to lead a company would need to have experience in more than one aspect of the company. By moving through the different positions in the company, the employees is able to learn more about the company. This not only makes them an effective problem-solver because they would be familiar with the different types of jobs, but they would know more about what the company’s purpose and what its possible weak spots may be. By moving around the different positions, the employee becomes more well-rounded and becomes more invested in the company. If the employee is going to put that much work in to one company, they would want to stick around for the benefits. As the technology era continues to evolve, the people who contribute to the IT department of the company need to be more prepared to talk to customers and help them with any issues they may face.
    As companies become more and more unconventional, they require a more unconventional CEO who understands what the company truly stands for. By moving through different departments, an employee is also able to network and connect with others who work at the company. It becomes much easier for them to climb the ladder if they have more people to advocate for them. The only problem I see with this idea is that it would take a very long time and a very special person to accomplish this. I think to effectively go through the different departments would take at least seven years. An employee would need to adjust to the company for about a year or two, then move on to a different department and learn something completely different. It takes a long time to acquire a new skill and to be good at it. It makes sense that this process would take a long time, however, because not everyone is fit to run a company and this process weeds out those who are not genuinely interested in the company.
    An important component of a modern company is its ability to adapt to the technological changes that society constantly comes up with; a good CEO will be able to handle the technology and understand what the changes may mean for the company and how it will affect certain areas of the company. It is important for a CEO who takes this long path to remember that while they worked in different departments successfully, it does not mean there is not someone who is more equipped to handle situations that directly apply to that department. It is better for the CEO to know what it is like to be in those different departments and to know how each one contributes to the company’s overall purpose. I like the idea of a CEO going through the departments as it makes for a more skilled leader who has enough experience and relations to be competent to run the company. It is important to push people outside of their comfort zone so they can learn new things.

  32. Nicholas Birchby October 27, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

    Climbing to the top of your business corporate ladder can be extremely difficult. Research has suggested that the fastest way to advance to the top of your company is to be diverse in all aspects of business. Someone who has worked in several different fields such as marketing, finance, and engineering, as opposed to maybe only one of the fields will have a much higher chance of moving up in the ranks. Major companies will want their top executives to be people who see the business from every angle, not someone who only known one third of it. By expanding your knowledge, and searching for different experiences, you are establishing yourself as a more diverse candidate and a more helpful worker to the company. Over recent years, there has been in increase in the need for “hybrid jobs”, which are jobs that incorporate multiple aspects of business, such as technology and finance. These kinds of jobs require a more diverse and experienced candidate in order to be successful. If a person was able to handle the hybrid job with ease, and demonstrate good decision making, they could be setting themselves up for a more intricate role in the company in a higher position. The more you can bring to the company, the more you are separating yourself from the competition, and there is always competition. If you are not performing your job how they see necessary, you will be replaced by someone who will do it. This is why it is especially important to try to learn several skills in different fields of business. By broadening your fields, you are adding value to yourself as a worker, and making yourself more appealing to work as a potential CEO. Research has shown that the last few years, top lever jobs have begun to incorporate multiple different fields into one position. No longer can a CEO only be an expert in one field of the business. The competition for jobs is increasing, and the amount of jobs is decreasing. It has become increasingly obvious that you must begin to expand your horizons at younger ages in order to keep up with the competition for jobs. A good way to potentially set yourself up for a high level corporate job is to try graduating with multiple business majors, as opposed to only one. This would demonstrate a very strong grasp of different business fields, which is exactly what companies are looking for in their executives. It is important to step out of your comfort zone so that you can find out how good you can really be. Pushing yourself to learn more about other topics could put you in the position to make millions of dollars in a CEO position. Another good way to expand your knowledge is by asking questions while at work. If you assume you know everything, you will only ever have your own perspective on something. When acting as the CEO of a company, you may have to make a major decision. It is best to see these major decisions from all different angles, asking questions opens your mind to other perspectives. Asking questions in the work place and the classroom can help you learn and see things from a different view. Thus, opening your mind to different possibilities and outcomes. To become a CEO, you must learn about every different field of the business. This way, when the time comes, you will be prepared and ready to operate as the CEO.

  33. Brennan M February 4, 2018 at 12:36 pm #

    I find this article to be make sense of the job force today, but to also make workers understand that complacency is not the key to working your way up the ladder. Having experience in more than one field, while also having a background working different jobs, can be what puts you in prime position to take on a CEO position. As the article says one needs to be able to go out of his comfort zone and develop diverse skills. Sometime brain power can only go so far and these different skills can be the reason companies set you apart from others. The more you read the article the more you understand that diversity stands out as a key factor to employers.
    CEO’s as people need to be able to expect the unexpected and work with a variety of different people on an everyday biases. They need to have a clear mind set, be productive with their work, while also making sure that things in the business are running properly. Being a CEO isn’t a job for everyone. It requires long days of high pressure situations along with a component of stress. The most important thing I feel CEO’s need to possess is organization and to be prepared for whatever the company needs that certain day at a certain time. Productivity is the key and if something does not get done that was suppose to be done, that responsibility rests on the CEO’s shoulders.
    We hear all the time that we want a diverse background, but sometimes jumping around to too many jobs can be a made idea. Companies want people that have had set jobs that encompass a wide range of tasks and different skills. If you are someone who can never stay put in a job, that is only more likely for them to cross you off their list of potential hires.
    Another point I feel that is important to mention is the ability to work with people and problem solve. if a CEO is not great communicating with people, it can make for a major problem in all aspects of the business. problem solving comes into play when there are differing thoughts about a certain strategy or move that a business could potentially make. It is important that a CEO is able to be the mediator in this type of situation and know the right path the business should go that leads to success for all.

  34. Patrick Day February 6, 2018 at 6:17 pm #

    Becoming a Chief Executive Officer in the business world is not all about being the smartest or being the most skilled in an area. Even though that might be the case for some companies, there is a lot more that goes into what it takes to be able to become a C.E.O. in a company. Having past experience is one of the biggest factors that comes into play when trying to go for that kind of job. Just like what Irwin mentions in his article, “How to Become a C.E.O.? The Quickest way is a Winding One” he states how the social network LinkedIn has made a discovery that the odds of becoming a C.E.O. increases when a person has experience in one additional functional area in the business world. If a person wants to become a C.E.O., that person cannot expect to just get lucky to get the job. The person needs to show passion and that that person will do anything to drive the company forward no matter what happens. Anyone is able to become a C.E.O. of a company if they are willing to fight for it. After you get the position, the person must show their passion for the company to prove anyone wrong that doubted that person to take that position.
    Since there is nothing higher than the C.E.O. it is best for a person to take it one step at a time instead of always trying to pursue the C.E.O. position. A great way to make it towards the C.E.O. position is by focusing on climbing the ranks and be persistent in work ethic throughout a company. People are always looking for variety in a C.E.O. but too much variety could also be a bad thing. It is best to have a little bit of variety in things that you are able to excel at other than just the business aspect itself. A great skill to have as a C.E.O. would to have a background as a lawyer. The reason for that is because of the amount of laws that are around in the business world in the twenty first century. If a C.E.O. is not careful with the decisions they make for the company, they could easily could get a lawsuit and end up bankrupt. Just like what Danielle mentions in her comment that becoming a C.E.O. is not a straight path to success. There are many ways that could help your odds of becoming one but there are many people that are able to have that passion to become the C.E.O. of a company. The person that becomes a C.E.O. is the one that is always willing to go the extra mile to stand out from everyone else.

  35. Damian Mioduszewski February 23, 2018 at 6:32 pm #

    If you work in finance or accounting for long enough with enough experience under your belt they will believe you are competent enough to make the money decisions of behalf of the shareholders. Well that statement was once true back in the day where everything was straightforward and black and white but now with the ever changing world around us there top tier executives must be able to know how technology or market works in addition to understanding money. Some hope that becoming a CEO would be a linear career but now it’s a non-linear career which can be confusing what that means to some. To simply put it you must be able to handle a wide array of different roles such as accountant and marketer so you can know to keep the company in the good spotlight while keeping it profitable. Personally, this is very interesting for me as I have always enjoyed taking on many different roles in order to get the larger picture and that can correlate to making the company successful. I don’t think that being able to take multiple roles is a step backwards in order to appease shareholders but actually a step forward in business. Now CEOs will be able to relate to these new departments that are now emerging such as technology related departments and marketing. With these new experiences you are more likely to become a CEO if you hold more roles in your past jobs than if you graduate from a top tier MBA program. Also with 6 roles your nearly twice as more likely to become a CEO than someone who held 1 role in their past job. Also I agree with this new requirements of CEO’s because in order to run a company you have to be well rounded and not simply knowing how to make sure your company makes a profit. Being well rounded and knowing a bit of everything is the new key to running a successful business as you are able to bring together all the different parts of the company to unite and operate as one in order to help eachother.

  36. Britania B November 1, 2018 at 12:30 pm #

    This article to me is only to be read by and for a man because today less and fewer women are getting to be CEO. But if women do have those skills and more they would not get that promotion to be CEO. Today society does not view women and men on the same spectra. They believe men have more authority and are less demanding than women. Even if we bring up women pay rate or statistic about women being in high position roles we would see that it is low. Instead, we will see that it mostly men in those roles.
    This article saying those are the two skills needed to be a CEO is only for one gender and not the other. Men and women with the same years of experience will not get the same promotion each one deserves. And even if for the slight chance that women get that position they will not be treated the same way a men would be treated. Men will view it that as a women have more power over them which they will disapprove of. On the other hand, those two skills are very important for a CEO in a workplace. To have to be the able variety of knowledge from several diverse fields of business will help improve the efficiency of the corporation. By having the skill to be versatile a CEO will be able to adapt to the changes that are taking place around them in the workplace.

  37. Andrew F October 4, 2019 at 12:26 pm #

    In today’s society, it seems as if college students and even kids are mainly focusing on one task or one subject and specializing in one thing. They spend hours and hours trying to master one area of business or sports, and more often than not, it only leads them to becoming extremely burnt out but it also limits them down the road if their career doesn’t work out or they experience a shift in their interests. There is a very fine line between putting all of your effort into one subject and trying to be the best in your field and gaining experience in other fields to help you down the road. This article is a great example of showing how the path to the top is a “winding one” and that experience in multiple fields is crucial for top executive positions. Yes you need to be advanced in the main field, but if you have no knowledge in other areas, you won’t be able to help out other people in the company, understand their thought process, and ultimately have a successful business.

    For me personally, I am studying global supply chain in school. My studies encompass a wide variety of subjects such as transportation, warehousing, procurement, manufacturing, etc. If I wanted to really dive into one area, I could probably become really good at what I do, but I would most likely stay in that field for a large portion of my career and never get to the top. If I wanted to be a supply chain executive and follow what this article says, I would get an internship in one area, hopefully get a job in another area, and over the years bounce around to gather information about departments. With all of this knowledge and experience, it would make me a lot more attractive as a supply chain executive. It is also very important that I gain experience in areas like accounting and finance and marketing. I need to find a balance in these areas, not bounce around too much, and network to the greatest of my abilities if I want to get to the top one day.

  38. Pablodcr March 9, 2020 at 1:29 pm #

    Being a boss is not easy at all, great power entails great responsibility. Because making decisions means that if things go well, you are responsible and if they go wrong, too. Not everyone is able to withstand that degree of pressure, so it is not surprising that people who reach these positions have followed very similar paths. The majority believe that in order to run a company it is necessary to have studied in one of the best universities in the world or focus on that goal since leaving the career or having an impeccable curriculum with which it is impossible to be told that you are not at all. But what has made them bosses are not their studies themselves, or their CV, the key has been their attitude towards work. Because what unites them are three types of experiences that have one thing in common: courage.
    The road to the big office does not go straight. Sometimes it is necessary to go down a step or stay at the same level for a while trying different things to gather the experience necessary to become the boss.
    There is nothing more frightening than having to do something and not knowing how. But sometimes it is necessary to take that leap, take a chance and see if it works. That is what much of the bosses did in the past.
    The key is to be open to everything and have the ability to learn and actively seek opportunities. Most likely, the most attractive and challenging jobs are not going to meet them first. Therefore, it is advisable to ask for more responsibilities or participate in projects that require a lot of work and very different, and always say yes to the opportunities that arise.
    On numerous occasions, impossible projects come that others before you had started and that have remained undone. There comes the opportunity to teach others how prepared you are for a more important position, to show that you can with anything, that you know how to work under pressure, make decisions, … that is, you know how to be boss.
    In short, you have to be brave. Those who reach the highest position are those who risk, sometimes it will work out well and sometimes not, but those who followed these steps managed to become the CEO of important companies much faster than those who sat waiting for an opportunity to come.

  39. David M March 11, 2020 at 2:26 pm #

    This article was about how to get an executive position at your company. The article points out that by quickly google searching it, or looking at executives linked in profiles, it seems like a pretty straight path to the top. However, that is not a realistic path for most people. The article breaks down a study of nearly half a million people who have become executives. The key takeaways to becoming an executive were having a particular variety of skills, MBA’s from distinguished programs, and location, matter. They also discovered that men have a slight advantage. I think that these all make sense. To be an executive it is crucial that you have experience in different areas that are relevant to your company. I believe that a good boss knows how each role works. This will also allow him to know how to more effectively manage his employees. It also makes sense that having an MBA from a top program is important. Having an MBA can separate someone from the pack, that extra education may make someone a better boss. I think that a lot of millennials have the aspiration to become executives. That is a good aspiration to have, but I think it is important that people know that it is not as straightforward as it seems. Although everyone’s path is different, hopefully this study can provide a more clear road map for asprining employees.

  40. MaryAnn G March 31, 2020 at 11:46 am #

    This article is very relevant to this day and age. The need to have knowledge of other fields shows that you are capable of not just knowing about other fields but that you are also capable of working in that field and understanding the workings of that area. To be a leader, you not only have to be able to understand your own field, but you have to understand the workings and details of other fields to understand how they all work together and how they all effect each other. It may seem like it is a lot to ask to for a future CEO to understand the workings of multiple fields but if you are actually working in that managerial field, not having knowledge will end up hindering you in your ability to do the work properly and efficiently. Along with this, we have to remember that there is a balance between everything. You do not want to be someone who is switching fields every five years or so because then you will not be able to develop properly in any field and will deter your progression up the corporate ladder. According to the article, “Switching industries has a negative correlation with corporate success, which may speak to the importance of building relationships and experience within an industry.” There are steps that you have to hypothetically complete in each field that you enter so that you are able to get the full experience.  I believe this is true because if you want to be a leader of a company filled with many different areas and people, you need to have some knowledge and understanding of everything that is taking place.  If you have substantial knowledge of just your own area, then you would be more fit to be the manager or leader of just that one area.  

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