The success of any business depends on the leadership and direction it receives from the top. That’s why chief executive officers (CEOs) are vital to driving strategic business development and expanding growth for companies worldwide. Plotting a career path toward this top-ranking executive position takes discipline, drive and the right education. Enrolling in a Master of Business Administration degree program can be the first step on a rewarding journey.

Job Outlook for Chief Executive Officers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment growth for top executives, including chief executive officers, is projected at 11% nationwide between 2012 and 2022. An expanding business environment is expected to contribute to the demand for skilled CEOs, with job prospects reflecting the level of growth in specific industries. Fast-growing fields such as healthcare should offer more opportunities.

Because these C-suite positions are highly sought, competition will be keen. Stronger job prospects should be enjoyed by candidates with advanced educational qualifications, experience and specialized knowledge.

Chief Executive Officer Job Duties

The chief executive officer position is challenging but also rewarding. An organization’s reputation is often a reflection of the CEO’s reputation, and a company’s success may be closely tied to its chief executive’s efforts and effectiveness. Providing the vision, leadership and direction that an organization needs to achieve its goals is the main function of the chief executive officer.

As the face of an organization, the CEO is typically required to represent the company in the public. This could include such activities as participating in meetings with the board of directors and stockholders, attending community functions, advocating for the organization in the business and political arenas, and developing relationships with strategic partners and clients.

Reporting to the board of directors, the CEO serves as both an advisor and policy administrator. These high-level executives are responsible for a firm’s productivity and profitability. They are typically expected to ensure management and staff members are supported with sufficient resources to stay ahead of industry and economic changes.

CEOs also supervise the general operations of an organization, including human resources, finances, sales, production and physical resources. Ultimately, they are responsible for complying with legal and regulatory requirements, product and service delivery, upholding quality standards and ensuring the organization’s financial health.

To succeed, a CEO must be supported by a strong management team; therefore, recruiting, hiring and mentoring staff is another important duty of the chief executive. These professionals may also be responsible for expanding company and product awareness, establishing and implementing organizational goals and mission statements, and maintaining a positive public reputation.

Chief Executive Officer Potential Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chief executives nationwide earned an average annual salary of $178,400 as of May 2013. In addition to base salary, CEOs often are compensated with stock options, performance bonuses and other benefits, such as expense allowances and company vehicles.

An individual’s experience and education level will impact potential salary ranges and employment opportunities, as will the size and type of organization and the overall economic health of the specific industry.

Education and Training Requirements

Chief executive officer positions often require at least a bachelor’s degree and extensive business and industry experience. Competition is keen for these high-level positions, and preference is often given to candidates with an MBA.

Management professionals who wish to advance into a chief executive officer position can improve their career prospects by enrolling in a Master of Business Administration degree program. Coursework typically includes global information technology management, strategic project management, financial management policy and strategic cost management.

Professionals who have earned an MBA are expected to be able to:

  • Use critical thinking to effectively solve problems
  • Apply modern theories of leadership, management and negotiation to real-world business challenges
  • Manage risk through analysis of statistics and economic data
  • Lead financial, personnel and operational initiatives to maximize growth and profitability
  • Advance organizational stability through proper risk management

Becoming a Chief Executive Officer

Successful chief executive officers may be described as capable, dynamic and personable leaders. They may also be strong communicators, team-oriented, creative and energetic. If you possess these attributes, and a desire to succeed in the competitive world of business, you could be CEO material. Enrolling in a Master of Business Administration degree program can offer many advantages, including top-notch skills and knowledge, and the respected credentials needed to pursue the title of CEO.

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