How To Become A CEO – 5 Steps To Steep Into Greatness

by Business Development 30 January 2024


Aiming for the top spot as a CEO is a great goal if you’re eyeing high-level roles in your career. CEOs lead organizations and have significant responsibilities. 

However, the rewards will be substantial too. 

Honestly speaking, climbing the corporate ladder will never be easy for anyone. However, if you are focused, have a good educational background, and boast years of hands-on experience, you’ll have the chance to land ceo jobs. Let’s keep reading to learn more about it. 

What is the Job of a Chief Executive Officer? 

The CEO is like the captain of the ship in a company.  

They’re the big cheese, the top dog. Their main gig is to make the important calls that shape where the company is headed, how it runs, and where it puts its resources. 

The CEO, in essence, is the face of the entire operation of a big corporation. Whilst shareholders do pick the right person for the job, they don’t dabble too much into the “actual work.”  

Hence, in this case, the CEO becomes the correct link between the big shots and the employees of the company. And obviously, they focus on the daily grind of the corporation as well. 

Now, in a smaller setup, the CEO might get their hands dirty with the nitty-gritty of day-to-day stuff. But whether big or small, they’re the ones pulling the strings on the major decisions.  

Plus, they’re the influencers-in-chief, setting the vibe, vision, and goals for the whole crew. It’s like they’re steering the ship while also deciding where the ship should go. 

How to Become a CEO? 

Become a CEO

1: Pursue a Proper Educational Degree 

So kicking off your journey to become a big-shot CEO usually involves hitting the books after high school. Now, you’ve got options for your degree – pick something you’re into. But heads up, lots of CEOs lean towards engineering or business degrees. 

Now, a bachelor’s degree might be all you need, but some folks go the extra mile and snag a master’s degree, like that fancy MBA. It’s like the golden ticket to move up the career ladder, you know? Why the extra schooling, you ask? Well, CEOs want to stay on top of the game.  

With things changing and new skills popping up, getting a solid education helps you make smart decisions and stand out when gunning for that CEO seat. So, it’s not just about the degree; it’s about arming yourself with the right skills for the big leagues. 

2: Look for Challenging Experiences 

To become a CEO, you’ve got to dive into the real deal. Most successful CEOs love challenges that really stretch their skills and leadership mojo. Taking on stuff that feels a bit out of your comfort zone is like a shortcut to leveling up. 

Look for situations where a company needs a financial or structural makeover. It’s like a crash course in management and a goldmine for learning. Every challenge is a chance to beef up your skills and inch closer to that CEO dream. 

Think about how the skills you pick up fit into your grand plan.  

This way, you can aim for gigs that not only prep you for the big boss role but also show off your knack for handling teams and leading the charge. 

3: Get the Right Certifications 

Getting certified in your field is like earning a badge that shouts, “I know my stuff!” It goes beyond your college degree and shows off the skills you’ve mastered on the job. Think of it as a power-up for your career! 

Certifications aren’t just pieces of paper; they’re your ticket to becoming a pro. They give you super skills that make you stand out in your profession. Plus, having those certificates is like having a secret code – people see them, and they know you’re the real deal. 

And guess what? Being an expert isn’t just about what you know; it’s about the influence you have. Certifications boost your leadership game.  

Others start looking up to you, trusting your expertise. It’s like having a spotlight on you, and everyone wants to follow your lead because of those certifications. 

4: Choose the Right Career Path 

Big companies are like intricate puzzles, challenging for outsiders to fit into.  

The board members of Fortune 100 companies seem to agree, as they tend to pick insiders for leadership roles in a whopping 79% of cases. Even in the longest-living firms I looked into, only 11% of CEOs were outsiders. The most successful ones?  

Just 3%. 

But don’t get the idea that these CEOs stick to one company their whole lives.  

Some start off in big consulting firms, like McKinsey. An interesting 2008 survey found that the chances of a McKinsey consultant becoming a public company CEO were the highest globally, at 1 in 690. Take James P. Gorman of Morgan Stanley, for instance – he was a top dog at McKinsey before making his way to Merrill Lynch and then landing at Morgan Stanley.  

Now, another path to the top is through finance – 32% of Fortune 100 CEOs were CFOs before.  

Sure, this career can be a little bit narrow, with the danger of seeing the whole organization only through the lens of numbers. Yet, being a CFO also means you’re well-versed in the language of high finance, a crucial skill for CEOs dealing with shareholders and other external players.  

Will Moynahan from Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm, emphasizes that CFOs are usually the pros when it comes to communicating with shareholders.  

Quite a valuable trait for CEOs in public companies. 

5: Start an Organization 

Jumping into the CEO role can happen in a couple of cool ways. You can either climb the ladder in a company or impress the big shots with your skills, eventually snagging that top spot.  

Or you can roll up your sleeves and start your own business adventure. Building your own thing not only feels awesome, but it also teaches you tons of valuable skills. 

Being the boss means you will set the vibe, decide where the ship is sailing, and lay down the company’s mission. Going the entrepreneur route also shows bigwigs that you’ve got the chops to run the show. And that’s what most companies want to succeed in the market. 

So, whether you’re climbing up from the bottom of a company or charting your own course, the CEO gig is there for the taking. Just show them you’ve got the skills and the leadership swagger! 

The Bottom Line!

Becoming a CEO is a journey that usually involves getting a good education and gaining lots of experience on the job. If you decide to take this path and learn how to lead well, the payoff is a career where you get to guide people and really make a difference in the world.

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Nabamita Sinha loves to write about lifestyle and pop-culture. In her free time she loves to watch movies and TV series and experiment with food. Her favourite niche topics are fashion, lifestyle, travel and gossip content. Her style of writing is creative and quirky.

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