How to Become a CEO?

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Future CEO

Leading an organisation is never an easy task. Being the CEO of a company naturally comes with its own set of acclaim and recognition, but is met with equally crucial accountability and responsibilities. However, to set upon the path of leadership, students must be aware of the process and efforts it demands. While the job profile may be well known, the path to be followed to achieve this glory is not common knowledge. So, with the help of this article, let us provide you with an insight on how to become a CEO.

Full form Chief Executive Officer 
Minimum education qualification required Bachelor’s degree
Degree FieldBusiness administration (preferably)
Work experience requiredMinimum 5 or more
Annual Mean Salary $193,850 for all chief executives
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026)-4% for all chief executives

Who is a CEO?

CEO of a company is an executive manager of the highest rank. He or she works as the vital link of communication and information between the company’s operations and directors and shareholders. Often, the CEO of a company is seen as its face, as he or she presents the mission and vision of the group in front of the public, takes crucial managerial decisions, and has the power of diversifying sections focusing on his or her discretion. Elected by the board of directors and shareholders, CEOs generally rise through the managerial ranks within an organization by making a name for themselves in various operational departments. Their decision-making prowess and leadership instinct are noted at basic levels, and they are often placed under a mentor for their initial leadership years so that they can understand the scope and functioning of their newer responsibilities in a better way.

What are the Benefits of Being a CEO?

  • Being your boss is one of the perks of being a CEO.
  • making significant decisions and moving your business in the desired way
  • Being the company’s face
  • Profit-sharing, spending and amusement accounts, and access to company property are examples of employee benefits.
  • Making a significant impact on your field

Roles and Responsibilities of a CEO

To understand how to become a CEO, students must be aware of a CEO’s scope of work. The roles and responsibilities of an organization’s leader are way more sophisticated than what they appear to be. So to help get an idea of the job, here is a non-exhaustive list of roles and responsibilities that are undertaken by a CEO: 

Administrative Decision Making

Being the leading executive of the organization, the CEO is in constant contact with the Board of Directors of the company, tasked with assisting them in building a framework for the company to pursue. This framework is further broken down into the organization’s mission and vision and presented before the workers so that they have clear lines of objectives and operations.

Public Relations 

Essential being the face of a company, a CEO is the head of a company’s Public Relations in many ways. Corporate meetings and press conferences attended by CEOs are monitored closely to understand a company’s present situation as well as the future goals it wishes to pursue. 

Human Resource Management

While a CEO is not intensively involved with the Human Resource Management of a company, a good CEO always picks his or her core team which heads crucial departments. It is imperative that these positions are filled by competitive individuals, as it eases the operational burden that rests upon the leader.

Financial Management

A company’s finances can be compared to the fuel of a vehicle, and for any journey to go well and long an efficient supply of fuel is required. An able CEO is always aware of the details of financial resources held by the company and constantly looks for the best methods to allocate and utilise those funds. And not just utilization, it is the mark of a good CEO to be aware of cash flow as well as the projected financial performance of the company.

Must Read: Phenomenal Business Leaders & Their Secrets to Success

How to Become a CEO?

Chief executive officers, or CEOs, are in charge of leading and overseeing their companies. Formal training and job experience are required, as well as key abilities in areas such as time management, communication, problem-solving, and leadership. The following stages describe how to become a CEO.

Step 1: Meet the CEO Education Requirements 

If you’re wondering what degree you need to satisfy the requirements, aspiring CEOs generally need to have at least a bachelor’s degree. This degree is typically in business or leadership-related fields, such as business administration, management, or public administration. Bachelor’s degrees in business management typically take four years to complete, however, there are certain expedited programs available. In the next section of the article, we will go through the educational qualifications for becoming a CEO.

Step 2: Gain Relevant Work Experience to Become a CEO

Students pondering, “how to become a CEO? Or how long does it take to become a CEO?” must consider the requisite quantity of work experience in addition to the time it takes to acquire a 4-year bachelor’s degree and/or a 2-year master’s degree. Most CEO roles demand at least 5 years of similar work experience. Chief executives require considerable managerial expertise, which professionals generally obtain by working their way up through their company or in roles with other organizations. Some firms may provide training or development programs within their organization that might assist prepare professionals for promotion.

Step 3: Earn Professional Certifications to Become a CEO

Although it is not generally necessary, certain CEOs are expected to possess a professional certification in a specific field of management, based on their work obligations and the needs of their business. Aspiring CEOs may also obtain qualifications to assist them to advance in their careers. Some examples of professional certificates for CEOs include:

How to become a CEO: Academic Qualifications

To answer the question ‘How to become a CEO?’, it is imperative to know what it takes to become a CEO. Although these top-level managerial positions do not carry a prescribed academic portfolio, here are some of the important academic qualifications that can help you score a place at top of the league:

Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s degree is prudently required for an individual to be considered as a company’s top manager. It indicates that an individual is acquainted with formal higher education. If the Bachelor’s degree is in a similar field as to the company’s operations, it is perceived as a positive indicator.


A postgraduate degree in management is preferred when companies look for their leaders. Apart from personal insight, formal education in management helps individuals in comprehending and solving managerial problems in a far more efficient manner.

Specialisation Diplomas

Often, individuals may choose to pursue specialized courses in domains that are specific to their job profile. This can not just help them understand the organizational workings better, but also improve organizational efficiency which is the goal of any top-level manager.

Also Read: Education of Satya Nadella

Key Skills Required to Become a CEO

  • Financial Management
  • Commercial Acumen
  • Financial Acumen
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Strategic Planning
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Leadership
  • Community Services
  • Communication Skills

How to Become a CEO: Top MBA Colleges

MBA Colleges AbroadLocation QS World University Rankings 2021: MBA 
Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University USA1
Wharton School of the University of PennsylvaniaUSA2
MIT Sloan School of ManagementUSA3
Harvard Business School, Harvard UniversityUSA4
HEC Paris France 5
INSEADSingapore and France 6
London Business SchoolUK7
Columbia Business School, Columbia UniversityUSA8
IE Business School Spain9
Haas School of Business, University of California, BerkeleyUSA10
The University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessUSA11
IESE Business SchoolSpain11
Esade Business School Spain13
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern UniversityUSA14
UCLA Anderson School of ManagementUSA15

Engineering and Becoming a CEO

What is the most frequent undergraduate degree among Fortune 500 CEOs? Engineers are well-known for their attention to detail, problem-solving skills, risk management abilities, and numeracy. Companies believe that while some employees may lack people management and communication skills, emotional intelligence, and leadership aptitude, these are teachable characteristics. According to a poll, many engineers leave their primary field of expertise to pursue management because they want more money, are dissatisfied with their working circumstances, want to boost their self-esteem, or want to make a difference. As a result, there are more technical applicants for the top position.

CEO Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual pay for a chief executive in 2019 was $193,850 (INR 1.44 crores). This year, the best-paid industry for CEOs was natural gas pipeline transportation, with chief executives earning an average compensation of $268,750 (INR 1.99 crores). However, company and enterprise management employed the most chief executives, with around 16,690 jobs in 2019. This industry’s professionals received annual compensation of $234,690 (INR 1.74 crores).

Additional Qualities to Become a CEO

But as you must know, it takes a lot more than degrees and qualifications to successfully lead an organization. A true leader isn’t bound by theoretical knowledge or experience, he or she is capable enough to envision innovation and create unprecedented advances. Hence, here are some key qualities that are required to answer the question of how to become a CEO:

Natural Leader

Leadership instinct is a rudimentary requirement for anyone who wishes to lead a company. A good leader keeps the pack in check while ensuring all organizational objectives are met effectively. He or she is concerned about every individual contributing to the organization and makes sure the team gives back the same commitment to the task at hand.

Innovative Approach

Innovation is the only factor distinguishing which helps companies stand out in this competitive era. Companies that are known for their innovation usually have a creative and risk-taking head leading them. An innovative leader ensures that the organization is never stagnant in a comfort zone and also constantly keeps the business environment in check while looking for any sort of business opportunities that can be worked upon.

Top-notch Managerial Skills

Being a CEO essentially means heading the whole organization’s workings. Without a doubt, it takes good managerial skills to become a great CEO. Good managerial practices ensure that the organization never gets out of touch with its operations, while both the employer and the employee can achieve their goals through combined efforts.

Strong Communication Skills

Needless to say, a strong leader is always able to convey his or her message effectively. A well-designed message from the top management can ensure that each employee works on the required lines, while good communication also provides positive reinforcement. Apart from the motivational factor, good communication also bridges the gap between management and employees, helping in sorting out any mutual misunderstandings that may arise.

Decisive Nature and Mental Clarity

A CEO often has to face tight situations where the future of the company rests on a binary decision. At such crucial times, it takes a cool head and confident personality to make the best call for the sake of the company. An indecisive leader often misses out on opportunities, while threats translate to inevitable losses. This sets the difference between the success and failure of a CEO, and pretty much the success and failure of the company.

Top Indian-origin CEOs Leading World’s Largest Corporations (BONUS)

So far we have learned how to become a CEO and the best career pathways for becoming a CEO. Now let’s know more about some of the greatest and world-renowned CEOs in the world that are handling big conglomerates and companies and making a difference with their hard work and vision. 

Sundar Pichai

Born and raised in a Tamilian family, Pichai’s incredible story has influenced millions across the globe. Starting his career at McKinsey &Co after completing his Wharton MBA, Sundar Pichai grabbed the golden opportunity to work at Google in the year 2004. Pichai’s Google venture started as the President of Product Management. The year 2008 came out to be marvellous with the launch of Google Chrome and the announcement of Pichai being the Vice President of Product Management and Development. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were fascinated by Sundar Pichai’s education and his overwhelming contribution to the $3.2 Billion turnovers for the year 2014, decided to step down from the position of CEO and handed over the legacy to Sundar Pichai in 2015. 

Read our top searches Google CEO Sundar Pichai Education

Satya Nadella

When we hear the name of the multinational corporation Microsoft, the first name that comes to mind is generally Bill Gates. Satya Nadella, on the other hand, is the name that now bears the firm on its shoulders. He completed his B.Sc in Electronics and Communication Engineering in the year 1988  from Manipal Institute of Technology. After his graduation, Satya looked for educational opportunities abroad and finally got admitted to the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Shortly after completing his Masters’s in Computer Science in 1990. After which he worked at Sun Microsystems as a member of the tech team before getting his big break at Microsoft. All these contributions to the organization finally paid dividends for Satya as he was chosen as the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft in 2014, succeeding Steve Ballmer and working under the mentorship of Bill Gates. 

Also, read about Microsoft names Satya Nadella as Chairman!

Arvind Krishna

Arvind Krishna has been at IBM for almost two decades and is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Krishna’s talent earned him the respect he so well deserved after obtaining his PhD in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On Friday, January 31, he took over as the new CEO of the IBM Group, succeeding Virginia Rometty.

Shantanu Narayen

Shantanu Narayen, who was born in Hyderabad, has been the CEO and Chairman of Adobe Inc. since 2007. Narayen received his bachelor’s degree from Osmania University in Hyderabad and his MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. Narayen was born to industrious parents and rose through the ranks at Apple before joining Adobe.

Ajaypal Singh Banga

Ajay Banga, the son of former Indian Lieutenant General Harbhajan Singh Banga, has been a Mastercard pioneer since the 1990s. Following his tenure as President and COO, Ajaypal Singh Banga was named CEO in April 2010. Banga, the former head of the United States-India Business Council (USIBC), is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and Delhi University.


Are there any certification or licensure requirements to become a CEO?

While CEOs must ensure that their businesses’ legal duties are met, the position of CEO does not require a government-issued license. Management certification programs are offered by certain professional groups, such as the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. Completing a certification program entails attending classes and passing an exam, and it can demonstrate that a manager has a strong understanding of business.

How long does it take to become a CEO?

It might take several years to become a CEO. While people who create their firms can become CEOs, those who want CEO roles with established corporations must spend years obtaining education and experience. Some advance through the management ranks to become CEO of their present firm, while others obtain management experience elsewhere and are hired by a news organization.

What does a CEO earn?

In 2012, the typical annual salary for CEOs in the United States was $168,140. CEOs of big, international firms may earn considerably more than this figure, whilst CEOs of small businesses may earn less.

What is the fastest way to become a CEO?

According to Botelho and Powell, one of the quickest ways to demonstrate your readiness to be a CEO is to demonstrate your worth at a tough moment. According to their findings, moreover, 30% of sprinters had guided a team through a major snafu.

How many years does it take to be a CEO?

Most CEO roles need at least 5 years of related work experience. Chief executives must have considerable managerial experience, which most professionals obtain by working their way up through their company or in roles with other organisations.

Relatable Reads :

Hope this gives all the future CEOs out there an insight into how to become a CEO. Loads of hard work, sizeable foresight, handy skills, and just a sprinkle of luck can help you establish yourself at the executive helm in the Industry of your choice. For students who are aiming for such top-level managerial positions, a degree from abroad is almost quintessential in modern times. In case you are unaware of such opportunities, Leverage Edu is here to help. We provide a host of career guidance services that can help you excel in your leadership journey. Book a free e-meeting with us and get started right away!

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  1. Dear sir/ madam,
    My name is Nahin i am from grade 12th, so next year i am going to graduate from school.
    so what do you think i should take because i have no idea what should i take.
    So, please kindly help me
    yours sincerely

    1. Hi Nahin,
      Our experts will be happy to help you in getting started at your dream career path. Get in touch with us today at 1800572000.

  2. Dera sir/mam
    My name is sumit .I am class of 12 we started 12 in session 2021 hope you understand the problem during the this year I can ,not study well but my dreams to a become a COE sir/mam my repest to provide some solutions best degree to become me a COE and best college for study in Ranchi.

    1. Hi Sumit!

      If you want expert mentorship then reach out to our experts through this 1800572000! Best of luck.

  1. Dear sir/ madam,
    My name is Nahin i am from grade 12th, so next year i am going to graduate from school.
    so what do you think i should take because i have no idea what should i take.
    So, please kindly help me
    yours sincerely

    1. Hi Nahin,
      Our experts will be happy to help you in getting started at your dream career path. Get in touch with us today at 1800572000.

  2. Dera sir/mam
    My name is sumit .I am class of 12 we started 12 in session 2021 hope you understand the problem during the this year I can ,not study well but my dreams to a become a COE sir/mam my repest to provide some solutions best degree to become me a COE and best college for study in Ranchi.

    1. Hi Sumit!

      If you want expert mentorship then reach out to our experts through this 1800572000! Best of luck.