Career as a CEO (Chief Executive Officer)


Most of us have come across books and videos where successful CEOs talk about how they achieved this position. Many of us have fantasized about running a business someday after reading success stories from individuals like Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, etc.

Being a CEO is challenging. Not every CEO founds their own business. To pursue a career as a CEO, many people must climb the corporate ladder. CEOs frequently rise through the managerial ranks by developing a solid reputation in different operating departments.

In this blog, we have discussed everything you need to know about this C-suite position, what path you need to follow, and a lot more about the career as a CEO. Read on!

What does a CEO do?

What does a CEO do?
Making administrative decisions 
Human resource administration
Public relations 
Financial Management
What does a CEO do?

As you read, the position of a CEO is the highest rank. In your career as a CEO, you will have to take up many essential responsibilities. 

  1. The CEO of any organization reports to the board of directors. A CEO is responsible for coming up with the framework of the company in order to achieve its mission and vision. The framework is then assigned to various departments so that the workers clearly understand the objectives and operations.
  2. A CEO is not directly responsible for Human Resources, but an ideal CEO chooses dedicated individuals as cores for various departments so that the work is divided and allocated properly among the team members. 
  3. Press conferences and meetings must have the CEO of the organization present because they are closely watched. This aids in figuring out where the business stands in the marketplace.
  4. A capable CEO is always aware of the specifics of the financial assets possessed by the business and continually seeks out the most effective ways to distribute and use those assets. Not only utilization but also cash flow and the company’s anticipated financial performance are qualities of a strong CEO.

Job roles for a CEO

You must know that if you want to pursue a career as a CEO, there is no way you can directly apply to become a CEO of a company. You advance from one position to another and after gaining years of experience at the company. You can’t directly become a CEO unless it is your own company.

Career path to become a CEO

If you want to pursue a career as a CEO, you need to follow this path.

Path 1:

Complete your 10+2 in Commerce and learn subjects such as accounting, business, economics, finance, and management. You can pursue a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics or business management, followed by a master’s degree in management, business administration, economics, or a degree in a related field. Many companies also demand professional certifications from potential CEO candidates. A few of them are listed below.

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Salary in different career stages of a CEO

If you want to know how rewarding a career as a CEO is, take a look at this table with the salary figures.

<1 yearRs.786,000
1-4 yearsRs.1,000,000
5-9 yearsRs.1,000,000
10-19 yearsRs.3,000,000
20+ yearsRs.5,000,000

Skills to become a CEO

If you want to succeed in your career as a CEO, here’s a list of skills that you will have to enhance.

  1. Transparent:
    The public, the board of directors, and the employees must have faith in the CEO. Transparency and authenticity raise the CEO’s credibility, which raises the credibility of the CEO’s judgment and leadership. If an employee is aware of why a project is crucial to the company’s health and objectives, they may put more effort into it.
  2. Open-minded:
    CEOs ought to be receptive to fresh approaches. Establishing a corporate culture where the CEO demonstrates concern for innovation and forward-thinking business practices is crucial. CEOs with open minds encourage staff members to experiment with new methods, which benefits the organization as a whole.
  3. Growth mindset:
    A growth mindset is the firmly held personal conviction that failures spur greater learning and long-term success. CEOs that have a growth mentality view challenges as chances for learning. As a CEO, you may help the staff of your company adopt a growth mentality by serving as an example for them.
  4. Creative and Innovative:
    The ability to adapt and innovate is frequently essential to a business’s long-term success. To keep their company current and forward-thinking, CEOs must exercise creative thinking and be open to fresh, original ideas. Profitable companies are more likely to be led by CEOs who emphasize dynamic growth.
  5. Fearless:
    A CEO’s work frequently involves navigating new scenarios or tests. The challenges that come with a growing company are something that fearless CEOs anticipate and look forward to solving in innovative, resourceful, and profitable ways. CEOs can inspire their staff to be courageous by setting a good example for them.
  6. Approachable:
    Excellent CEOs are personable and friendly. Employees should feel at ease talking to the CEO and discussing ideas. When making crucial decisions on the direction of the firm and its internal organization, CEOs must get input from the workforce.
  7. Ethical:
    Leadership that upholds moral principles is essential for a business to keep its good name. A CEO with high ethical standards may guide businesses through difficulties. CEOs who demand moral behaviour from their staff can build a trustworthy corporate culture that attracts top talent and the general public.
  8. Decisive:
    CEOs ought to feel at ease making choices with assurance. Once ideas are selected by a company’s leadership, they must stick with them. A decisive CEO is viewed as a strong, capable leader who is certain of the direction their firm is going by both internal and external stakeholders.
  9. Collaborative:
    The greatest information and suggestions for advancing the company are shared by CEOs with other C-suite executives, department heads, and the board of directors. Through group brainstorming, CEOs who collaborate with their staff members and colleagues can come up with fresh, innovative ideas and solutions.
  10. Communication:
    CEOs must use clear, understandable language when speaking with their staff. Employees must comprehend the reasons behind a CEO’s choices or how new policies will affect their regular tasks and obligations. CEOs are also in charge of preserving company culture and morale under their direction.

Is CEO a good career option?

There is a huge need for capable and experienced chief executive officers. Excellent conditions have been created by economic liberalization for the establishment of new businesses in the nation. In India, several multinational corporations have built facilities. India is one of the biggest emerging markets in the world, and as a result, there has been a sudden increase in events like innovations, acquisitions, collaborations, and international operations. All of this indicates that chief executive officers are always in demand. The demand for chief executive officers is expected to increase due to an emerging business environment, with job prospects reflecting the rate of advancement in particular fields. Like healthcare, sectors that are expanding quickly may also present fresh opportunities. If you aspire to pursue a career as a CEO, there are also excellent entrepreneurship opportunities this field would offer.

If you are really keen on learning about these topics, want hands-on exposure, and want to learn more about how you can pursue a career as a CEO, check out the Clever Harvey JuniorMBA-Future CEO course.

Industries hiring CEOs

Do you think you can become a CEO only if you start your own company? That’s not true! If you want to know the kind of industries you can work for to pursue a career as a CEO, take a look at this list.

  1. Construction
  2. Healthcare
  3. Financial Investment
  4. Private Education
  5. Professional services
  6. Technology
  7. Travel, hospitality, and leisure
  8. Waste management

Top recruiters for CEOs

Here’s a list of top recruiters you can consider to pursue a career as a CEO.

Top recruiters for CEOs in India
Aditya Birla Group
Tata Consultancy Services
Hindustan Unilever
Reliance Industries
Wipro GE
Top Recruiters in India
  1. Reliance Industries
  2. Tata Consultancy Services
  3. Hindustan Unilever
  4. Infosys
  5. ITC
  6. IBM
  7. Wipro GE
  8. Aditya Birla Group

Courses to upskill as a CEO

Here’s a list of a few topics for courses that you can take to enhance your knowledge to pursue a career as a CEO.

  1. Entrepreneurship, leadership, and employment
  2. Executive Strategy and Management
  3. The Essentials of Business and Risk Analysis
  4. Managing Project Teams
  5. Leadership Skills and Team Management

If you are really keen on learning about these topics, want hands-on exposure, and want to learn more about how you can pursue a career as a CEO, check out the Clever Harvey JuniorMBA- Entrepreneurship course.

Qualifications to become a CEO

What kind of degrees do Fortune 500 CEOs have?
Ph.D- 4.1%
Law- 5%
Bachelor's only- 29.8%
MBA- 42.6%
Other master's degree- 18.5%
What kind of degrees do Fortune 500 CEOs have?

To pursue a career as a CEO, there are certain educational qualifications that you need to meet. In this section, we will discuss everything you need to know about the educational qualifications required to become a CEO.

Degrees in India

You can take up the following undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs in India if you want to pursue a career as a CEO.

Undergraduate degrees in India

  • BA Business Economics 
  • BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) Finance
  • Bachelor in Business Economics 
  • BSc (Hons) Economics and Management

Postgraduate degrees in India

Course NameDuration
Masters of Business Administration (MBA)2 years
Masters of Economics2 years

Degrees abroad

You can take up the following undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs abroad if you want to pursue a career as a CEO.

  • BA in Economics and Business
  • BA (Hons) Business Economics
  • Bachelor in Business Economics
  • Bachelors in Economics and Management

Postgraduate degrees abroad

Course NameDuration
Masters of Business Administration (MBA)2 years
Masters of Economics2 years


Here’s some additional information that will come in handy if you want to pursue a career as a CEO.

Indians who have become CEOs of top companies abroad:

Name Company
Ajaypal Singh BangaMastercard
Amrapali GanOnly Fans
Arvind Krishna IBM
Indra NooyiPepsico
Jayshree UllalArista Networks
Leena Nair Chanel
Nikesh AroraPalo Alto Networks
Parag AgrawalTwitter
Sanjay MehrotraMicron Technology
Satya NadellaMicrosoft
Shantanu NarayenAdobe Inc.
Sundar PichaiGoogle

Books you can read:

Name of the bookAuthor
Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company and Revolutionized the IndustryMarc Benioff and Carlye Adler
EntreLeadershipDave Ramsey
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’tJim Collins
Great People Decisions: Why They Matter So Much, Why They Are So Hard, and How You Can Master ThemClaudio Fernandez-Araoz
Grit: The Power of Passion and PerseveranceAngela Duckworth
Influence: The Psychology of PersuasionRobert Cialdini, PhD.
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to LeadSheryl Sandberg
Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant BusinessmanYvon Chouinard
Managing OneselfPeter F. Drucker
MeditationsMarcus Aurelius
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the WorldAdam Grant
Playing to Win: How Strategy Really WorksA.G Lafley and Roger Martin
Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind: How to Be Seen and Heard in the Overcrowded MarketplaceAl Ries and Jack Trout
Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a TimeHoward Schultz
Practising the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises From the Power of NowEckhart Tolle
Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into a Sales Machine with the $100 Million Best Practices of Salesforce.comAaron Ross
Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your HumanityKim Malone Scott
ReworkJason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Sam Walton: Made in AmericaSam Walton
Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to MungerPeter Bevelin
Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in BusinessDanny Meyer
The Creator’s Code: The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary EntrepreneursAmy Wilkinson
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership FablePatrick Lencioni
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy AnswersBen Horowitz
“The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do BusinessClayton M. Christensen
The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for SuccessWilliam N. Thorndike
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and BusinessCharles Duhigg
The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to Go from $0 to $100 MillionMark Roberge
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big DifferenceMalcolm Gladwell
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Became Even More SuccessfulMarshall Goldsmith, Illustrated by Shane Clester
Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great ServiceAri Weinzweig

FAQs related to the career as a CEO

How much time does it take to become a CEO?

The short answer is that, although every situation is slightly different, most CEOs at least have a bachelor’s degree and 5 years of management experience prior to becoming CEOs.

Is CEO the owner of a company?

The company’s owner may occasionally be the chief executive officer, but this is not always the case. One person could hold dual executive and ownership positions. Owner is a common term for a sole proprietor, whereas chief executive officer is a title or position bestowed upon someone who has full managerial responsibility for the organisation in which they work.

Which position is above CEO?

The President is typically regarded as the second-highest ranking officer in a company, behind the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The role and responsibilities of the Chief Executive Officer and President, however, may differ depending on the organisation due to the wide range of variations that can occur in corporate governance and framework.

What skills do I need to become a CEO?

Growth mindset
Creative and Innovative

Which degree do CEOs most frequently hold?

Nearly half (49.6%) of CEOs with business bachelor’s degrees later obtained a graduate degree. With 38.3% of holders, the MBA is the most prevalent graduate degree. Nine per cent of CEOs have law degrees, and another six per cent are PhD holders.

What are some bachelor’s degrees one can study to pursue a career as a CEO?

Liberal Arts
Business Management Programmes
Engineering and Science
Accounting and Finance

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Courses to become a CEO Top 8 colleges to become a CEO Abroad 10 Skills required to become a CEO How to become a CEO?
Courses to become a CEO Top 8 colleges to become a CEO Abroad 10 Skills required to become a CEO How to become a CEO?