Although the majority of CEOs are well-educated, an MBA is not a prerequisite for these roles. A recent study revealed that only 37% of North American CEOs held an MBA degree, although 59% had some type of advanced degree. Among Fortune 100 companies in 2019, 54% of CEOs held a graduate degree, and 59% of those graduate degrees were MBAs.

An MBA doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be better at running a company than a peer with another type of degree. In a study conducted by Institutional Investor, CEOs with MBAs performed no better than other CEOs when analyzing company stock price performance. At the CEO level, what matters most is what you’ve accomplished throughout your career — not whether or not you have an MBA. Many CEOs founded their own companies or rose through the ranks without an MBA.

The potential benefits of an MBA to CEOs also depend on the size of their company and their specific industry. For example, you can be the CEO of your own tech firm without an MBA. And if you want to become the CEO of a bank or financial institution, you may be just as well off getting a master’s degree in finance.

So, we come to the question:

Why Get an MBA to Become a CEO?

Firstly, it’s important to understand why MBA is the go-to program for anyone thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, business leader, or CEO. 

Earning an MBA provides you with a well-rounded, advanced education in business. This education is helpful at companies that don’t necessarily require a specific skill set related to the particular industry. To be a successful CEO of a company that operates in multiple product and service areas, you need a good understanding of all functional areas of business.

Pursuing an MBA degree can prove important for professionals with expertise in a specific discipline, such as finance, marketing, sales, technology, or operations. An accredited MBA program can round out your business skill set and provide you with an in-depth education in multiple business disciplines outside of your core area.

The majority of CEOs have some type of advanced degree, and an MBA is the most sought-after advanced degree among these CEOs. An MBA can provide you with both the hard and soft skills needed to run a business. Unlike traditional master’s degrees that focus on only one business discipline, MBA programs aim to build business leaders for any type of industry.

An MBA can help you climb the corporate ladder quicker than professionals who only hold a bachelor’s degree. According to a survey conducted by Forte Foundation, 85% of respondents with an MBA said their degree helped them advance their careers. With an MBA, you also have a better chance at entering a company at the management level. Additionally, studying MBA at a top B-school can provide you with more connections in the business world than any other type of degree because of the focus on professional network building. You can use these connections to help elevate yourself to the rank of CEO.

Many companies require an MBA for certain executive positions, so if you are trying to climb your way up the corporate ladder, this is an extremely good degree to have in hand! Similarly, Accredited MBA programs provide more internship opportunities at top companies, making it easier to get your foot in the door and work your way up to CEO.

The best part is that you can pursue an MBA while still working your way up the corporate ladder. There are many flexible and online programs that allow you to earn a degree on your own schedule. Many programs also offer evening and/or weekend classes. Many employers will also cover or contribute to your tuition, as long as you stay with the organization for a certain period of time after you earn your MBA.

5 key traits of MBAs that make them CEO material 

  • Transparency

When it comes to the goals and mission of a business, the CEO of tomorrow will bring the entire team into the bigger conversation. And this form of business transparency is best learned sitting in the midst of future business leaders. 

  • Flexibility

The nature of business is continually reinventing itself in both the digital space and (often consequently) in the brick-and-mortar. If you are studying in a B-school, flexibility will need to be your middle name in order to succeed!

  • Collaboration

Millennials grew up on social media and have a more collaborative approach to work. And an MBA program is the best way to learn how to work in a collaborative environment and build leadership capabilities.

  • Empowerment

Leadership in the remainder of this decade will be deeply connected to the idea of the whole employee. To understand how a holistic empowerment of businesses can take place, you need to learn business management from a top institute. 

  • Host

The role of the leader is more like a host than a hero—drawing people together around an issue or challenge. Working with your peers on various assignments and projects during the MBA program will teach how to play the role of the host, and stop being a hero all the time!

Final Question: Do you really need an MBA to be a CEO?

Well, of course not! As stated before, only around 37% of American CEOs hold an MBA degree. So, if you have what it takes, you can definitely reach the top without an MBA. But, you also need to ask yourself what will be your path for your higher education if you want to become a CEO! 

Since, almost 60% of CEOs hold a higher education degree; it is quite obvious that you too will need to enter the realm of higher education to find your way to the top. And if you are planning higher education abroad, what better program is there than an MBA! This is the singular course that will provide you with all the necessary lessons you need to run a business. You can even add specialization that will help you understand finance or even become an entrepreneur.

So, the actual answer is – having an MBA degree from a top B-school increases your chances of becoming a business leader. It inculcates in you all the prerequisites, and also gives you an amazing network of peers and alumni to begin with! So, if you dream to rule the business world; we suggest you start preparing your MBA application today!

Don’t know where to start? Watch this video below for a comprehensive game plan and timeline!

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