Many employers seek business executives who have at minimum a bachelor's degree, most commonly in business administration or a liberal arts field. However, most often the specific level of education and field of focus depend upon the type of organization the applicant wants to work. Bachelor's level programs will require potential students to have a high school diploma or GED. Master's programs require a bachelor's degree.
Most business executives work long hours, including evenings and weekends, although their schedules might be flexible. If executives work for a large conglomerate, they may need to travel frequently, attending meetings. They may also be transferred to a different location as they are needed. Business executives must have strong communication and leadership skills, and be able to demonstrate that they are motivated, determined and decisive.
Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
A bachelor's degree program in business administration generally takes four years to complete and focuses on the theory and practice of business. Most such programs offer concentrations, including finance, human resources, IT and public business administration. General courses offered in a bachelor's degree program include:
- Management principles
- Financial management
- Business writing and international business
- Accounting and marketing
Master of Business Administration
Most master's degree programs in business administration can be completed in two years, and some programs are available online. As with BBA programs, MBA programs allow students to focus in a particular area, including marketing, international business or project management. Students complete classes in
- Managerial communication
- Accounting analysis
- Organizational behavior
- Business policy
Business schools within a college or university often offer internships for students seeking careers as business executives. These for-credit internships can last an entire semester, and students develop an awareness about business' expectations, pressure and structure while building their business knowledge, decision-making abilities and interpersonal skills.
Licenses and Certifications
For voluntary certification, the Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM) offers a certified manager (CM) credential for all business executive levels. There are three CM exams that applicants must pass, and the tests cover decision-making skills, analytical abilities and general knowledge of business operations. To maintain certification, candidates must complete 10 hours of professional development courses and pay recertification fees annually.
Workshops and Seminars
Workshops and conferences are an ideal way for business executives to improve their skills and sharpen their ability to make executive decisions. Professional organizations sponsor workshops at convention centers all across the country while universities host conferences at their lecture halls.
Workshops feature speakers and specialists who advise senior executives about technical presentations and provide speaker training tips. These 1-2 day workshops help executives develop the skills needed to attract partnerships and improve their professional skills. Attendees also gain skills needed to transform their agency's business approach in dealing with competitors as well as changes in the economy.
Conferences at Universities
Business conferences that last 1-2 days are commonplace on many university campuses. Usually situated at the institution's School of Business, CEOs, college deans, and company vice presidents present presentations and conduct speeches. Attendees can participate in discussions about risk management and other topics, and network with other business leaders.
Business executives can turn to business coaches to provide support, encouragement and an outside point of view. This can help executives who may want to change or improve their organizations or careers. Upon completion of a business seminar program, business executives may be awarded with a certificate or other award to show that they have participated in business executive personal training.
Bachelor's level degree programs cover various business-related aspects. Business executives participate heavily in professional development workshops, trainings, and coachings to help further their careers.