EMBA Career Guide
As a business person who already has responsibilities in both your professional and personal worlds, it can be difficult to even consider going back to school. That being said, a graduate degree is helpful in the modern business world – and for most promotions into the C-suite. Luckily, there are several online Executive MBA (EMBA) programs designed especially for busy professionals who require a flexible schedule to accommodate their work life. Online EMBA program professors understand that students have myriad commitments outside of their education, and they’re able to work with you to help you get the education you need in the time that you have.
Executive MBA programs also lend themselves to a unique classroom (in person or online) that mixes a variety of experiences from people in different realms of the business world, allowing students to learn from each other’s experiences.
Let’s take a look a the different careers available to people who earn their EMBA.
It’s important to remember that these salaries are median. Some careers for these positions will be higher than what’s listed here, while others will be lower. Salary range depends on the financial health of the company, experience, additional education, and other qualifications.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Median Salary: $159,000
The CEO of a company typically makes the highest salary in the executive suite, but he or she also has the most responsibility. The CEO must come up with solutions when things go wrong; always has a finger on the pulse of everything happening in the company; is known for exemplary leadership skills; and is able to get his or her company to rally behind a cause, whether that be a new initiative or increasing overall productivity.
CEOs are also the link between board members and the company. It’s important that CEOs have the ability to build great relationships with board members, knowing each member and their vision for the company individually. Using the board members’ visions for the future of the company, CEOs work to create an inclusive plan that helps to move the organization in a positive direction.
CEOs also need to be able to delegate tasks to other executive leaders. While some CEOs are known for micromanaging, the most successful CEOs know the strengths of their team members and trust them to execute given tasks successfully. CEOs hold regular meetings with their direct reports, both individually and as a group. It’s important that CEOs are comfortable doling out both praise and criticism, and can do so without damaging the morale of their team.
CEOs often hear the ideas and perspectives of others before deciding on their company’s next steps. They are the ones who are held accountable for the success or failure of the company. Big decisions fall on the shoulders of company leaders regularly, and it’s key that they’re able to celebrate success while also having the ability to admit when they’ve made a mistake or need to make a change. The exact responsibilities of a CEO differ greatly from company to company, and from industry to industry, but one thing remains the same across the board: CEOs are the ones ultimately responsible for the company’s overall well being.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Median Salary: $130,000
If the CEO is responsible for company well being, then he or she is in close contact with the CFO, the person responsible for a company’s financial health. Often, this means working closely with payroll, accounting, human resources, and the CEO. CFOs need to have a clear vision on where the company needs to improve financially and have the difficult task of ensuring it is run as smoothly as possible while also saving money where it can. This often involves creating budgets for different departments in the company, and helping the leaders of those departments figure out how to get the supplies and materials that they need while staying within budgetary constraints.
CFOs often have a hand in contract negotiations with top level employees. This means that it’s important for CFOs to be familiar with the job performance of top level employees and to have that close relationship with the CEO.
CFOs must also exhibit excellent people skills, not only for conversations with employees, but also for developing relationships with board members. Like the CEO of an organization, the CFO also gives presentations and meets regularly with the board. It’s important that the CFO build relationships and understand the vision of people who are shareholders of the company.
Much like a CEO, a CFO also needs to understand the goals and vision for the company as a whole, and be able to communicate that vision in a charismatic way that drives people to get on board.
Ultimately, a CFO is as responsible for a company’s health as the CEO, and it’s important that they are able to motivate employees to drive revenue, spend less and be productive.
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Average Salary: $141,000
A company’s COO is typically second in command, directly reporting to the CEO. The COO is in charge of the day to day functioning of the company. While the CEO works to develop and execute a large scale vision for the company, the COO is concerned with the details, working with directors and managers to make sure goals that have been set in order to achieve the company’s overall vision are being accomplished. The COO and CEO meet regularly to talk about what’s working for the company and what needs to be changed. While the CEO can see where he or she wants the company to go, the COO knows the steps that need to be taken in order to get there.
It’s important for COOs to have extremely strong leadership skills, with the ability to speak to and relate to both high level and entry level employees. COOs also need to be data-driven, with the ability to utilize a snapshot of company numbers to make decisions about processes that need to be reevaluated and/or changed. COOs need to both be able to take direction well (from the CEO) and delegate tasks to the directions and managers they directly supervise. Just like other positions in the C-suite, it’s important that COOs understand the strengths and weaknesses of their direct reports, and are able to dole out tasks accordingly.
People skills are key for COOs. Since their job is to ensure smooth day-to-day operations within the company, they often work face to face with all employees. It’s important for COOs to remember people’s names and be able to have pleasant conversations with employees. This shows employees that they are valued and appreciated by higher management. COOs sometimes need to have difficult conversations with directors, managers, or other employees about performance issues. It’s important to be able to deliver these conversations in a respectful way.
Chief Information Officer
Average Salary: $155,000
The position of CIO has not been around for very long- it’s a new development with the growing impact of technology on the business world. CIOs are responsible for maintaining, upgrading, and protecting the technology infrastructure of an organization. CIOs lead an organization’s technology team, and they are responsible for ensuring that the company is up to date on the latest technology available. It’s incredibly important for CIOs to keep up with the latest developments in business technology.
It’s also important for CIOs to have strong management and leadership skills. As technology continues to move to the forefront of business, tech teams within organizations are growing fast. CIOs need to be able to manage large teams with confidence. CIOs also need to be comfortable with change, as tech strategies within business organizations are constantly changing.
It’s also key for CIOs to be able to explain tech concepts in layman’s terms, as they may need to present to the rest of the executive suite, or to the board of directors. In order to instill others’ confidence in their tech vision, CIOs need to be able to present information in a way that other people can easily comprehend.
Careers in the C-suite come with a nice paycheck, but they also come with increased responsibility and stress. It’s important that you’re fully prepared for the challenges you’ll face as an executive leader in your company. Pursuing your EMBA degree will not only prepare you for the rigors of business – it will also teach you about leadership, time management, and best practices for juggling all of your tasks.
While you already have a leg up when it comes to industry knowledge, earning your EMBA will teach you how to rise above the competition by inspiring others to meet your high standards and work toward the increased profitability of your company.