To work as a business executive, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent;
- have a bachelor's degree; and
- have more than five years of work experience as a manager.
Education after high school
Most business executives have at least a bachelor's degree. Many have formal training in areas related to the type of company or agency where they work. For example, an executive at a computer software company may have a degree in computer science. Some executives have a master's degree in business administration (MBA) or a law degree. Others have a master's degree that is specific to their area. For example, a city manager may have a degree in public administration. Some executives have general liberal arts degrees.
While education is important for this occupation, work experience is just as important. You can prepare for this occupation in many different ways. Most business executives gain experience in the type of company or organization that they want to manage. For example, government executives may gain experience as political staff members or participants on governing boards. They also prepare by becoming known within their community. They may volunteer or participate in religious, fraternal, or social groups.
Some business executives begin in entry-level positions, with only a high school diploma or equivalent. As they learn about the company and gain skills, they work their way up. For example, business executives in retail trade or transportation are more likely to move into management positions this way.