College of Business

A guide to becoming a CEO

By Daniel Woodward | July 29, 2023

A question that young children are often asked is, “what do you want to be when you grow up”? It is improbable that they will answer, I want to be a CEO.

Most children grow up to earn a high school diploma; some will earn a bachelor’s degree and then enter the workforce. What happens when those adults reach the end of their ability to advance their career opportunities? How can those adults, those hard-working individuals who aspire to become more, take active steps toward the executive suite?

They have a few options if they reach the same impasse as I did.

I had reached the top position in my field. I found myself ineligible for promotion unless I changed paths. I began to wonder how a father of four who works more than 40 hours a week could advance his career?

While contemplating my career goals, I met with a mentor. My mentor was someone who had already been through the same career situations that I was facing. He was open to discussion, answered my questions, and guided me in on-the-job training.

He also suggested furthering my education. He recommended Charleston Southern University. The university is known for its desire to develop servant leaders. 

Why is this important? Employers are looking for leaders.

My best option was to join the management team of my current company. I decided to take a different approach to my training and education. I had already obtained an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field. Enrolling in a graduate program was the most logical choice to further my potential in my company.

CSU’s academic advisors will work with you to find the best program for you. CSU makes attending easy with in-person or online classes. This service is vital for a full-time working professional like me.

According to,10% of CEOs have doctorate degrees, 64% have master’s degrees, and 98% hold an undergraduate degree. A major key to becoming a CEO appears to be education and training.

Studies have shown that it is beneficial to continue to learn and develop new skills. Companies value individuals who are actively involved with their company. They often look for employees willing to work toward a goal and will often assist in paying for their MBA.

Leadership responsibilities such as critical thinking, communication, observation, and delegation are essential. People develop some of these skills through experience. The others are the leadership skills picked up during an advanced education program. How will you advance your career?

Daniel Woodward is a first line leader at the Boeing Company. He is currently a CSU graduate student.


Indeed Editorial Team. (2020). How To Become CEO of a Company. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from source.

Lake, S. (2021, July 14). These fortune 500 companies will help pay for employee MBAs. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from source.

New survey reveals 85% of all jobs are filled via networking. (n.d.). Liknkedin. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from source. Team. (2021). The academic backgrounds of the world’s most powerful CEOs. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from source.

What percentage of the population has a master’s degree?. (n.d.). Retrieved July 19, 2022, from source.

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