The 21st century business world provides more opportunities than ever for a varied career that can bring big financial returns. And modern innovations in digital technology not only create more opportunities they bring increased flexibility when it comes to working and studying remotely.
This means that even if you have school age kids, a busy home life and limited financial resources, there is nothing to stop you building the business career that you always dreamed of, if you are ready to make the effort. Let’s look at how you can become a high flier in the world of business.
Essential skills and qualities
Whether you are looking to get into operations, marketing, finance, online analytics or some other area of business, there are certain personal attributes that will always put you in good stead. And not all of them are skills that can be learned at a business school.
Personal qualities like a thirst for knowledge and self-improvement, drive, motivation, clear vision and ambition are all important, but most of all, you need a genuine interest in and passion for the career that you want to follow.
You will also need to have great communication skills, both written and verbal. That does not just mean being able to put your point across in an email and speak clearly and persuasively. Just as important is the ability to listen and appreciate other points of view.
Personal skills are great, but to reach the top, you inevitably need to back those up with the right academic qualifications.
Not all business executives hold bachelor’s degrees, and we have all seen and read success stories of self-made business entrepreneurs who have left school at 16 and gone on to create a multi-million dollar empire.
The truth is, though, that according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you stand a far better chance of finding your way into a senior management role if you have, as a minimum, completed a bachelor’s degree program.
For fast-track access to the upper echelons of management, you might consider an advanced degree course, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Science in Finance program. These courses typically take 1-2 years to complete in full time study, with students working on both individual and group assignments to hone a variety of business skills, including marketing, finance, strategy, human resource management and operations. These programs also help you to develop soft skills like leadership and public speaking.
Distance learning and online courses
Of course, not everyone has the time or money to dive into a full time study program for two years. If this is you, do not despair; there are plenty of other options available.
One of the benefits of the digital age is the proliferation of online courses, covering a wide range of specific business skills. Whether you want to study for a bachelor’s degree course, an MBA, or a more specialist qualification in finance, analytics in business or digital marketing, there is a course out there for you.
Courses like these offer perfect flexibility to allow you to study for the qualifications that you need at a pace and in a format that meets your personal circumstances and, of course, your budget.
On the job learning and experience
So you have the personal skills, the drive to succeed and the academic qualifications. Great stuff, but it is still a long road to the Chief Executive’s office.
Attaining any executive position demands significant industry experience that can only be obtained through time, something that even Richard Branson, one of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, is quick to acknowledge.
Despite changes in the modern day business dynamic, there are still plenty of traditional attitudes out there, and many firms prefer to promote from within. This means that when you enter the world of work, you need to be prepared to start on the bottom rung of the corporate ladder and climb your way to the top, gaining valuable business insights on the way up.
The only way is up
In today’s business environment, the only barrier to your own success is yourself. If you have the will to succeed, then even financial limitations, family commitments and a lack of education and experience are all obstacles that can be easily overcome.
Just be prepared to put in the hours, and you too could be a captain of industry.