Corner Office: A Breakdown of C-Level Jobs

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Earning an Executive MBA should prepare graduate students for corporate positions known as C-level jobs. These positions come with a lot of responsibility, but they also come with higher salaries and more respect within the company. As Executive MBA students prepare to enter the workforce, they should understand the roles of these positions. Graduates may even end up sitting in their own corner offices after a few years of work experience.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Other than company owners or the board of directors, the CEO stands at the top of the organization. You can also think of the CEO as a kind of quarterback who uses the strengths of team members to reach goals. By developing the right plans, CEOs help ensure that companies stay profitable.

The highest-paid CEOs can earn millions of dollars a year in salaries, benefits, and bonuses. Of course, not every CEO is a millionaire. Even those who make considerable salaries have to tolerate the stress of running a business. If the company doesn’t meet its goals, it’s the CEO’s fault. That’s a heavy burden for anyone.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

The CFO is in charge of the company’s finances. This is such an important job that some companies give the CFO nearly as much power as they give the CEO. Depending on the company, CFOs may report to a CEO or to the board of directors.

CFOs need a deep understanding of economics and finance. Even a minor mistake can upset an organization’s financial stability. To make the job more manageable, CFOs often have treasurers or controllers who help with bookkeeping, analyzing data, and researching economic trends.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

The COO makes decisions about how the company behaves on a daily basis. This person often has to tackle small inconveniences before they balloon into major problems. It’s an important role that’s often considered second-in-command, answering directly to the CEO.

The COO has to take an analytical look at the company to set reasonable goals and decide which policies will help the organization improve. This often involves looking closely at:

  • customer satisfaction
  • efficiency
  • workplace safety
  • work quality

COOs working at small companies might have a lot of direct contact with supervisors and employees. Those working at larger businesses don’t usually have as much contact with employees. They usually review data sent from low-level managers who supervise workers. This data is used to measure how well the company is performing and suggest methods of improvement.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

The CTO is in charge of developing a technology strategy that will help the company operate more efficiently, meet customer needs, and protect private data from outsiders. As businesses rely more and more on computer technology, they have to find reliable CTOs who understand what it takes to meet goals.

Considering that hackers routinely steal information from big-box stores, healthcare groups, and other organizations, companies must hire knowledgeable CTOs.

Many EMBA graduates aspire to one day hold C-level positions. Which corner office position interests you most?