The Big Fat Money!

The Big Fat Money!

Top execs. Top guns. Top salaries.

Capitalism is an anarchy of Greed.--- George Bernard Shaw

Today we’re talking mega-bucks. Salaries over 1 million per year.

He who has the gold makes the rules. That’s the tone today. Cold and cruel. The big fat money, standing alone, taken as a goal in itself.

The anarchy of the high-end game, that brings pure corporate profit. Is that what you want? or what you think you want?

Fine. Let’s dig in. Look up, way up the ladder.

Whew! The air is suddenly rarified. Who makes that big money? How did they get up there? Who made them Gods?

Many top guns at big companies top $1 million USD annually. Salaries vary wildly. By type of company, by level of responsibility, and by industry. And more, by the amount of control (power) the exec has, over his/her destiny, at that company.

Those are the corporations. It’s highly revealing that government execs earn much less. The public eye is on them, limiting their grab-gravitational power.

For top guns in the big companies, piled onto the big salaries, are mega-fat stock options and a panoply of other (often very creative) performance bonuses.

We’re talking about company-owned aircraft and cars, access to expense allowances, lifetime insurance, amazing pay incentives of all kinds. Oh, and the company-paid club memberships and other amenities like world travel to 5-star destinations. Sure, that means long hours, considerable travel, and you’re only as good as your power to control others. Not to mention 100-million-dollar golden parachutes.

big Money

Wow. So. What kind of degree do you need, to get your foot on the bottom rung… of one of those tall ladders into the sky?

Formal education (and experience) of top execs vary with the game they are playing. But most have at least a bachelor’s degree, and many years of key experience. That means experience both in their industry type, and in the killer politics of corporations.

There’s a wide range of titles and duties involved. Chief executive officer, chief operating officer, general manager, president— but all of them direct the operations of businesses and corporations.

They call the shots. In prisons such gang-leaders are called the “shot-callers.” But their gift for organization and control are the same.

A corporation’s goals and policies are established by the chief executive officer in collaboration with other top execs— closely monitored by a board of directors. The chief exec meets frequently with the other top execs, enforcing the operation’s goals in every way needed or wanted.

The top guns fire, they hire, they recruit talent, and they make things happen. If they fail, everyone fails. If they win, everyone wins. That’s why they get the huge money. And it’s why lower execs benefit— a rising tide lifts all boats.

These top execs have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration, liberal arts, and sometimes in a more specialized discipline that relates to the nature of the company— the specific type (and level of education required) often depends on the type of organization for which top execs work.

Many top exec positions are filled from within the organization, by promoting experienced lower level managers when an opening arises. In industries such as retail trade or transportation, for example, individuals without a college degree may work their way up within the company and become executives or general managers. When hiring top executives from outside the organization, those doing the hiring often prefer managers with extensive managerial experience.

A degree is always a big boost to potential promotions. Those chosen for company training programs are often degree-holders. Execs with degrees and experience in a particular field, such as accounting or engineering, benefit from executive development programs geared toward their backgrounds.

Experienced managers always reflect strong leadership qualities. The execs, who build a rep for improving the efficiency or competitive position of their company, will soar to the top. They will always own the best opportunities for promotion.

The changing world opens many doors. In an increasingly global economy, degrees in international economics, marketing, and information systems, as well as knowledge of several languages, are a huge plus. Preparing yourself with the right degree puts you in the game.

Management is another avenue of approach to the golden doors. General managers may advance to a top executive position, such as executive vice president. In the vicious competition today, they may take a corresponding position in a competing firm. Some rise that way to peak corporate positions, such as chief operating officer or chief executive officer. There is fierce recruiting of top managers.

In the most rarified of corporate stratospheres, a CEO becomes a member of the board of directors of one or more firm—- sometimes a director of their own firm, and often as chair of its board of directors.

Some top executives even establish their own firms, to own the whole game and break out the profit ceiling, where even the sky is no longer the salary limit.

If that is the life you want, find your niche, get your degree, and use it like a sword to fight your way up the ladder.

Some Grad2B tips… get yourself a jockey inside the company, a seasoned mentor who knows the politics. Prove your value and your loyalty, and always keep open to corporate change, for as the proverb says, in chaos there is opportunity.

And opportunity always begins with your degree. Your degree is your key to the corporate door. But once inside, the rest is up to you.

Educate, educate, educate!

    For more information on top executives, including educational programs, contact:

  • American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
  • National Management Association, 2210 Arbor Blvd., Dayton, OH 45439.
    For more information on executive financial management careers, contact:

  • Financial Executives International, 200 Campus Dr., Florham Park, NJ 07932.
  • Financial Management Association International, College of Business Administration, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Ave., BSN 3331, Tampa, FL 33620.
    For information about management skills development, including the Certified Manager (CM) credential, contact:

  • Institute for Certified Professional Managers, James Madison University, MSC 5504, Harrisonburg, VA 22807.
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