The Knowledge-Driven CEO – Getting Another Degree As an Active CEO

CEOs are already at the top of the heap. From a strict career advancement perspective, they can’t really go much higher than they’ve already gone. To the layperson, this might sound like all the reasons in the world to take your foot off the gas.

Learning CEO

Sure, you have to keep the investors happy and the staff soundly employed, but outside of that, you don’t really need to grow as a professional, right?


CEOs get where they are in the first place by being driven and highly motivated to learn and grow. In this article, we look at why CEOs might want to consider getting another degree, and how they can go about doing it.

Why Do It?

We talked in the introduction about how CEOs are always driven to take the next step and grow as professionals. But is education really the way to do that? After all, to have gotten to where you are at, your knowledge is probably pretty sound, to begin with.

The truth is, things change in business all the time. By getting an advanced degree, you don’t just get the opportunity to expand your expertise. You’re also able to gain a more current understanding of what is going on in the world of business.

Naturally, most CEO aren’t fresh out of school. They most likely logged ten, twenty, or even thirty years in the trenches before they got the ultimate promotion. A lot can change in that amount of time. For example, business technology alone has shifted radically in the last ten years.

By going back for a fresh degree, you expose yourself to modern business analytic processes — a technology that is revolutionizing the way companies function.

You’ll also learn about AI, automation, and other technologies that can completely change a business’s practices and trajectory.

It Sends a Good Message

It’s also worth mentioning that going back to school as a CEO sends an extremely positive message to everyone else working at your company. For one thing, it’s a humbling thought — the CEO is acknowledging that they have more to learn. Doesn’t that mean that everyone else does as well?

It also simply suggests in no uncertain terms that ongoing education is rewarded and appreciated at your company. Naturally, as CEO you want your staff to value professional development. By demonstrating that you practice what you preach, you establish an environment where ongoing learning becomes the norm.

Keep in mind that, while it’s great for a CEO to understand the ins and outs of modern business practices and technology this knowledge can only really be impactful if it’s propped up by the efforts of others who are also actively growing in their business knowledge.

Navigating the Challenge of Being a Working Student

It doesn’t matter how hard of a worker you are. Going to school and working a full-time, high-pressure job is always going to be difficult. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do that might make the experience easier for yourself.

Consider Online Classes

As CEO your schedule probably doesn’t have very much give in it. Online classes can help provide a degree of much-needed flexibility. While they will still have their challenges, they allow you to skip the commute, and often even complete classwork at your own pace. You’ll still be challenged, of course, but you’ll save time on the drive and make it easier to fulfill your conflicting responsibilities.

Take Your Time

It usually takes between two and three years to get your graduate degree. As CEO, you might feel pressure to stick to this timeline. After all, you don’t want to come across looking weak, or incapable, right? Wrong. There is no shame in taking all the time you need. Keep in mind that most people finishing their degree in two years aren’t also running a company for their day job. Your situation is unique. Take as long you need to get your degree and do so with confidence, secure in the knowledge that you are good at what you do.

Remember: education is a marathon, not a sprint. Do things in a way that is most comfortable for you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your partner or spouse. Whether you need a study partner, someone to take on extra responsibilities with the kids or in the house, or anything else. Even CEOs need a hand from time to time.


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