What Does It Take to Become a Chief Operating Officer?

A chief operating officer, or COO, is usually the second highest-ranking executive in a company. An operations manager is in charge of day-to-day operations, as well as executing the company's long-term objectives. The Chief Operating Officer (COO) is a senior executive responsible for overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of a company. Typically, the COO reports directly to the CEO and is considered second in the chain of command. The minimum education requirement for an operations manager is a bachelor's degree in business administration or a related field.

However, many candidates seek additional credentials, such as MBA and certifications, to get a Director of Operations Position. One role of a COO is to lead the execution of strategies developed by the senior management team. It's simply a concession to the complexity and scope of the current CEO's work, with his numerous external commitments. Managing large, often global, companies sometimes requires two hands; in such cases, the chief operating officer is usually responsible for delivering results day by day, quarter by quarter. The COO, sometimes known as vice president of operations, is usually the second in command of a company and reports to the CEO. This person manages and manages the day-to-day business operations of the company, working closely with department heads and supervisors to support the daily activity of employees.

The COO is responsible for the day-to-day business operations of a company. You can think of the position as something akin to a high-powered general manager. He will be accountable directly to the CEO and play an integral role in the leadership of the organization. If the CEO is the visionary leader, then the COO is the one who makes things happen. The CEO strategizes and sets goals for the organization, and you'll be the one to figure out how to make those plans a reality.

For example, if a CEO wants to expand the company by offering a new set of services, it will be his job to lead the discovery team to determine which departments, acquisitions, or investments the company will need to make. As a result, you might see that the chief operating officer is sometimes called the chief operating officer, managing director, or “executive vice president of operations”. Whatever your title, you'll be known as the one who does things. Since all internal operations will fall under your responsibility, expect to have a lot of contact with people. In a small business or startup, you can build relationships with all employees. In a larger corporation, you can work primarily with department heads and other executives. Online interviews with current and former COs indicate that 10 to 15 years of experience in a specific industry (but not always in the same job) is needed.

COs seem to share a passion for their industry. This is crucial because you will need to have a very deep knowledge of your industry to properly guide a company. Consider Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Facebook who knew from the start that she wanted to get involved in a technology company. So, if you're planning your way to the position of COO, pay close attention to the industries you're interested in and go from there. If you're a project manager, you're in a great position to take on a director of operations position in the future. You'll already have many of the skills you'll use every day as an operations manager.

If this is your case, you'll want to supplement your skills with some solid business administration skills. An online MBA can give you exactly what you need to fill this knowledge gap. If you already have a degree and you're not in business, you're not out of luck. Some COs have titles that have nothing to do with business, such as technical titles. However, if this is your case, you'll want to analyze the development of your business knowledge as you prepare.

Consider supplementing your next steps in education with strategy or leadership courses. Advanced degrees are common in boardrooms across industries; especially MBAs. As chief operating officer, becoming CEO may be within reach since about 40 percent of top CEOs have MBAs. Having an MBA not only improves your chances of earning higher salaries but also puts in your hands all necessary skills required for competently running an organization's operations. We strongly recommend that you consider one if your degree is not yet underway. Your ability to move up to Tier C depends heavily on who you know; this is especially true with positions such as chief operating officer where candidates are chosen based on how well their personality and specific skills complement those of their CEO. If you're looking to improve your business skills (such as earning an MBA), pay attention to what kind of networking opportunities exist alongside your education.

A developed professional network will prove tremendously valuable. An executive MBA can also differentiate you from other candidates; it gives you both business knowledge and leadership skills which are essential for this very leadership-oriented position. Here's more information about MBA versus EMBA. There are many ways to become a chief operating officer; this challenging and powerful position requires a combination of business acumen, leadership skills and dedication towards one's industry. It's certainly not an easy road but no matter where one stands in their career they can take steps today towards getting into boardrooms. We've established what degrees are needed along with necessary business experience and interpersonal skills required for development. In many cases earning an online MBA can accelerate one's trajectory without interrupting their current career. A competitive and rigorous program with strong professional network can help put best jobs in business world at fingertips; most operations managers find that having an MBA gives them edge over competition when it comes time for promotion.