Rob Polston started out as a financial analyst working in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Five years into a banking career and father to a young family, he decided to enrol on an MBA programme.
This was a turning point in a career which has since led to rewarding professional opportunities and his current role as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) within a world-leading online learning organisation.
Speaking at a global webinar for ambitious professionals interested in moving forward in their career, Rob shared three tips on how to become a successful CEO:
Having a master's in business administration is often considered to be beneficial for graduates wanting to move ahead in a competitive job market. This sought-after postgraduate qualification turned out to be important to Rob’s career progression for these four reasons:
At executive level, leaders need to adopt a confident and adaptable strategic approach that will ensure their organisation thrives in a changeable environment. As Rob says, “CEOs need to build a culture that embraces and rewards change, innovation and agility”.
Rob identifies three key attributes or roles of a successful CEO:
Successful CEOs need to be constantly looking out for risks and opportunities for their businesses. They must be willing to be forward-thinking disrupters – keeping ahead of changes brought on by new technology and international competition. A CEO needs to build an agile culture that embraces change and innovation.
Successful CEOs are “evangelists” for their business and should have an unshakeable point of view about the future of their organisation. Successful CEOs have a clear vision, a strong business case and are focused on achieving a long-range goal while convincing and leading their people and external partners.
Successful CEOs are designers of great organisations. They design their organisation to meet the challenges of different stages of development and then recruit and develop great talent. They recognise the talent they have in their teams and make sure that people reach their full potential.
Rob Polston is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the University of Europe Laureate Digital and Laureate Partners, online learning partner of the University of Liverpool.
Hear more from Rob by listening to a recording of the Secrets of a Successful CEO webinar.
The University of Liverpool is a world-class institution ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide and is a member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of 24 research-led universities.
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