How can I become the managing director of a company

Managing director - job description, salary, tasks and requirements

Do you have a head for business and big ambitions? Perhaps the job as managing director would be just right for you.

As a managing director, you manage the fortunes of a company, plan strategically, have an open ear for your employees and always keep an eye on the commercial aspect. If something goes wrong, you have to intervene, because as the managing director you are responsible for the success.

In large companies, executives often take on sub-areas (such as finances, production or personnel), while in smaller companies they look after all areas at the same time.

Executives can work in practically any industry. You need analytical skills, a confident demeanor, strong communication skills, leadership skills, flexibility, a high degree of independence and negotiation skills. Advanced IT skills, foreign language skills and the willingness to travel are often part of the requirement profile as a managing director.

The job is not just the beginning of a career, rather it is a goal that you have to work towards for many years. Either the path leads through promotions within a company, or you strategically change employers and thus move up the career ladder step by step.

Unless you found your start-up at a young age. Here you are of course there from the start and most of the time you are also a managing partner, i.e. you own the company.

Video on the job description of managing directors

Salary as managing director

The salary as an employed managing director reflects the great degree of responsibility of this position and is usually in the six-digit range. However, the amount depends on the industry.

The earnings are particularly high in the banking, chemical and process engineering, automotive, pharmaceutical and telecommunications sectors. There the annual salaries for managing directors are around 160,000 to 185,000 euros gross.

In the insurance, consumer and durable goods, mechanical engineering, medical technology and electrical engineering, clothing, textile, building materials, IT system house, computer, management consultancy, plant engineering, metal, software, energy, water, environment, media, press and food sectors the salary between about 120,000 and 150,000 euros annually.

As a managing director in the areas of construction and real estate, you can expect an annual salary of around 100,000 euros. Executives in health care (around 90,000 euros) and in retail (around 80,000 euros) earn significantly less.

In addition to the actual earnings, other benefits often play a role, such as a free company car or bonus payments.

How do you become a managing director?

There is no specific training as a manager. A look at the résumés of current managing directors shows that everyone has taken a different path. However, there are some degree programs that prepare you for a job in management. Academic degrees are particularly important in large companies.

Usually executives have two degrees, a Bachelor and a Master. The Master is very often a Master of Business Administration (MBA), the Bachelor can, but does not necessarily have to be acquired in the same subject.

In some cases, the executive floor can also be climbed through a dual course of study or, less often, through commercial training in connection with very good industry knowledge. This is particularly true of small and medium-sized companies.

In addition to the formal training, which is important for the job as managing director, professional experience as well as further education and training also play an important role. As part of further training, for example, knowledge of employee management and employee motivation, effective communication or negotiating skills can be acquired.

In this job you are the boss of the company, but often not the owner, so the shareholders decide on good and woe to the management. As the managing partner, you own the company and take over the management.

Requirements and tasks for the management

Complex requirements are placed on the position of managing director. Your analytical skills and communicative skills are particularly important. In many cases, it is a matter of reconciling, mediating and negotiating the interests of different parties.

Organizational skills, entrepreneurial thinking, a high degree of independence, flexibility, leadership skills, a sense of responsibility and a good deal of stress resistance are all part of the job as a managing director.

The professional requirements depend on the industry. It is cross-industry that there should be a solid understanding of business, IT skills and knowledge of foreign languages. In order to manage the fortunes of a company, however, industry-internal knowledge is usually also important.

That is why employers often look for executives who have years of professional experience in the industry. You don't have to have worked as a managing director for years, but intermediate steps on the way to the executive floor should already be behind you. These intermediate steps can be, for example, the position of team leader or department head.

A higher degree (master’s) is often a formal requirement.

Application as managing director

You should use all your persuasive power in your application to become a managing director. Come up with sound arguments that prove that you have what it takes to be the CEO of this company.

The position of managing director is highly regarded and sought-after. Therefore, your cover letter must be individually adapted to the targeted position and work out in terms of content and wording. Bumpy wording, missing documents or spelling mistakes cast a bad light on you.

Pay attention to the correct positioning and clearly emphasize your core competencies (skills, experience and success in leadership, project management and budget coordination, for example).

Formally, the same principles apply as for all other application documents (cover letter, curriculum vitae, certificates). It is advisable to use high-quality paper and a classy folder to underline the level of the job. Letters of recommendation complete your application as a managing director.

Many more tips on how to apply!

Trends and perspectives for the management

As a managing director, it is important to spot emerging trends and react quickly to them (keyword: disruption). In any case, there will be no shortage of challenges in the future. Across industries, managers should pay more attention to employer branding, because the strong baby boomers who are retiring leave huge gaps and suitable staff is scarce.

A clearly defined brand and a good image attract talent. Changes can also be expected in the field of marketing / PR. The constant availability of information, global networking and global exchange of messages in real time have an impact on customer expectations and behavior.

On a global level, issues such as cybersecurity, increasing nationalist-protectionist tendencies and global warming are major challenges. Automation / digitization can, however, be an enrichment. In short: the world is changing. As a managing director you have an eye on the big issues in addition to day-to-day business.

Be careful: If the goal of your life is so far in the future, it can sometimes be demotivating. Focus not only on the future position of employed managing directors, but also on your current position and do a good job at every career level. This increases your chances of actually making it to the executive suite one day.

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