What the careers of top CEOs have in common

JobApplicationCenter.com compared leaders of Fortune 100 companies.

Roger Crandall, the CEO of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
Roger Crandall, the CEO of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance –Courtesy of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance

If you want to be a CEO one day, you better figure out what field you want to work in soon, according to a new analysis of Fortune 100 CEOs by JobApplicationCenter.com.

By analyzing the career paths of the top 100 CEOs in the country, the job search site found that there were quite a few trends common among America’s top corporate leaders: while nearly two-thirds of the top CEOs did not start at their current company, most began in the same field, usually launching their careers by their mid-20s.

Another trend was where CEOs were located, with the Northeast and Southeast home to most CEOs. But tech and entertainment hub California housed more CEOs than any other single state, followed closely by Texas, New York, Illinois, and Minnesota. Massachusetts is home to two Fortune 100 CEOs – David H. Long, CEO of Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Roger W. Crandall, CEO of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance. Like most CEOs on the list, both men started their careers in the same fields they are in now and were in their early 20s when they began their careers. Unlike 60 percent of other CEOs, who go on to lead a different company, both Long and Crandall are still with the same insurance companies where they got their start.

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Massachusetts’s leaders first jobs:

Long pulled in nearly $14 million in 2014, almost a 27 percent increase from the previous year, while Crandall made close to $10 million.

JobApplicationCenter.com also found that some companies have a skill for giving CEOs their start, with accounting firm Arthur Andersen having the highest number of employees-turned-CEOs at three, followed closely by consumer goods company Procter & Gamble and technology and consulting company IBM, with two each.

Of course some of the most well known CEOs break the mold. CEO success stories of those who had their modest beginnings at the same company they went onto lead include Walmart CEO Doug McMillion, who was once an assistant manager, and Coca-Cola’s CEO Muhtar Kent, a former truck driver.

Some factors will definitely help aspiring CEOs get ahead though. JobApplicationCenter.com recommends “a solid education, varied career experience (for instance, a background in consulting), and specific strengths including a high level of ambition and excellent communication skills.’’

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