How Do I Become an Executive Trainee?

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  • Written By: Terry Masters
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 14 December 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Executive training programs typically target internal company candidates who are transitioning into management or external candidates who will fill front line positions in middle management. These types of candidates may have some formal business education but do not have a Master's of Business Administration (MBA). You can usually become an executive trainee by obtaining a bachelor's degree, demonstrating interest or experience in the target business industry and exhibiting the soft skills needed to be an effective manager.

Many major companies have two ways for people to break into the management ranks. The formal method that will often transition candidates into top-level executive positions is through the MBA internship and graduate hiring process. Traditionally, however, formal business education was a help but never a requirement for a successful businessperson. Many people throughout history have worked their way through the ranks to management positions within a company. Executive training programs build on that tradition by providing an avenue into management that is based on the philosophy that the company can best impart what an executive candidate needs to know to be successful.


Management training programs are often designed for people who have worked their way up through the company or for external candidates with a bachelor's degree. To become an executive trainee, you have to comply with the requirements of the particular program that is your target. Every program has a process that is based on the company's needs, but there are some generalities that cut across programs.

If you want to become an executive trainee for a company where you currently work, you have to qualify for the program, submit an application and be the type of person that the company feels would make a good manager. Some programs make a bachelor's degree a prerequisite for applying. Others want candidates who have been with the company for a certain number of years. Regardless of the prerequisites involved, you must have current managers who can recommend you for the program based on your past work.

To become an executive trainee as an external candidate, you typically need a bachelor's degree, but not necessarily in a business major or in something directly related to the target industry. It is possible to apply for a training program without educational credentials that go directly to the job, since most training programs teach you what you need to know to perform. Your experience and demonstrated interest will have to make up for the disconnect between your interest in the program and your education, however.

For example, you may be able to apply for an executive training program in the automobile industry without specific business education or an engineering degree. Your background, prior experience and extracurricular interests would have to provide the reasons why you would want to undertake this type of training. Generally, the better your credentials support your interest in the training program on paper, the easier it will be for you to be selected.



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