Photo: MIT study
In a recent study, MIT economist Antoinette Schoar took a look at 3,500 CEOs from 1992 – 2005, and found that those who started their careers (usually around age 25) during a recession not only were resoundingly more conservative CEOs a few decades years later, but they:
* Took several years longer to ever become a CEO
*Rose through the ranks of a single firm rather than moved across firms and industries
*Had less leverage in the firm where they become CEO
*Relied more on internal investments rather than acquisitions while CEOSchoar also found out what “Joe CEO” looks like, after pouring over all those bios:
“The average CEO takes about 20 years to become a CEO, and is around 47 years old at the time of starting the first CEO position. He or she has been employed in three prior companies and has on average worked in at last two different industries before starting the current job. The average tenure in each of the prior jobs is 4.4 years.”
It’s true that the business landscape looks much different now than it did a decade ago. Career trajectories are also more diversified. But there’s still something to be said for the lasting psychological effects of an economic downturn on future business leaders, she argues.
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