How to Become a Director of Strategy


Although there are other paths you can take, a very effective route for becoming a director of strategy is to follow these general steps:


1. Do well in high school, and find volunteering opportunities, including student government

2. Determine if this field is compatible with your attributes and ambitions 

3. Pursue a degree related to Business, Management or Business Administration

4. Get a job in the field of management upon graduation

5. Advance into roles of greater responsibility as you gain experience (try to work directly with top executives)

6. Pursue a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree

7. Gain management consulting experience 

8. Find work as a Director of Strategy or Chief Strategy Officer

9. Advance your career even further as you accumulate experience and expertise 


If you’re thinking about getting into this field, then keep reading to find out more about what they do, what their work environment is like, and what you can do to get started! 



How Can I Prepare for This Career in High School?

It’s never too early to set the foundation for your future career. If you’re interested in becoming a director of strategy one day, you should excel in coursework such as business, economics, math and language arts. Coursework in these areas will help prepare you for the work involved in university and your future career, and will help you qualify for business degree programs.


Pursuing extra-curricular activities such as student politics and volunteering for various organizations will also prepare you for working in multi-disciplinary teams to accomplish tasks, and will show initiative on your part; things that never look bad on resumes.



What Formal Education & Experience Will I Need?

Most employers will only consider hiring you if you have a bachelor’s degree in business, as well as proven abilities to work effectively with top executives, a track record of consistently delivering results on cross-functional project teams, and possibly management consulting experience. Many employers will also prefer that you have a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree.





What is a Director of Strategy?

Directors of strategy (also known as "Chief Strategy Officers") are responsible for identifying and clarifying the business development needs and objectives of an organization. They must monitor the progress of the organization and its competition to ensure that its goals are being achieved, and adjusting them if needed.



What Does a Director of Strategy Do?

Although their duties can vary from job to job, directors of strategy are often responsible for the following:


• Monitoring and interpreting all industry trends

• Evaluating the size of the market and the market share of the organization's competitors

• Making strategy recommendations to senior management to assist in the development of the organization’s goals

• Conferring with senior management to refine the organization’s short and long term strategic goals

• Creating business plans for any new company subsidiaries and business ventures

• Seeking partnerships with external organizations



What is the Work Environment Like?

The work of strategy directors is often stressful because they are under intense pressure to deliver results and succeed. If their organization performs poorly, they may find their jobs in jeopardy.


They frequently travel to attend meetings and conferences or to visit their company’s local, regional, national, and international offices.





Should I Work in This Field? Am I Well Suited?

It’s not always about ‘if you can’; whether or not you ‘should’ is of equal, if not greater importance. If the following traits, interests and attributes describe you, then this profession might be very well suited to you:


• You’re interested in helping a company drive growth and innovation through planning and project management.

• You have good team building skills, needed to acquire necessary information, generate winning ideas, and implement strategies effectively.

• You have the type of personality where you can tolerate a lot of structure one day and then tolerate ambiguity the next day if that is what it takes to help the company move forward.

• You’d have a keen interest in gaining an understanding of the internal culture and capabilities of your employer.

• You’re interested in looking for industry shifts and trying to understand your company’s sources of competitive advantage.

• You’re interested in a career that involves advising a company’s executive management.

• You’re interested in a 9-5, office-based career with great pay.

• You’re willing to travel overnight multiple times per year for work.



What is the Salary Level of Directors of Strategy?

Salary in the United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans working in the “Top Executives” occupational group earn a median salary of $103,950 per year. Their salary can vary based on their level of education and experience, the size and type of their employer, the industry in which they work, and many other factors.



Who Employs Them?

Directors of strategy are employed by organizations in virtually every sectors of industry. Although the role is usually found in large commercial businesses, they can be employed with virtually any kind of organization, ranging from small telecommunications companies, to multi-national non-profits and charities.



Current Job Opportunities

Our job board below has a listing of director of strategy postings in your area of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia, when available:




What Career Advancement Options Are There?

If you display competence, drive and motivation, and you consistently deliver results, you’ll find that there will be many opportunities to advance your career. For example, many directors of strategy move on to become top executives at their companies and firms, or start their own management consulting business.



What are Careers Similar to This One?

Listed below are careers that may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities as 'director of strategy':


Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

• Entrepreneur 

• Management Analyst

• Management Consultant

• Market Research Analyst

• Project Manager

• Regulatory Affairs Manager



What Scholarships Are Relevant for This Career? 

The “Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career” section below lists fields of study that pertain to becoming a director of strategy. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our "Any Field of Study Scholarships” page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you qualify for, even if it's just because you meet 1 of the criteria, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Sources for This Career Guide

The following resources were used to gather information for this career path guide:


• Strategic Planning: “What Makes a Great Chief Strategy Officer?” Michael Birshan, Emma Gibbs & Kurt Strovink (May 14, 2015). The Harvard Business Review. Retrieved November 10, 2019.

• Opinion & Analysis: “The Role of the Chief Strategy Officer.” Taman H. Powell and Duncan N. Angwin (September 18, 2012). MIT Sloan Management Review. Retrieved November 10, 2019.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Top Executives.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 10, 2019.


Please Note: Some of the information used for this career guide was obtained from actual job postings, which due to their brief online nature are not listed here as references.



Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database. Below, we've outlined those that are most relevant to becoming a director of strategy. Click on the links to see what else you can do with these majors!


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