Dear Classy Career Girl,
I currently work at a state university in mid-management, but would like to move into administration (vice-president). I have an undergraduate business degree, an MBA and working on a doctorate degree. What tips can you provide on how to transition into a vice-president job?
Trying To Climb The Ladder
Thanks for your question!
I definitely think you are doing the right thing by getting your doctorate degree. I know that is really important to move up at Universities! So definitely keep working hard at that. And then, since I know there are limited positions at that level, I would use networking as the tool that really needs to be in your toolset. You need to start telling people about your goals and ask them what things are missing from your resume in order to reach your goals. The more you tell people what you want to do, the more likely you will believe it. The more confident and serious that other people see you, the more likely that will keep you in mind and refer you when a position opens. Network with the people that are in those positions now and ask them what steps you need to take to get to their position someday.
Also, do you need to stay at the same University? I think your options would be a lot wider if you were open to moving to other locations or Universities. It might sound difficult but it is definitely something to think about. Sometimes if you stay where you currently are, they might not be able to envision you as a VP because they are so used to thinking of you as mid-management. You will never be promoted no matter what you do because they already think of you a certain way. It sucks for people like you but sometimes it is hard to change other people’s minds no matter what you do. They might want someone who they think is better just because they have experience at a different University that they bring with them. That is something that you won’t have because you have been at the same University.
Another thing you want to have in your toolset is patience. I know Universities work slow and there are limited positions at the top. But I promise you that if you are patient and keep networking (maybe join an organization where you can meet other leaders from Universities around the country?) it will pay off in the long run!!! Just don’t stop until you get there.
Good luck! Hope this helps!