From MBA To CEO: Five Tips From General Motor’s First Female Chief

Mary Barra, chief executive of General Motors, the world’s third largest automaker by sales, is perhaps the most successful female MBA graduate of her time.

The General Motors chief has presided over the tail end of a remarkable turnaround at the American carmaker, following its government-managed bankruptcy in 2009. She has sought to invest in developing luxury lines, and made an ambitious push into the electric vehicles market at last month’s Detroit auto show.

Mary took the reins of GM, known for its Cadillac and Chevrolet brands, in January 2014. She has risen through the ranks at the US-based company, after joining in 1980 as a university co-op student.

An MBA at Stanford GSB in California allowed her to move into a senior position within GM’s operations engineering services upon graduation, in 1990.

The number of MBA graduates leading the world’s largest listed companies has nudged upwards 2% to 31% in a year.

The career takeaway for Mary is that, whether you spend your career working for one company or 20, you need to hone your ability to start strong in each new position you hold.

In a blog post reflecting on her first 90 days as chief executive, the MBA graduate outlined five tips she has developed while working for a company with 219,000 employees, and which produced $156 billion in annual revenue...


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