Fast Company

Up the Academy

In the current issue of CFO magazine, there's a mention of what Lisa Yoon terms "academy companies" -- organizations with a reputation for success. The upshot is that these firms are particularly good breeding ground for future leaders -- and that working for them early in your career can help pave the way for faster promotions and career development.

The primary examples given -- Dell, PepsiCo, and Motorola -- seem to be good places to end one's career, much less start out, but the concept of academy companies intrigues me.

Do you work for an academy company? Have you taken a job as a strategic stepping stone? What needs to happen where you work for the organization to become a fast track for talent?

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  • christopher langhoff

    I started my career after business school at Goldman Sachs for two years and then spent the next twelve at PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Group. I then spent three years at a $100MM company as their CFO. I learned a lot during my 12 years at PepsiCo. But making the transition to a very small company was not easy and in the end it didn't work well for me. At PepsiCo you move fast throught jobs (18 to 24 months), looking back it would have been better to stay in some jobs longer and/or get a much broader financial experience. Of course I can not look back at my career and see how I might have done it "better". Now my experiences are not as valuable. The world continues to change and now CFO's are looked at more for their control abilities and less for their strategic and operational finance skills. But I've taken my experiences and I am now using them to my clients advantage in execuctive search. I think that PepsiCo is a great place to start not finish. But finding the right spot to leap to is very important. Thanks.