What Does an Executive Trainee Do?

Every company requires capable executives, and many large corporations offer executive trainee positions that allow candidates for future executive positions to gain hands-on experience with the company’s operations and the role they hope to fill. An executive trainee works in a variety of departments on a rotating basis in order to gain a broad understanding of the company’s operations. The executive trainee’s responsibilities include shadowing members of the department’s management team in their daily activities, temporarily filling junior positions, and working on projects that will help develop the executive skills required.

A trainee for an executive career typically receives formal training in each of the roles to which he or she is exposed, such as classroom instruction. This assists the executive trainee in comprehending the theoretical requirements of executive work, while rotation within the company serves as a practicum. It also allows the trainee to determine which aspects of the job are best suited to him or her, which aids in career planning. A trainee who dislikes financial executive training or rotation, for example, is unlikely to succeed as a finance executive.

An executive trainee’s job placement includes performing the duties of both junior and senior members of each department. This allows the trainee to fully comprehend what is involved in the work, the department’s function, and constraints such as supply and demand. An executive trainee in a bank, for example, may be required to work as a teller, assist clients with account opening, and assist borrowers with loan applications. A trainee in a manufacturing environment, on the other hand, is likely to be exposed to responsibilities like labor relations, workplace safety and health regulations, and cost accounting.

For an executive trainee, projects like productivity or workflow studies are ideal learning opportunities. These projects allow the trainee to not only practice management skills supervising the team members, but also to gain a thorough understanding of the science behind the business. Similarly, outsourcing a critical service is a project that can provide the trainee with firsthand information about the reasons for outsourcing as well as the commitment of the chosen service provider. If the trainee stays in the same department after the training period, this knowledge may be useful for future career advancement.

If the executive trainee wants to work in marketing, he or she may need to learn about sales, public relations, and advertising. A trainee in this position will be expected to understand the company’s sales strategies and collaborate with the advertising agency and production to implement them. A useful skill is the ability to read the market and identify potential changes in demand, which can be learned shadowing management and watching how they analyze data.