3 Considerations to Help Transition Your Career from SME to MNC

3 Considerations to Help Transition Your Career from SME to MNC

Managing directors by their very nature are ambitious individuals. They aim to achieve the highest reaches possible in their professional lives, and the larger the organization the better. There are many incentives, as well as challenges to overcome, to make the transition from a small to medium sized enterprise (SME) to a multinational corporation (MNC). With careful crafting and presentation, any managing director can increase their pedigree and make the leap to the multinational corporate sphere.

Why Should You Make the Transition from SME to MNC?

Why make the move in the first place? Why would a Chief

Executive abandon his role from his previous enterprise just to take another one with the same basic responsibilities? Trick question. The reality is that the roles are not that similar beyond their title. Maintaining the reins of a large multinational requires a different skill set and mentality than that necessary to succeed at a more modest organization. At the multinational level, directors must be less micromanagement and more macro-management. Multinational corporations also require greater political and social skills, to accommodate different cultures and governments. Further, there is just something intoxicating about the power and influence that a multinational corporation possesses. Due to their size and scope, multinational corporations have far greater resources and public exposure than an ordinary business firm. This makes these corporate executives public figures on par with politicians and television personalities. Even the difficulties of the position- which include difficulty with corporate bureaucracy and policy management- involve a level of intrigue and high stakes that cannot be matched in other organisations.


Have you considered becoming a Non-Executive Director for a company and building up your career portfolio? By taking on one or two remunerated Non-Executive Director positions you would not only be increasing your salary but you would also develop your proficiencies, career experiences and credibility. Find out more about becoming a Non-Executive Director by reading our article.

Non-Executive Director: A New Perspective On Your Career


1. Have the numbers back you up

Given the stark differences that can arise between a SME and its multinational counterpart, a managing director must excel in presenting his or her self as a viable candidate. This must be accomplished through three predominant functions: through one’s curriculum vitae, the interview process, and through general presentation. In these capacities, it is essential that the managing director can demonstrate with statistics and monetary figures their ability to produce business results. This enhances the ease for potential employers to assess the person in terms of raw numbers. If the executive candidate has a record of doubling sales each year for the last several firms has worked for, then they can probably do it again. Employers of Chief Executive Officers/Managing Directors appreciate predictability.

2. Can you play nice with others?

Another facet to consider is to demonstrate one’s intercultural ability. A leading figure in a multinational corporation must deal with many ethnic groups and cultural varieties. If you are aiming to achieve a position within a firm that has heavy dealings in Saudi Arabia and Oman, can you interact in accordance to local customs and interactions? Not every executive however is capable or comfortable in such settings. What makes you qualified in this regard? Ensure that you show, not tell, how you can accomplish this.


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3. Been there-done that mentality

Generally speaking, a viable candidate must have a great deal of experience in the multinational corporation’s industry in order to become its executive officer. A chief executive’s job is to provide vision and a course for the firm to navigate; this can be exceedingly difficult to do without extensive experience and a working knowledge of the potential risks and opportunities that lie ahead for an organization in that sector. A strong MNC executive must demonstrate that he or she has leave valuable lessons from their past experiences within the industry, and that they have been able to develop thorough and successful philosophies and tactics on how to best navigate the organization through a frequently tumultuous market. Conclusion A career move from SME to MNC is no easy feat, but with the right knowledge and understanding, preparation and mentality you’ll help to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.


Make sure you’re ready to to take your career to CEO level and succeed. Sign up to the CI Executive Career Management programme and get access to a Career Coach to guide and coach you through your journey to board level. Also don’t forget to keep a lookout for the top roles that become available in emerging markets.

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About the author

Jamie McDermott

Involved in Business Development and Technologies at Career Intelligence. Based in the Fleet Street, London office since the start of 2014.

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