Megan Clarken: How I became a CEO with out a university diploma

  • Megan Clarken is the CEO of Criteo, an web marketing system for manufacturers and shops.
  • As a teen, Clarken was an Olympic class athlete in monitor and area, until a critical knee personal injury ended her hopes of an Olympic career.
  • Right after this setback, Clarken resolved to pursue a occupation in small business, and labored her way up from a computer system operator to develop into main business officer at Nielsen World wide Media just before joing Criteo.
  • Clarken credits her accomplishments to setting her sights substantial despite not possessing a four yr diploma, and states it truly is important to be self-assured that you can learn and defeat any worries thrown your way.
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Folks are swift to suppose that as a small business chief, I went to university or experienced some larger tertiary education. The truth is, I failed to. 

I’m a previous Olympic class athlete in monitor and discipline. I started my journey at 17 only to have a critical knee personal injury at 19, which finished my athletics career. When most folks my age ended up effectively into their levels, I was not — and worse, my desires of an Olympics gold medal were being gone.

But I did have a little something not everyone did: early experience with major occupation setbacks.

And even additional so, I had uncovered grit and resilience, how to triumph over these setbacks, and develop a path to good results.

Megan Clarken as an athlete in high school.

Megan Clarken as an athlete in superior school.

Megan Clarken

Confident, not everyone examining this article is a former athlete, but we have all confronted setbacks. In a environment full of principles, norms, and anticipations that appear with being a successful businessperson,

I’m proof that you can use your individual smarts, travel, and bravery to accomplish what you want — and deliver with it a varied outlook that opens up new opportunities. In this article are 3 things I have uncovered.

1. Be curious and under no circumstances end discovering

Via opportunity and resolve, I was provided my initially position as a laptop operator operating on an aged IBM Mainframe. Although I might have gotten the part simply because of how swiftly I typed (many thanks to some preceding do the job in knowledge entry) I like to think that becoming open, personable, legitimate, and curious is how I in the long run sealed the deal. 

When starting up someplace new, it’s significant to do your research. You are not just heading for a work you might be deciding on the put in which you want to get the job done. Study the company so you can ask the correct thoughts that reveal you’ve got finished the leg perform and at the same time feed your own curiosity. 

Accomplishing your homework would not conclusion at the CEO, encompassing oneself with dependable advisors is equally significant. I have gained remarkable steering in excess of the many years, and one particular piece of advice from a buddy has trapped with me to this day. When I was struggling with the determination to go away a corporation, he claimed, “Glimpse back again but will not stare. You are commencing some thing new that you can create and condition on your own. Allow that invigorate you.” 

2. Embrace the bumps in the street and hold it moving 

When I retired from my Olympic monitor and subject occupation, I determined that I would constantly be absolutely in command of the life I make, and I’ve hardly ever appeared back. Everyone looking to be successful in their job requirements to obtain their voice to act and be self-confident in the possibilities they make together the way.

My approach has often been to get in management of the condition. If I experience overwhelmed, I line up the solutions and attainable alternate paths I can take. Do your investigate, ask queries, and make a choice that will ease the feeling of helplessness and enable you to move from a place of power.

But, here’s the difficult real truth: you will never usually earn — and that is Okay. As an worker, this can be complicated to wrap our heads all over. Often the bad days arrive a day right after your most fantastic working day, but when that comes about, you have to have to decide up the parts and retain heading.

For example, early on, I worked at a new startup during the dotcom crash, and we experienced to enable go of all our workers. It was just one of the toughest environments I have been in professionally, but I knew I couldn’t permit it quit me. When experiencing a setback keep in mind this: Get time to take it, assess what you’ve learned from it, and get clarity on how to go forward. 

3. Be confident in your adaptability

The most critical point to maintain in mind in your profession is that you happen to be hardly ever in fact starting from scratch, even if it feels like new territory. Emphasize your transferable techniques from earlier experiences, specially when interviewing, to demonstrate companies that you can very easily adapt to any get the job done setting. 

Be confident that you can master the specifics of a new marketplace reasonably immediately, also. The most difficult techniques to understand (and what using the services of supervisors are wanting for) will be the abilities you gained from previous endeavors — teamwork, problem-fixing, and efficient conversation. These are techniques that should be gained via trial and mistake, and they’re capabilities that have been key in my transition to the corporate environment. 

My last tips is this: You should not enable a four-yr diploma overshadow the biggest asset — lifestyle working experience.  My journey to CEO, as a female in business enterprise without a college or university degree, has been unpredictable and whole of twists and turns. However, I have been in a position to use my history and the classes I have learned together the way to shape myself into the business enterprise leader I’ve become right now. 

Megan Clarken is the CEO of Criteo. She earlier held quite a few senior positions at Nielsen which include main professional officer of Nielsen World Media, president of Observe, Nielsen’s Media Measurement products and services, and president of merchandise leadership. Prior to Nielsen, she held senior leadership positions for big publishers and on-line technological know-how vendors.