Where do finance leaders come from? That's a reasonable question, but a look at the resumes of the promising younger executives on the 2005 Treasury & Risk Management/Citigroup 40 Under 40 list shows that they took many different routes to reach their current positions. The executives, all 39 or younger, have undergraduate degrees ranging from business administration, finance and accounting to chemistry, history and international relations. Some have graduate degrees, others don't. Some went straight into finance jobs at corporations, others started as accountants, in banking or as Wall Street analysts. Some spent time in operations, others have worked in finance throughout their careers.
The aspect that the Under 40 executives all share, and that sets them apart, is the projects they have undertaken and improvements they have put in place at their companies. A second common element is their enthusiasm for their work. As corporations scramble to stay abreast of a changing world, it is executives like these who will keep them competitive.