Yes, it is hard to be an account executive. To become an account executive requires some educational credentials and work experience. More importantly, an account executive is expected to have exceptional communication skills, a large social network, and a drive to stay relevant and up-to-date on the latest trends.
To become an account executive requires nothing more than a high school diploma and a willingness to learn. However, over 70% of account executives do have a bachelor's degree. Interestingly, only 7% of account executives have a master's degree.
Overall, on-the-job experience and good sales abilities hold more weight relative to having a graduate degree or MBA. Consistent with this, over 90% of recently hired account executives already had several years of work experience in their industry.
Most account executive roles require at least three years of experience in sales before being eligible for a position as an account executive.
Account executives come from a wide range of backgrounds (e.g., sales, advertising, marketing, finance) but at the end of the day, they are really just glorified salespeople -- A salesperson who spends a great deal of time building and maintaining client relationships (e.g., branding) in order to sell their company product or services.
Account executives usually work outside of the standard 9-to-5 hours; they often start work early and are "on-call" until late / weekends. There is a lot of variety in the day-to-day activities of an account executive relative to their client's needs at that particular moment.
Many account executives develop intimate relationships with their clients (e.g., calls after business hours and on weekends). The time and nature of client demand only increase as account executives progress in their roles and gain more prestigious clients.
It is typical for account executives to routinely attend management training courses and sit in on sales calls to better understand the business. Account executives also are expected to understand sales, social networking, project management, negotiations, and cold calls.