When Betting on a Struggling Company Is a Great Career Move

Gregory S. Carpenter

In early 2003, McDonald’s (MCD) looked, from the outside, like the kind of company an ambitious executive should avoid. The fast-food giant had just booked its first quarterly loss since the 1960s. Comparable store sales had declined for two years. Customer satisfaction was low. McDonald’s stock was tanking as the markets rallied.

If things were so bad, why did Eric Leininger take a job with McDonald’s rather than pursue one of the many opportunities regularly presented to him as a senior vice president at Kraft Foods (KRFT)?

Because the opportunity was exactly right.

Moving from an established organization to a struggling business is not an obvious career move. It may seem crazy—something your school’s career office would never advise. Newly minted MBAs and seasoned executives alike look for companies with stability and growth. It’s only logical.

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