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Traditionally the term 'management' refers to the activities (and often the group) of people involved in four general functions: planning, organising, leading and co-ordination of resources. The role of today's manager is one of change and development, forced through by more complex and competitive business sectors, the use of IT in business/e-commerce and increased demands from both workforce and consumers. The vast level of responsibility this type of role offers mean students consider pursuing a management graduate career.

There has never been a more exciting time to work in management. The increasing globalisation of business, the continuing Internet revolution, and the growth of many new industries means that a varied career, high status and possible fast-paced promotion are all on offer to today's graduates.

There are many different types of management, covering a whole range of industries and specialist functions. Management is about achieving goals, usually in co-operation with other people. Managers talk about objectives, teamwork, change, results and profitability. Any successful business requires its staff to get things done - that is why management covers so many different areas.

It is fair to say that management and administration go hand-in-hand. While some aspects of administration work may be unique to a particular organisation, it is possible to make some generalisations about the work which are true of most environments. Common elements are likely to include: servicing committees; planning and organising a service for professionals; collecting data providing information to form the basis of action within the organisation and to inform the world outside of the organisation.

Graduate management schemes or trainee manager roles could see you getting involved in directing staff members, meeting financial targets and planning and supervising projects right from the word go. Customer-facing sectors such as retail, retail banking and hospitality, as well as areas including logistics, construction and the public sector, offer the most graduate management opportunities.

Average Management Graduate Salary

Management Graduate Career Path

Today there are less general management schemes for graduates and this is because most organisations recruit into management or non-technical areas. Some of the bigger graduate recruiters will offer general management training schemes and these will involve rotational placements in all aspects of their business such as finance, human resources, IT, logistics, marketing or purchasing. In this way graduates can build up their experience and knowledge base before they decide which area they want to specialise in for their management graduate career.

Competition for places in certain schemes is great where the organisation has a well-known name or branded image. Smaller companies may not advertise their jobs or training opportunities to the same extent, but they have just as much to offer as multinationals do. Gaining any work experience which develops management skills will also improve your prospects. Carrying out short-term assignments for an employment agency, undertaking voluntary work, or carrying out an activity that demonstrates drive, initiative and teamwork skills can be a good way of starting a managerial career.

Working to senior management positions can be a gradual process. Your salary level will vary depending on the industry sector, level of responsibility and experience. Management salaries compare well against other industry sectors and work, and even within a single job function, can offer a wide variety of commercial experience. You will have to prove your skills as a potential manager over a period of time in order to compete with more experienced colleagues. However, employers are increasingly realising the importance of hiring and rewarding strategically minded managers with a cross section of well-honed business skills.

Administration jobs can provide a wide variety of commercial experience and can vary greatly from company to company. An administrator serves as a behind the scenes information provider. In some companies it is widely acknowledged that administrators are often among the people who know the most about the workings of a business. Many graduates’ opportunities can be found working as a PA (personal assistant). If you are looking at a route in to the music, publishing or media then this might be a viable option.

Administration work requires an efficient, methodical approach and the ability to manage time well. This is no career for the disorganised. There is some administrative work in the private sector, however the majority of posts carrying the title administration are to be found in the public sector. Here the resources come largely as a result of national and local taxation. There is a need to ensure that services operate within their budgets and that resources are well managed in those services which are controlled by the market place.

Since decisions tend to be made by people who do not necessarily have professional expertise (e.g. elected representatives), there is great emphasis on giving as much information as possible, usually in writing. In addition, because taxpayers' money is involved, there are rigorous procedures in place to ensure that it is accounted for. This may conceal the extent to which administrators are engaged in activities which in a different culture would be called management.

In terms of training, some administrators acquire a normal business qualification, MBA or DMS (Diploma in Management Studies). Alternatively, or additionally, administrators may acquire qualifications of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA).

Qualifications and Skills Needed

What proportion of candidates as a percent we place into Management graduate careers and the typical qualities graduate employers look for.

GRB Placements for Management by Degree

Typical Candidate Attributes

One advantage of choosing management as a career is that most companies will accept a good degree of any discipline. The type of person you are is much more important to the employer than the type of degree you possess. Many people aren't cut out for a role in management. You'll need to be a strong leader, be able to produce competent work, have entrepreneurial flair, possess good problem solving, analytical and forward planning skills as well as being resilient in the face of daunting challenges and tough setbacks.

Whatever the sector or function you choose, consider the some of the aspects to management:

  • Managing people 
  • Managing financial resources
  • Managing information

These different components are important in whatever area you decide to pursue a career in. Effective management is needed wherever things need to be done and getting things done requires a unique blend of skills. Good managers are able to see quickly what their priorities are and act on them accordingly. They inspire confidence and enthusiasm in others because of their good communication skills and they earn respect by consistently achieving their objectives.

If you are starting off in an administrative post you need to have an efficient, methodical approach and the ability to manage time well. It is vital to be able to summarize complex discussions in order to disseminate information accurately. Reports and recommendations may be read by senior management and shareholders/directors, so attention to detail and presentation is important. Graduates should be able to handle numerical data, have a well-developed sense of tact and diplomacy, and discretion when dealing with confidential information.

Sources of Further Information

Institute of Administrative Management
Chartered Management Institute
Association for Project Management
Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators
Project Management Institute
Institute of Leadership and Management