Thursday May 3, 2012
Choosing the right career path can be very difficult, especially for those that just dont know what they want to do even after university. As most university grads have not experienced the highs and lows of a specific industry or role, it is very hard to make a big decision as your career. I was lucky as I did not have to make that choice immediately thanks largely to being part of an entry-level management trainee programme.
I began my career as an intern in General Electric (GE). As a curious intern that was hell-bent on being successful and graduating from university soon, I started asking around on what the perfect starting job of my career should be. After speaking to a few people, I instantly realised that the best place to start would be to be part of an entry-level management training programme. I immediately interviewed and was surprisingly accepted into GEs prestigious management programme.
The next few years of my life was a roller-coaster where I endured significant pains and struggles coupled with intense learning and concentrated personal development. I spent two years as a management trainee working tirelessly balancing a job, studies and huge expectations. It was a tough period but as I look back, not only did I learn significantly, I transformed into a leader.
The best management training programmes enable participants to learn and grow in multiple ways. They are extremely intense in nature, forcing you to push beyond your limits. Generally, the best management programmes include the following items:
Rotations at various departments or business units having various rotations in HR, IT, Finance, Operations and other areas of the organisation enable you to learn the business, understand how things tick and build a strong network of friends across the business
Networking at all levels of the organisation - formal networking which includes mentorships with senior leaders are crucial for your growth and promotions in the future
Functional/technical skills training
Leadership development and training Everyone needs to learn and become a leader regardless of position
Project management skills
Management exposure You will have constant interaction and visibility with key leaders in the organisation
Constant feedback and appraisals Getting constructive feedback is critical to your personal development
Live Projects You have the opportunity to make a real difference in the organisation
Many companies and industries have differing entry-level management positions. The training can vary from company to company. Each company and industry has their own requirements. However, in general, they should all provide you with a number of diverse divisions or departments within a short time frame. This exposure drives your growth as the more experience you gain in different areas, the more holistic your development. So how do you decide on which company to work for?
My advice is to try to get a role with a company that has a sincere "Promote From Within" policy. From my experience designing, developing and implementing management training programmes in numerous organisations, the most successful programmes are those that hire smart, talented university graduates and grow them in the system. They nurture, develop and push these young grads to success by internally promoting them to challenging roles and enabling them to navigate through the organisations. Companies who have a genuine management trainee programme generally have its senior leadership highly involved in the programme
Management training programmes can accelerate you but you need to do your part. Some of the things you can do to further accelerate your career are the following:
Always go over and above your job duties. Strive for excellence in everything you do
Ask questions and never stop learning every day of your life.
Learn the business and find ways to improve the business, even if its small improvements.
Be proactive. Offer to take on extra projects if possible.
Always be willing to learn and learn from everyone you come in contact with
Develop genuine relationships with people you interact with regardless if its the CEO or the janitor.
Roshan Thiran is CEO of Leaderonomics and has been involved in management training programmes for more than 15 years. To explore leadership programmes for your university or organisation, email: email@example.com