So, you want to be a Manager? Great, you are in the era of entrepreneur, there is always a need for bright, educated, talented managers in every field. But, before you decide to get into it , it is imperative for you know the details and intricacy of this career. Many students choose this career just looking at the flexibility and high profile placement, others leave it thinking they do not wish to be here as everybody is running after management career. Ironically both the reasons are superfluous. Targets, performance, merit, power, status, money and all that Jazz is the glamorous part of a manager’s life. A deeper peep into this profession will tell you that while there are some things about management that appeal to you, there are definitely other things that will not. You have to weigh all the factors and decide. And your suitability for the career should be your important reason for your decision making process.
A manager is known for his ability to work under pressure and amidst a crisis, no matter what the problem may be. Management as a career can propose challenges if, you cannot manage stress as you have to go through tremendous performance pressures with limited resources. Manager has to take many important decisions that have a bearing on their performance and the performance of the organization that they work for. In addition you need to use analytical skills and must also be quick at taking decisions whenever required. Managers have to perform many activities in a day’s time. Motivating people, getting them to deliver the right kind of work at the right time, making sure that all the deadlines are met etc. There are chances that they get baffled and loses control over the situation. Therefore time management should be a manager’s forte. A human may or may not be a social animal but a manager definitely has to be one. Managers have to realize that their employees are their best resources and have to constantly work on this resource to make it better so that they remain productive for them.
What is Management?
Visualize yourself as a manager. Do you see yourself sitting in an air-conditioned office, handing out instructions, telling people what to do? Well, you are partly right. For, a manager has a far more demanding and exciting role to play. A manager is no longer confined to the four walls of his air-conditioned office, he has to chalk out business plans and execute it. A manager is right in the thick of every operation and every aspect of a business — from manufacturing a product and selling it, to ensuring customer satisfaction.
Management refers to the individuals who develop the idea and make it tread a careful path, with a properly developed strategy to co-ordinate efforts and undertake optimum utilisation of resources, both human and otherwise. It is a Social Science, where you’re trained to develop leadership and specialise in social organisation. Ranging from the C.E.O of a company to the lower level project supervisor, management is the key aspect needed.
Remember having seen the newspaper articles where students grab a package of Rs.1 Crore+? This did not just come to them because they completed an MBA from an elite institution. It came to them because they choose best suited course, utilised their time in that institution with hard work and dedication. Even if you do not land up with such extravagant pay packages initially, you’ll eventually reach there in a year or two. The most common mistake students make, after getting into an institution of their choice, is thinking that now everything is set for them. They have achieved everything, whereas it is just the beginning. This is a field where the companies are willing to pay up, provided they see the potential and the effort in you.
Which area should I choose?
Before starting your course you need to think and choose right branch., as most of the time you cannot change you branch in the middle of the course.
So, how do you decide? Practically there is no superior or inferior to any other branch, you have to keep your interest, your suitability and sometime the institute reputation for the branch. For example some are known for a particular branch, say Marketing or Finance and some may be known for Human Resource. Most importantly you must know what is taught in the course, your comfort level, how you will be functioning you become the manager in that branch of course and some idea about the scope of the specialization.
What are the different functions?
There are too many products in the market. For example, in the toothpaste market, there is Closeup, Colgate, Pepsodent, Meswak, and many more. But why does someone buy only Colgate and not Closeup. What is the guiding factor for a buyer. Why does he trust one toothpaste more than the other. Who finds out his needs and perceives the product so that the buyer likes the product. Why is the wrapper of Cadburys chocolate purple and golden, why is it not red in colour. Who is responsible for the great advertisements that make the product more attractive, likeable and sellable. This is where the role of a marketer is. Marketers find the need of the product and if there is no need then they create the need for that product by showing its usefulness of the product.
Everybody who works for the company gets a salary for the services that he/she renders to the company. Just as people need money to sustain their lives, likewise the company not only needs the money but also has to manage the money so that it can go beyond and become bigger. The people who manage the money, invest it the right way so that the company can make the best use of its funds, are the Finance Managers.
Human Resources Management
Who thinks of the product, designs it, makes it, stores it, sells it, manages the money that comes from its sale. It is the PEOPLE of the organisation that do all of this. The important question is that who takes care of these people. Who takes care of their problems? If these people are not happy with their wok, they will not perform well and the company will suffer. It is the job of the Human Resource Manager to take care of the people in the organization.
Someone have thought about the product. Someone also have perceived it in their mind. But how will one makes it? What is the best way of manufacturing the product? What are the different ingredients required to make the product? How do you ensure the best quality of the product! It is one thing to perceive in the mind and it is a very different task to give physical shape to it. To give this physical shape is the task of a Production Manager.
When the product is ready from the factory, the important thing is where and how it will be stored before it reaches the shop, how it remains in great shape and does not get spoilt. How do one makes sure that it takes minimum time and minimum cost for the entire process. Well! This is the job of a Materials Manager.
How you get the Management Education
One may choose to start working after having pursued a degree at the Under-Graduate level, or go for the Post Graduate Programmes (PGP) and Doctorates in the field.
At the UG level, the most common and sought after program is the Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) or BBA( Bachelor of Business Administration, which consists of courses such as Marketing, Finance and Accounting. Specialised degrees in Business and Public administration are offered as well. People going into jobs immediately after getting their Bachelor’s typically work as Accountants, Consultants, HR, BPO, Bankers etc.
People aiming at careers as managers or executives pursue a PGP- Master of Business Administration (MBA) is the most sought after program. Then the main aim becomes to opt for specialisation of their choice in Management. These include Business Organisation, International Relations, Human Resources, Corporate Finance etc.
People pursuing Doctorates generally go into the Research field.
There is no particular eligibility criterion for pursuing a Bachelor’s degree, with just the minimal 12th grade passing or its equivalent. A Bachelor’s degree is required to pursue a PGP, with most colleges requiring a 50% aggregate. A PhD lists a Master’s/ Integrated Master’s as a pre-requisite.
The entrance examinations are:
Bachelor programmes: Although admissions to Bachelor programmes are based on Class 12 percentage, some of the university/Institute do conduct common entrance test. Foreign universities use the SAT score as a measure, adding points for co-curricular and recommendation letters as well.
For Master’s: Common Aptitude Test (CAT), the most popular entrance exam, whose percentile is considered for admission to the prestigious IIMs and many other elite institutes like FMS Delhi.
GMAT: IIMs (A,B,C,L, Indore), IITs, NIFT, MDI, FMS to name the top ones. GMAT scores, like CAT, are widely acceptable. GMAT is also the basis for admission to top B-Schools in the world, such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Wharton.
XAT, for admission to XLRI, Xavier School of Management.
IBSAT: ICFAI Business School Hyderabad
Other popular entrance exams are IIFT Entrance, ATMA, MAH (for Maharashtra), NMAT.
But getting a good score in the examinations isn’t enough to get into your dream B-School. You must have certain internship experiences, be involved in Extra-curricular and have a good academic and social college life. What they try to gauge is your personality, and not just your ability to crunch numbers or rote learn facts.
Pursuing Management opens up a huge number of career paths. According to Professor Aasheerwad Dwivedi, who teaches Economics to students of S.R.C.C. ,Delhi University, the most common mistake students make after their completing their Bachelor’s, is following the herd without realising their own interests. An MBA is what everyone wants to pursue, whereas one must pursue his interests. Chartered Accountant (CA), Tax Consultant, Certified Management Accountant (CMA) are some of the very underrated professions. After pursuing the coveted MBA, there are multiple things one could do. Freelance for various giants in the Industry, be an Analyst, be the person in-charge of employment as an HR Manager, Be an IT or Finance Manager. There are hundreds of options to choose from, what you need to do is figure out where your interest lies.
What you must not run after is the ‘popular jobs’. Take up your interest. Because 10 years down the line, the popular job may or may not have elevated you to the top, but the same time in a field that you enjoy working in, would have propelled you to unlimited success.
As for the top institutions, Delhi University colleges stand out among the rest, for a Bachelor’s degree. But they have tough competition in the form of elite colleges like Loyola (Chennai), St. Xavier’s and HR in Mumbai, and Symbiosis College of Arts & Commerce (SCAC), Pune.
The field of PG and Doctorate programmes is outwardly dominated by the IIMs. FMS, XLRI, ISB and NIFT are the other top ones.
Regarding colleges abroad, the aforementioned Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Yale, Columbia, Pennsylvania University, NYU, London Business School, Hass and UCLA are supposed to be amongst the best in the world.
An article by Barry Moltz, an American Author, member of Entrepreneurship Hall of fame and a professor at Illinois, describing Steve Jobs’ unique style of management and how it was the chief factor in his success. What he’s trying to say here is that one must follow his/her instinct. You might fail, but you’ll learn from that as well. Following tradition like everyone does, wouldn’t make you extraordinary. Link: Steve Jobs' Style: Everything We Know About Managing Is Wrong | OPEN Forum
If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some TED talks about leadership and Management: http://www.topmanagementdegrees.com/top-ted-talks-on-management/
For more information on how the corporate management world works, one could refer to ‘Wall Street Journal’s Essential Guide for Management’. Link: http://guides.wsj.com/management/
Dr. Itishree Misra is a Clinical Psychologist and a Career Counselor. She has close to 2 decades of experience in academia and industry. Dr. Misra has been recognized widely for her work in the field for education and psychometrics. She can be reached at email@example.com