There are basically two ways to enter a career in management: By becoming a specialist in one of the cross-functional areas. By starting as a trainee in an organization that offers a career in management. This, however, usually requires some previous qualification or experience.
Policies on promotion and division of duties vary and designations might differ and sometimes overlap. With no clear-cut distinctions between levels of functioning, seniority is gauged by the amount and type of responsibility held and to whom the individual is accountable. Broadly, a career in management spans:
Fresh MBA graduate, usually recruited on-campus. Training varies from six months to two years. During this period trainees spend time in each department with the objective of learning the organization's specific mode of functioning.
On confirmation of service, new recruits are designated Junior or Assistant Managers/Executives. This is front line operations management, and junior managers are responsible for controlling the work of a number of people who are all doing the same thing-usually the activity in which the junior manager has received training.
Junior managers are required to organize the flow of work and sort out minor difficulties often including a subordinate's personal problems. This involves fairly monotonous, drudgework for the first two or three years. The most frequent job switches occur during this period sometimes for slightly better remuneration and at others, from sheer frustration or boredom.
This is not advisable as this period is very important to experience a first direct contact with the business environment. Besides this, most organizations have very specific methods of functioning and constant changes at this stage could prove detrimental to a career in the long run.
Appointments are to General Manager or Senior Manager/Executive. Middle level managers coordinate and implement company policy. This position spans a wide range of jobs and responsibilities. Middle managers supervise a number of junior managers doing different kinds of work.
Junior managers wanting to move up must therefore broaden their experience and move sideways before upwards. This is the widest segment in management, and the majority of managers remain at this level until they retire-gradually taking on responsibility for a wider range of activities or for bigger departments.
After gaining enough experience, usually around the age of forty, comes promotion to Senior Executive, Vice President, or Director. Senior level managers innovate and lead. They may plan far ahead and base planning and policy decision on information from specialist managers. The higher up the scale, the greater the creativity, imagination and understanding of economic and social trends and the operational environment required.
Senior managers also initiate change in the structure and direction of the organization. They are responsible for establishing effective lines of communication that make certain of transmission and understanding of policies down the line-and ensure that the implementation and effect of these policies is monitored.