I Want to Work in … Management


What is management?

Management has been defined as “the process of planning, organising, co-ordinating and controlling resources”. This process is engaged in by most professionals in a diverse range of areas: just about any kind of organisation needs managers, from supermarkets to universities and from airlines to theatres.

What do managers do?

Managers have responsibility for, and control of, an organisation or (more often) an aspect of that organisation's work. Aspects of management include finance, sales, marketing, human resources, purchasing, logistics, strategic planning. All involve planning, directing, making decisions, problem-solving and taking responsibility.

What skills do managers need?

Managers need not only good organising and leadership skills but the ability to work with other people: to communicate, negotiate, motivate and persuade. These “other people” may be within your own organisation (above or below you in the organisational structure) or may be external – customers, suppliers, consultants, service providers, professional, Government and regulatory bodies, etc.

business functions Business Functions Map

Do I need a business degree?

Not usually - many organisations will recruit graduates of any subject into trainee management posts, although some organisations may prefer a business-related degree.

If you are studying another subject and want to take postgraduate course that will give you a general introduction to management, there are many available: click here for a list. However, do remember that these are not essential qualifications and that many employers will support your professional training and development through part-time study.

There are also more specialised postgraduate management courses, such as Human Resources and Marketing.

An MBA degree is often useful for a manager's career development, but is not an appropriate course for new graduates, as a few years work experience is normally required.

The story of the ant

Every day, an ant arrived at work early and started work immediately. She produced a lot and she was happy. The boss, a lion, was surprised to see that the ant was working without supervision. He thought if the ant can produce so much without supervision, wouldn’t she produce more if she had a supervisor.

So the lion recruited a cockroach who had extensive experience as a supervisor and who wrote excellent reports. The cockroach’s first decision was to set up a “clocking in” attendance system. He also needed a secretary to help him type his reports. He also recruited a spider to manage the archives and monitor phone calls.

The lion was delighted with the cockroach’s report and asked him to produce graphs to describe production rates and analyse trends to use for presentations at board meetings, so the cockroach had to buy a new computer and printer and recruit a fly to manage the IT department. The ant, who had been once so productive and relaxed, hated the plethora of paperwork and meetings which used up most of her time.

The lion came to the conclusion that it was high time to nominate a person in charge of the department where the ant worked. The position was given to the cicada whose first decision was to buy a carpet and an ergonomic chair for his office. The cicada also needed a computer and an assistant, who he had brought from his previous department, to help him prepare a work and budget control strategic optimisation plan.

The department where the ant works was now a sad place, where nobody laughed anymore and everybody had become upset. It was at that time the cicada convinced the boss to start a study of the working environment. Having reviewed the changes to the running the ant's department the lion found out that production was much lower than before, so he recruited the owl, a prestigious consultant to carry out an audit and suggest solutions. The owl spent 3 months in the department and came out with an enormous report that concluded that the department was overstaffed!

Guess who the lion fired? The ant of course.

How do I get into management?

Many students think that a “graduate training scheme” in a major blue-chip company is the only way into management – but this is only one of the possible routes and one which only around 20% of graduates will follow.

Other routes might be through:

A few employers run general training schemes, where graduates are rotated between different management functions, but more often you will need to decide which area of management interests you before applying.

Finding out more:

Some Kent graduates working in management – of all kinds!

These are just a few examples from the thousands of graduates on our alumni database who are listed as working in management

Last fully updated 2014