You might have heard that careers in management consulting and business are all about bossing people around, telling them what to do and how to do it. You might have heard that careers in administration involve taking minutes in meetings, filing documents, making databases look colourful and doing some receptionist work.
Well, to be honest, that’s not entirely true.
The terms ‘management consulting’, ‘business’ and ‘administration’ all seem like pretty generic terms. You think you want to work in one of these areas, but do you really know what it’s going to involve?
Before you make the decision to get into management consulting, business and administration, you should firstly discover what it’s really all about.
Career paths in management consulting, business, and administration
In order to operate effectively, every single company needs direction, organisation, strategy and innovation. Every company wants to grow, develop and contend with its competitors. Consequently, managers, administration staff and management consultants are all required to make sure things are done right.
Careers in management consultancy, business and administration span every single area of work. These types of professionals are needed in all kinds of organisations, from hospitals and banks to television companies and toy manufacturers.
Different approaches to management and administration are more effective in different situations. For instance, do you use ‘the carrot’ or ‘the stick’? Generally though, people who work in these fields will have an excellent mix of logic, strategic thinking, organisational skills and communication abilities.
What are the duties and responsibilities of a management consultant?
All businesses are run according to certain processes and strategies. Sometimes these become stale, redundant and ineffective – this is where management consultants come in. These guys are strategic gurus when it comes to making a business thrive. Companies employ management consultancy firms to analyse their current business processes and operations. The strategic consultants also assess current market trends and develop an understanding of what the company’s competitors are doing.
Following all this business analysis, they provide advice on how the company can improve their performance (i.e. the quality of their work), and propose solutions to enhance their productivity (the quantity of work they manage to achieve). Furthermore, they may also play an active role in the implementation of new projects and initiatives. Management consultants understandably need to be logical, flexible and have excellent analytical skills. Each project they work on is different, as well as seriously challenging. While this industry is a highly competitive one to break in to, once you have established yourself you are likely to do well financially.
What are the duties and responsibilities of a manager?
Companies can’t work purely under the supervision of management consultants. After all, these guys are analysts and advisors, not direct team leaders. Careers in management are thus essential for any company to stay on track. Managers provide authority, manage staff directly and drive projects forward. They make sure that all activities are planned and monitored, and they make key decisions about budgets, resources and deadlines.
A manager is not always the big cheese of the company. Indeed, managerial positions are available at a variety of different levels throughout many organisations: some manage individual projects, others manage a portfolio of different projects, some manage major programmes of work, and the real top dogs operate at a directorial level, managing the entire organisation. It’s pretty unlikely you will start off at this level though (unless you start your own business!).
What are the duties and responsibilities of office administrators?
People who work in administration roles may not be making big decisions in ivory towers, but without admin staff no business would be able to function. There are so many different administration roles available in a huge variety of companies, from personal assistants, secretaries and general office administrators to project support officers, programme management officers and project coordinators.
People don’t simply progress from admin roles to managerial roles. However, people can progress upwards through different stages in a purely administrative career. It may also surprise you to know that administration jobs can also pay rather well; especially if you progress and provide administrative expertise on major programmes of work.
So, whether you are looking for a place to start in the world of administration or fancy yourself a manager, there’s a whole host of different points of entry for everyone, from school leavers to graduates.