How Taking a Management Course Can Improve Your Career

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

students taking a management course

Everyone dreams of achieving the best in their career, and everyone tries to do this in their own way. How successful they are going to be in this goal largely depends on their interests, abilities, career aspirations and how far they are willing to go to discover their full potential.

But nearly any path you follow is bound to lead to something greater, even if it means that you have to struggle a bit first to find exactly what it is that you are looking for. A decision to go into a particular field (or role) such as management, for example, is a wise move if you are planning to use this knowledge to achieve future career goals that lead to self-actualisation.

For me, it was a natural progression as I climbed the career ladder. I accumulated more responsibility in each job role of mine which lead me to growing into a manager.

Looking back, however, it would have been beneficial to study management as it could have accelerated my career by adding further professional experience and expertise.

Let's take a look at what is on offer.

What is management?

Being able to manage situations is a skill that is valuable, though not known to many. Strictly speaking, management refers to ‘the process of dealing with or controlling things or people’, but there are many ways to approach the idea of management. For example, you can think of management as a process, activity, discipline, science, form of art or even a profession.

Management is an activity – or better yet: a skill – it can make you a better professional in your field, no matter what you specialise in. MSG says that as an activity, management covers three main areas. These are:

  • Informational activities: Receiving and giving information orally or in written form, and maintaining communication to keep an enterprise running
  • Decisional activities: Getting involved in decisions of different kinds since the decision made by one manager becomes the basis for action to be taken by other managers.
  • Interpersonal activities: Interacting with superiors and those in positions of the lower-hierarchy and maintaining good relations with them.

Perhaps ‘management’ becomes more relevant and easily understood when looking through the lens of a manager. Whether you're managing an in-house or a virtual team, your goal is to accomplish set business targets by giving specific directions to a group of people who are ready and willing to execute your orders. But management is not limited to that. As the definition above explains, apart from the exchange of information, there is also a decision-making stage involved in the process, continuous support, communication and guidance.

Being a good manager is important because this serves as the foundation for building and maintaining an effective team. To a large degree, this is also what makes a department or a company successful.

What are the advantages?

Apart from driving collective success, management also brings some excellent results on an individual level. In fact, management serves as an umbrella term to other equally important abilities that can make you a better professional. These include:

Organisational skills: Putting things in order, organising the department, implementing processes and guiding everyone on what needs to be done.

Time management: Setting effective deadlines, prioritising tasks, time spent on research and projects so that goals can be achieved in the desired time.

Relationship-building skills: Working closely with people, providing feedback, keeping them motivated, being responsible for hiring and firing, listening to what they have to say and offering them on-going support.

Delegation: Assigning work to people, explaining how work should be carried out and sharing responsibility and accountability.

Forward-planning: Assessing the team’s capabilities, coming up with a vision, a goal and a mission to work towards. Planning ahead is an important drive to setting personal and group objectives as it facilitates development.

Communication: Keeping everyone in the team informed of what is going on, at each stage and process of the delivery of a project, being the main point of contact between senior management and employees.

Problem-solving: Taking the time to think through different possibilities, comparing results, making appropriate use of resources and talent.

Administrative and financial skills: Setting budgets, revising available stock, writing reports and improving numeracy, literacy and computer literacy skills.

Leadership: Being a good manager means being a good leader and persuading others to follow the direction you want to go in.

After assessing the advantages, you can see that management is not a single skill but rather a group of skills that you can work on and become better at what you do. All of these leadership qualities can be found in management and are essential for the modern 21st Century worker. So, why not invest in it?

Ideally, management is for you if you are interested in:

  • Implementing your vision or strategy for an organisation
  • Being a leader instead of a follower
  • Having more control over your schedule
  • Assigning tasks to others rather than being the one doing them

Once you gain management skills and experience, you can easily use this knowledge when changing careers. With a management background, you also have the potential to get a higher position in a company and earn more money.

When should you take a management course?

If you want to open your own business, get a promotion or just want to improve your skills, then you should probably consider taking a management course.

There is no right or wrong time to enrol in a management course because who knows when it’s time to take your knowledge to the next level. Some people know from the outset that they want to become entrepreneurs and own a business at some point, which automatically puts them in the position of needing to acquire stronger management skills. The majority who continue to a management course or MBA have also studied business and management or a related field (eg: marketing, accounting, finance or human resources).

But that doesn’t mean that management isn’t relevant to those outside of these fields. Gaining additional business knowledge through a management course has nothing to do with what you have studied as your Bachelor’s degree. So what if you studied fine art, computer science or psychology? You can still become a manager in your own field of studies once you get into the corporate world or decide to go freelance.

What courses are available?

The good news is that there are many ways to improve your management skills. Some classes can help you improve your leadership skills and other abilities that involve management, such as delegating, organising, project management, interacting and effectively communicating with the rest of the team. With the web, the possibilities today are endless, since you have the option to take online classes, attend seminars or participate in webinars to improve your management skills. This can easily be done through distant learning or joining management courses offered by organisations in your own area of interest.

Many employers hold presentations, conferences and seminars for those who are interested in taking their career to the next level, and if you are serious about this, you could be looking out for something like this. Alternatively, you can check out what educational institutes specialising in management, such as the Open School of Management, are offering. Perhaps getting certified in general management, human resource management or marketing is exactly what you need to advance in your career.

As you can see, there are many ways you can use management to advance your career. And it gives you greater control over your career trajectory as you get a clearer direction of where you want to go. So, if you are dreaming of managing your own business or climbing higher up the professional ladder, it might be worth looking into management training.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below!