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Postgraduate (MSc, MA, MBA and PhD) Programs in Management

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A century ago, management was considered a subject relevant to business and non-business concerns (such as governmental units). Then, it became largely the province of business, to the impoverishment of business (which could have benefited from the learning available via non-business organisations) and of non-business concerns (which could have benefited from the lessons of business). In recent years, the pendulum has swung back and management is considered highly relevant to all sorts of organisations.

Management of people, projects, budgets, relationships, and so on is what managers do. It may be a bit fancy to describe people in their early 20s, most without people reporting to them or budgets to spend, as managers. But many are on their way to becoming managers. And many choose to start their managerial careers – whether in the private or public sectors – by doing a Masters in Management degree. Rather than wait to get the experience necessary to qualify for an MBA, they opt for a masters degree that they can do straight from university.

Management trends

Numerous substantial trends continue to drive this field, including:
• Fewer mentors available to young managers, given the increasingly lean organisational structures.
• Greater economic pressure on many businesses (due to given increased competition).
• Increased governmental regulation and scrutiny.
• Changing organisational forms.
• Changing technology, including information technology
• More rapid obsolescence of products and services.
• Greater internationalisation of operations and financing.
• Greater diversity of the workforce.
• More linkages across organisations – and thus a greater need to co-ordinate activities with those over whom one has no control.

Masters degrees in management are somewhat similar to MBA degrees insofar as they are generalist management degrees. The major difference, of course, is that most MBA programs require at least several years of relevant experience, whereas the Masters in Management is decidedly a pre-experience degree. Given that the Masters in Management is a derivative of the MBA – a US creation – it is perhaps surprising that only a handful of the better American universities offer the pre-experience Masters in Management. The traditional American emphasis upon MBA programs (which are managerial in their focus) means that most Americans aiming at a general management education will opt to wait until they can get into an MBA program rather than attend a pre-experience general management program. As a result, the strongest general management programs – at the pre-experience level – are to be found elsewhere.

Most programs are one year in length, but some are two years long. Some programs are lockstep in nature: all students take the same courses, largely on the assumption that inexperienced students need the same foundational courses in order to achieve the appropriate blend of breadth and depth. Other programmes offer substantial choice of electives/specialised courses. For example, students enrolled on the MSc in Management at a London-based business school follow one of five specialist paths, ranging from the standard (marketing, management) to the exotic (film business). Thus, some courses are designed to produce generalists, others to produce specialists. Many, of course, split the difference, offering students the choice of whether or not to specialise.

Most Masters in Management courses are open to graduates of any field. A few, however, are open only to those who have not done a prior business or management degree. Some require quantitative competence (especially statistics), but this is generally limited to those intending to pursue quantitative electives/specialised courses in fields such as finance.

Many programs also look for:

• Basic internet and business application software skills
• Introductory accounting coursework
• Demonstrated leadership performance

Find postgraduate programs in LEADERSHIP

MBA in Management

Studying an MBA in Management is the ideal choice for those wishing to get ahead in business – particularly senior personnel and executives both in the private and public sectors. It is an area of business that is growing in importance especially when viewed hand in hand with the increase in entrepreneurs – and the management skills that they require.

Bangor Business School at Bangor University offers an MBA in Management which is a one-year MBA program which focuses on developing the students’ managerial and academic skills in areas including organisational behaviour, marketing strategy, e-business and new venture creation. This compulsory modules on this MBA program include Organisations and People; International Strategic Management; Marketing Strategy; and Management Research. Some of the optional areas of study include: Knowledge Management; Contemporary Issues in Management; International Financial Management; and Public Sector Management.

PhD in Management

By studying a PhD in Management you will be able to become an expert in this area of business and conduct unique research into your particular area of interest.

The University of Leicester offers a PhD in Management as both an on campus and online option. It can be studied full time over 3-4 years or part time or via distance learning over 4-7 years. Areas of academic expertise include: Organisation Theory; Business Ethics; Marketing and Consumption; Accounting and Finance; Political Economy; and Human Resource Management.

Lancaster University Management School’s PhD in Management gives students the chance to study a cross-disciplinary PhD by undertaking research in LUMS’s different departments. Lancaster’s PhD in Management can be studied either full time or part time – with part time students expected to attend supervisions at least once a term.

Career opportunities

Those who do management (ie generalist) degrees may or may not choose to specialise in a given sector or function. Those who do specialise, naturally enough, almost invariably start their careers in their chosen field. Those who remain generalists, on the other hand, often face more difficulty in finding their first post-degree job. In either case, however, those who pursue management degrees generally have a great desire to be in charge of activities. As a result, they tend to aim to get to the top of whatever organisation they join.

Those who ache to be atop an organisation find the going difficult in their early 20s. They may want to be in charge, but they lack the knowledge, skills, and track record to be given control of much. Consequently, they tend to opt for roles where they can be their own boss, even if they are not in charge of much other than themselves. Consulting is the archetypal field for them, because even young consultants are often given a substantial amount of freedom to determine how to get assignments done. The other option is to choose a field such as marketing, where young assistant brand managers may be put in charge of a brand (albeit probably a very minor one).

Typical management job titles

• Management trainee
• Consultant
• Project manager
• Account manager
• Assistant brand manager

And see the typical job titles in the fields of interest to you, given that managers generally start their careers not as managers but as more junior employees in marketing, finance, operations, and so on.

Professional associations (UK and US)

Chartered Management Institute (UK)
American Management Association

Introductory readings

To prepare for the core courses in accounting, finance, marketing, and the like, candidates are advised to consult the suggested readings in the relevant sections of this website. To learn more about the daily life of a manager, consult Henry Mintzberg, The Nature of Managerial Work (Prentice Hall), which contrasts the myths and realities of managerial work to great effect. Peter F Drucker’s The Practice of Management (HarperBusiness), on the other hand, provides a thorough introduction to key managerial practices – setting objectives, organising, motivating and communicating, measuring, and developing people. Despite being more than 50 years old, it remains both highly readable and highly relevant. 


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