Does Management Training Still Exist?

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Once upon a time large corporations visited college campuses to recruit seniors for “management training” programs. For some seniors, the training program solved the problem of “I don’t know exactly what I want to do, but this will be a way to get me started in the real world.” Companies like IBM, Procter & Gamble, Accenture and many others were leaders in management training. At the end of the program the trainees had a good grasp of what it took to be successful and were on their respective ways. The management training programs took ambitious people, regardless of their majors.

In those same times, ads were plentiful in classified sections seeking management trainees. If you missed the on campus recruiters you could look in the classifieds of the New York Times and declare how eager you were to learn and land a spot in the management trainee program at an advertising firm or PR agency.

Companies would not only hire accountants to be accountants; these companies would hire English majors and marketing majors as well as most other majors to learn their business from the ground up. It was a place to jump in the water over your head to see what you can do and what you like. Those days are mostly over.

But there are still companies who believe in “the best available athlete” mentality and management training.   That is, some companies will take someone with the right attitude and a willingness to learn can develop into a leader and make the business better. There are just not as many.

The biggest entry-level employer for 2017 is Enterprise Rent-A-Car  This year alone, the company plans to hire 9,500 college graduates into its management training program.

Any college president wants the graduates to grow professionally, find a rewarding career and be personally satisfied regardless of the employer. Most importantly, for graduates to have a smooth transition from the brutal transition from college to the real world. Management training programs can do just that.

Here are a few things I know about the best management trainee programs:

  1. They’re not elitist – Enthusiasm, performance and motivation are valued more than where you went to college. You don’t have to have an MBA or a computer science degree to excel. The best ones and the big ones hire students from all majors. (English majors of the world rejoice!)
  2. They offer the chance to go from entry-level to CEO – They give people a chance to prove themselves and grow their careers without leaving.  If he CEO started out as a management trainee, that’s a good program.
  3. They allow risk taking accountability. – The best ones give the trainees real responsibility from day one, and the freedom to show what they can do.
  4. They provide a clear path forward – Every trainee is given a “roadmap” – a set of skills they’re expected to master within a certain timeframe. Not only does it help promote accountability, it also helps trainees continue to meet new career goals.
  5. They show a team matters – When coworkers are invested in helping each other succeed, everyone succeeds. If a manager is measured on his or her ability to retain and develop employees, that’s a good training program.
  6. They measure progress and reward it fast – Promotions should be based on performance, not tenure.

One of the most heavily searched words on all the career and job sites is “management trainee”.  If you go that route, look at the actual program and path forward.

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