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What is General Management? Why is it so Sought After?

As the name suggests, a career in General Management is a part of business routine and involves taking care of managerial activities of the business unit. Instead of being responsible solely for one type of duty, General Management requires working on a wide range of activities; in a way, taking care of matter on the ground level – each day, every day.

A General Manager would consider all the issues that require a managerial jurisdiction, starting from the bottom to the top. General Managers pose as personnel with understanding and knowledge of detailed business strategy and referable expertise and analytical ability to juggle various bowls of duties. Not only do General Managers maintain a managerial order at their workplace, but they also get themselves involved in achieving business outputs and succeeding in global market place.

General Managers provide a direction to the business, are a part of an organization’s internal squad functionality, and team up with the staff and the senior management to attain overall progressive goals for the business. Therefore, as one can say that not only are there a number of duties, but there are also multitude of roles to be delivered. A General Manager plays part of the planner and implementer, delegates work, recruits and takes care of the development and motivation of teams, works on the customer and employee relations, manages finances, and makes business objectives, along with other integrities of a business module.

Resultantly, a career in General Management is professionally consuming, but, at the same time, provides massive learning experience and social opportunities for ambitious individuals.

Qualification Needed for a Career in General Management
There is little that can be called as standard qualification for General Management. Being generic in nature, there cannot be a greater qualification than being able to take decisions on a logical basis and ensuring that the decisions are followed through. As simple as it may seem to visualize, getting things done on the groups require a great amount of skills. However, in terms of qualifications, there are no prerequisites. An MBA, however, can boost one’s chances of getting into General Management.

Skills Needed for a Career in General Management
The duties of a General Manager are spread across length and breadth of the firm that they are part of. Because of these voluminous responsibilities, the skills required are holistic and competitive to match the global managerial standard.

To make sure that all the tasks are carried out in a close knit environment, and without any friction, a Manager must have excellent communication skills. More so, in the position of a General Manager, where the compass of concern is wider, the value of effective communication is invaluable. A General Manager productively communicates across the horizontals and verticals of an organization. Under the banner of communication skills, a General Manager must also have capable Listening and Technological skills. Since there is a lot of to-and-fro communication involved, a Manager has to spend good amount of time in receiving the information provided by other members of the organization. He must also possess good technological skills to make sure that there is a positive circulation of the necessary information through the means of technology.

Further, coexistent of Leadership and Persuasion skills is a sought after quality for General Management. Leadership skills are required to get ideas implemented, while persuasion skills make one’s employees and management believe in one’s managerial abilities. Along with that, a General Manager will have projects to handle and accounts to maintain and recourses to manage. Therefore, knowledge of Finance, Accounts, Project Management and Resource Management are all important assets.

Hierarchy of a Career in General Management
One is likely to find that most summer internships offered by large organizations are function-specific and will generally allow one to ‘try out’ areas such as Purchasing, Production, Marketing, Sales, Business Development, and Finance. If one decides to pursue General Management after graduation, the experience one has gained will be valuable, and employers are increasingly using their summer internship programme to feed into their graduate recruitment schemes.

General Management Executives can be found in every industry and organization, from public held companies to non-profit governmental agencies. Before entering management, would-be executive first need to prove themselves in their core industries. Usually, they work for a time period as operation managers, and then slowly work their way up the corporate ladder. Executives can expect to be in the spotlight most of the time. Every decision they make and every policy they set is subject to scrutiny by those around them.

However, there is no typical path into senior management. Some executives work for a single company for their entire career; others have other careers before becoming executives in industry. In general, though, they must have significant experience in industry and management. An MBA or other advanced degree from an Ivy League or top-ten school is a fairly typical pedigree for those who end up in these positions at Fortune 500 companies.

Pros of a Career in General Management
To be a General Manager is not easy; the pressure is tremendous and the to-do list is never ending. Therefore, to keep this pressure on one’s shoulder and yet perform well as a General Manager, what acts as a pleasant compensation is an attractive salary along with other perks such as Health care, vacation allocation, discounts, and bonuses.

Because of the wide nature of responsibilities in this career, a General Manager will have various opportunities to make crucial decision for their business. This will familiarize with the practicality of Management, and with more scope of responsibilities, the practical scope of learning will be immense. As a General Manager, one will get opportunities to do such multitude of activities at work – from managing your human resources, to hiring and firing, All these experiences are easily transferrable to other career lines. General Management could also be the platform where one can decide if they want to specialize and enter into a more defined role of management.

Cons of a Career in General Management
A huge part of being a general manager involved making tough decisions on daily basis. One may face challenges while dealing with team, clients, senior managers, or even colleagues. Hiring and firing is part and parcel of the role and one must not be bogged down by emotions. Most often, decisions taken my General Managers are not liked by many! It takes a lot of courage to take and stand by the decision. Thus, the career is not well suited for people who do not have a thick skin and find it challenging to deal with people.

Also, the spectrum of challenge a General Manager faces ranges from employees demanding for higher wages to management asking for cost cutting on immediate basis. There is no respite for a General Manager from such balancing challenges on a daily basis. Certainly, without a decisive mindset, General Managers cannot perform their task effectively. The stress can be overwhelming at times, making it a mistfit for many.

Who is a Career in General Management good for?
If one has the ability to work under stress and is equipped with effective communication skills to resolve conflicts among employees and guide them to perform productively towards the goals of the organization, then one is deemed fit for the job!

Best Companies for a Career in General Management

  • P&G
  • General Electric
  • IBM
  • Dow Chemical
  • Verizon Communications
  • Caterpillar
  • Hitachi Data Systems
  • The Boeing Company
  • 3M
  • PepsiCo