Professional development forms an essential part of any management career. Discover the range of management courses on offer to stay ahead of the game

Further study isn't always essential for career progression, but it does help you to develop crucial management skills. Discover the leadership courses, Masters programmes and other management qualifications on offer to help boost your prospects.

Management Masters

A large number of employers in the business sector accept graduates of any degree discipline, so postgraduate study isn't essential. However, it can improve your chances of employment in a competitive industry and increase your business knowledge, giving you an advantage over undergraduate candidates.

Postgraduate management courses are available at a variety of universities. You could study a general management course in order to keep your options open, such the MSc in Management at Queen's University Belfast, the MSc in International Management at the University of Bath, or the MSc in Business Management at the University of Hull.

Alternatively, if you'd like to study a particular area of management in greater depth you could choose a more specific course such as MSc Human Resource Management as offered by the University of Birmingham, Technology Management (University College London), Strategic Marketing (University of Surrey) or Media Management (University of Glasgow). 

Search for postgraduate courses in management studies

To fit your study around work commitments, most postgraduate management courses give you the option to study part time. Some employers may even support employees by granting time off to study or by paying course fees. This is called employer sponsorship.

You could also consider studying a management apprenticeship, where you'll gain a qualification up to Masters level while applying your learning on the job. Courses are offered in collaboration with employers and professional bodies, such as the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Find out more at business apprenticeships.

The Master of Business Administration (MBA), an advanced qualification designed for those with business experience, is also a popular choice for managers and business professionals who are looking to take their career to the next level. MBA courses are highly regarded by employers, but the cost and reputation of programmes can vary - so research your options carefully.

Leadership and management courses

Once you're in a job, obtaining additional professional qualifications can enhance the quality of your work. Leadership and management courses are a popular option, as they cover a lot of ground and the skills they provide can be used in a variety of roles.

According to the CMI, only one in five managers have recognised management qualifications, despite employers actively seeking candidates with these credentials. The good news is the CMI and ILM both offer qualifications and training in areas such as leadership and management, coaching and mentoring and business and enterprise.

CMI management courses span all stages of your career from Level 2 (first-time or junior managers) through to Level 8 (senior managers or directors). The coaching and mentoring programmes cover Levels 3 to 7. Qualifications are available at award, certificate and diploma level.

A similar qualification structure is available via the ILM. These qualifications cater to all levels of management from team leaders and junior managers, through to middle manager and senior manager level.

Awards are the shortest qualifications and usually take one to three months to complete, certificates take between three to six months and diplomas can last up to a year.

Management consulting

Progressing your career in management consulting involves completing a consulting graduate scheme or structured training programme if you're based in a large firm, or learning on the job in smaller consultancies. Wherever you're based, professional qualifications and training can be carried out while working - awards are offered by the Institute of Consulting (IC).

The IC provides Level 5 qualifications in Professional Consulting and Business Support for those at the start of their career. No experience is required and the qualifications can be studied at award, certificate and diploma level. The Level 7 award in Professional Consulting develops your skills and knowledge of management consultancy. You'll need a degree or at least five years' business experience to apply.

Becoming a member of a professional body such as the IC demonstrates your commitment to the profession and enables you to study for the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) qualification. You'll need at least three years professional experience and can study for the award at your own pace to fit around work commitments. To maintain your CMC status, you'll have to undergo a re-certification process every three years.

Learn more about becoming a management consultant.

IT consulting

Known as IT management if working in-house, and IT consulting if working for clients, graduates of any degree discipline can enter this profession. If your undergraduate qualification is in an unrelated subject, taking a postgraduate degree in IT or computing may increase your chances of finding work.

The BCS (The Chartered Institute for IT) also offers a range of IT management courses to help you climb the career ladder. Qualifications cover all stages of an IT consulting career from foundation to higher level.

Through the BCS you can study courses in IT Service and Asset Management, and Consultancy. Aimed at those in, or moving into, a consultancy role, the Consultancy Practitioner level certificate requires you to have a recognised qualification or at least three years' technical or business experience in your consultancy discipline. The BCS International Diploma in Consultancy is a higher-level qualification and is targeted towards business or technical specialists.

Gain an insight into the role of an IT consultant and find out more about IT training.

Marketing management

If your interest lies in marketing you can move into this area of management with a business-related degree, but bear in mind that this isn't an entry-level role. To become a marketing manager you'll usually need three to five years' experience in a marketing or business role.

A marketing-based Masters may help if your undergraduate degree was in an unrelated subject. Search postgraduate courses in marketing management.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) also offers a helping hand to those trying to break in to, and those already working in, the marketing management field. Their range of professional qualifications span from Level 3 (Foundation Certificate in Professional Marketing - aimed at all those starting out in a marketing career) to Level 7 (Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Marketing and the CMI Marketing Leadership Programme - both targeted at experienced marketers and senior business people who aspire to work in marketing management).

The CIM also provides a variety of individual and in-house training courses.

Human resource (HR) management

It's possible to move into HR with a business or management-related degree. Human resource management Masters degrees are available and may help you secure a job if your undergraduate study is unrelated. Search for postgraduate courses in human resource management.

You can enter HR without professional qualifications but for middle and high-level posts, especially management, many employers prefer you to hold a professional qualification from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Available in award, certificate and diploma form, CIPD qualifications cover foundation Level 3 (introductory), intermediate Level 5 (undergraduate) and advanced Level 7 (postgraduate). Intermediate and advanced qualifications are for aspiring and experienced HR managers and aim to expand your knowledge, skills and experience and to provide a pathway to chartered membership status.

Specialist and short training courses run by CIPD are also available and cover leadership, management and business skills, learning and development, employment law and employee regulations.

Risk management

If you're passionate about entering the risk profession but didn't study the subject at undergraduate level you could consider a Masters qualification to increase your chances of success. Search for postgraduate courses in risk management.

If you decide to forgo a Masters, graduates of non-relevant degrees can still achieve an entry-level role by studying for the Institute of Risk Management's (IRM) International Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management - an introductory, distance-learning qualification perfect for candidates at the beginning of their risk career. No previous experience or qualifications are necessary, and the certificate usually takes five to ten months to complete.

Graduates of a relevant degree can study for the International Diploma in Enterprise Risk Management - a postgraduate-level qualification for risk professionals. Undertaken via distance learning, the diploma takes three years to complete. The first two modules lead to the International Certificate, which you must complete before moving on to modules three to six.

The Digital Risk Management Certificate brings risk management into the present day, equipping students with the tools and understanding to manage risk in an increasingly digital world. The course takes six to nine months to complete and provides a detailed introduction to cyber security principles and practices. You don't need any prior qualifications to apply.

If you have your sights set on the financial sector, the IRM caters for you too with the International Certificate in Financial Services Risk Management.

Learn more about the role of a risk manager.

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