In the cut-throat world of business, managers need to ask themselves: What can I do to get the edge? Is it possible to fast-track my transition to senior management?
For the past 30 years, the sought-after Management Advancement Programme (MAP) at Wits Business School (WBS) has provided a platform for thousands of managers to advance their careers to senior level. In the knowledge economy, MAP recognises that effective and confident business leaders require a solid foundation in all aspects of business, as well as the ability to apply learnt skills to their own work scenarios.
In 2011, MAP marked its 100th intake since it started in 1979, and it is still going strong. In fact, enrolments for MAP have grown exponentially because of its solid reputation, and there is not a corner in the world where you will not bump into a WBS MAP graduate.
Because MAP is designed to accelerate the careers of established managers, it targets those who have at least four to five years of functional managerial experience, but are lacking in general business knowledge. An example is a person with a BSc Engineering, but no business qualification. Graduates of MAP emerge with a wider perspective on the various functions of a business, and therefore more confident in their decision-making skills.
“The beauty of MAP is that it not only provides students with a holistic view of how a business functions, but it also offers ‘real life’ exercises which managers can go and apply immediately in their own office situations,” says Lehlohonolo Mmolotsane, Programme Manager at WBS.
“The value of MAP lies not just in the qualification, but in the knowledge acquired.”
So what do MAP students learn? The core modules in the MAP course, which can be done full- or part-time, include all the ‘usual suspects’ of business principles: Human resource (HR) management, accounting and finance, economics, marketing, operations and strategy, presented in such a way that they can be immediately transferred into the workplace.
Students emerge from MAP with a better understanding on how they can contribute to overall organisational effectiveness; they learn to interpret economic principles and how to evaluate these in relation to real-life scenarios; they learn to understand effective marketing strategies and branding opportunities for their organisations, and how to integrate the principles of accounting and finance into day-to-day business activities.
“For someone who manages a department or business unit, or a professional transitioning into general management, there is no better tool-kit than MAP,” asserts Mmolotsane.
“It fully prepares such a person for a more generalised management function, providing for a greater scope of responsibility and sharper decision-making capabilities.”
From day one of the MAP journey, when students are allocated to syndicate groups and learn the fundamentals of group dynamics, they start to realise the value in stepping out of their routines in order to properly ‘map out’ their futures.
MAP takes between four and six months, full-time, and involves one full week every month. The programme can also be done part-time over eight months, on two evenings a week, or every Saturday.
Either way, as evidenced by the thousands of MAP alumni working in South Africa and globally, MAP can be a game-changer.