Let’s state upfront that this is by no means an exhaustive list or a ranking. We simply wanted to highlight some of the best management training programmes around, and these five caught our eye. That said, there are a good number of other programmes that would make this list if space permitted – many of them found here in our own backyard! So when you’re done reading this, do flip through the rest of this book because we have a lot more about great management training programmes in Malaysia.
L’Oréal: Beauty from the Inside Out
This beauty mammoth has always been known for the coveted position within its organisation. Not only is it one of the top beauty companies in the world, it has been known to inspire loyalty in its staff. We think it has something to do with its stellar management training programmes.
Usually, the programmes require a fresh recruit to spend time in various departments of the company with a mentor for guidance in the first few months in the company. In L’Oréal USA and L’Oréal UK, candidates gain experience and skills through assignments in areas such as field sales, category management, market research, finance and marketing services. These real-life experiences are complemented by formal courses that further enhance a candidate’s knowledge.
The company also has an integration programme called L’Oréal FIT (Follow-up and Integration Track), which runs for two years as a support programme for new employees. This global initiative recognises that every employee is unique, and therefore takes into account his or her experience, background and career goals. The programme helps employees acquire field and product experience, customising meetings, trainings, discussions and on-the-job training through mentorship and individual guidance according to their needs.
At every stage of the training period, there will be reviews and appraisals with a manager where strengths and development needs are identified. About 80 per cent of the training is conducted by L’Oréal employees, who pass on valuable internal know-how and specialist expertise. The key aim of the programmes is to identify your talent.
Because of L’Oréal’s international network, the company strongly believes in fostering an international working environment, so career mobility is a definite possibility. At L’Oréal, a fast-track international career is within reach.
The Conde Nast Group: Media Giant
Who doesn’t want to work for Conde Nast, with titles like Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired and more? Perhaps even better than the glamour that comes with the job is the reality that new recruits are taught the key aspects of a commercial media role in its graduate training scheme. Lest you think only those with editorial aspirations need apply, the programme actually trains marketing and sales whizzes (those interested in editorial go through different training.) The main areas are sales technique, marketing theory, copywriting and client relations.
You will learn all about selling classified advertisements across the entire range of titles published by the group. Skills that will be imparted include contracts negotiation with media buying agencies, relationship development with clients, and preparing top-notch sales pitches.
Recruits will learn to read circulation, marketing and sales figures at the drop of a button. During the training programme, your time will be spent developing knowledge of the publications, looking for new business leads, analysing and monitoring the competition, developing techniques for questioning, negotiation and objection handling, preparing sales pitches and presentations, cultivating clients, learning to close sales and of course, meeting sales targets.
With such comprehensive training, you will be well equipped to move up to senior roles in the publishing empire. You will learn the inner workings of the lifestyle industry, as you have to deal with clients from various industries. The (media) world is yours for the taking!
McDonald’s: Good Times, Great Opportunities
Like its burgers, McDonald’s aims to please. In fact, it takes care of you even before you step into university if you are one of its employees. A lot of school-going teenagers work for the fast food chain. In the US, it is recognised by the American Council on Education (ACE) for its restaurant management curriculum.
In the US, if you’re a student-employee, you could potentially earn a scholarship to further your studies. Of course, nothing compares to the prestigious Hamburger University, founded in 1961 by Fred Turner, the company’s former senior chairman and founder Ray Kroc’s first grillman. Today, it is the company’s centre of training excellence, honing the skills of its employees in operations, service and leadership. More than 5,000 employees or students attend the university each year, and to date, more than 80,000 restaurant managers, mid-managers and owner/operators have graduated from it.
When you join McDonald’s, you know it is committed to develop your talent to the highest standards. Its founder Kroc has always put his money on talent, and the Hamburger University continues this legacy. From the training you get at the university, your journey continues as you step into the restaurants. Further learning is provided at regional training centres, and you will also get a chance to be part of the leadership development programme where individuals are groomed at all levels of the organisation.
As your competency grows, you are mobile within the company, as well as internationally, through its vast network of franchises and restaurants. McDonald’s is the company that allows you to start at the lowest rung of the ladder, and reach for the stars.
The Four Seasons: The Hospitality Expert
Hotels around the world measure themselves to the standards set by The Four Seasons, a premier hotel chain that is renowned around the world. That is not surprising, considering the hospitality group commits itself fully to training its people.
It believes in promoting talent from within, and has designed programmes to mindfully and strategically develop its managers to the highest calibre. Under its New Manager Orientation programme, new or newly promoted managers are put through a tailored and management specific regime. Leadership training is done through its Steps programme, which helps new managers to develop people and work management skills. They will also receive a personalised development plan that details specific needs through methods such as mentorship, self-directed learning, on-line learning, job experiences and so forth.
As further support, the company has an online learning resource library that is packed with materials – certificate programmes from Cornell University, management resources from Harvard Business School, video interview with General Managers and access to Four Seasons experts.
Just Google It – Google
Ah, Google. With its utopia-like office grounds, its laissez faire management, its openness to ideas… it sounds like career heaven! And there’s a reason for that. From its humble beginnings, Google has maintained its casual “start-up” atmosphere despite being the search-engine giant that it has become.
Chief Executive Larry Page has started GoogleEDU, a learning and leadership development programme for formalising learning at the company. Its objective is to continually teach employees what they need to keep the company in top form.
Always a pioneer in whatever it undertakes, Google uses its strength in data to ensure the lessons taught find their way into the workplace, and not just remain in the classroom. Employees are asked to review managers in order to suggest courses to managers instead of the other way round. It uses information gathered from employees to tailor courses to managers at different levels.
It also continuously polishes the integration process of new employees, where decisions on promotions and raises are made by peers as well as superiors. In this way, it has broken down the barriers of hierarchy, rank and file. This culture fosters a spirit of mutual respect and constant discussion as a person’s position is not the deciding factor in his or her success. Rather, the strength of his or her performance will determine a raise or promotion.
One of the key courses offered at GoogleEDU is the ability to influence in subtle ways. There are even classes targeted at specialties as well as career stage, as the company recognises the different needs of individuals as they move through the company. It also recognises that continuing education keeps employees passionate about the job at hand, or perhaps get them thinking about what other areas they could expand into. Employees are even coached on how to negotiate better salaries! How’s that for instilling loyalty?