Want to work in business, but have varied interests, and not 100% sure of how to make that happen? A Rotational or Leadership Development Programs may be right for you.
I can hear you now: “I have varied interests, I want to work in business, and a Rotational Program, sounds great! Umm, but what is a Rotational or Leadership Development Program?”
Great question: A Rotational or Leadership Development Program offers positions that allow you to gain insight and experience by rotating through a variety of areas within a company over a six-to-24-month period. The timing varies by company, but the most common lengths are 12 or 18 months. One of the more exciting parts about this type of role is that you will work in different positions within the firm instead of spending all your time in a single position.
Typically, firms will have at least three different work areas at the firm that you rotate through with a specified amount of time in each role. This opportunity gives you a chance to try on many hats to see which fits best. For example, a participant may spend 4 months in finance, 4 months in marketing, and 4 months in business development during their 12-month rotation. Again, the departments and amount of time within each will vary by company.
“You say that things vary by company, but is this only available in finance firms?”
Another great question, and the short answer is “Nope!” But you were never one to accept a short answer, so let’s go into a bit more detail. You can find Rotational Programs in many different industries including: Fashion, Consumer Products, Manufacturing, Food and Beverage, Insurance, Tech — oh, and you can also find them in Finance. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, you can find a number of programs on the Career Center website here.
One thing to keep in mind is that like everything in life, there are pluses and minuses, and Rotational and Leadership Development Programs have them too. Let’s take a moment to mention a few of each:
+ You develop more skills in a wider array of areas at a firm
+ You get greater job stability as you can perform roles in several areas of a company
+ You get a greater understanding of the firm, which may lead to opportunities for promotion
+ You get to explore several different areas of a company before you commit to one
– You may not like one (or more) of your rotations
– You may like your first or second rotation, but you still must move on to the next rotation and complete the entire program
– You finish your rotations and get placed in a group you are not very excited about
“What — you mean I still have a job after the rotations are done?”
Totally! But I am sure you want more than that, so here goes. Yes, you are typically placed into a group after you complete your rotations. This will also vary by company, but many times it is a combination of your interest, the work you did during each rotation, and the company need. The firm must manage all three of these when making a placement decision. If everything aligns, you will join the group of your choice and be happy that you have launched your career! If things don’t align and you are placed into a group you prefer less, then you can take all this newfound experience gained over the last 12 – 18 months and look for a new role at a different firm that better suits your interests and … be happy that you have launched your career! … Okay, you saw what I did there, but the learning experience is invaluable when you know you want to be in business, but aren’t sure how to get going.