Masters in Marketing: This series of posts in the ‘Postgraduate Study’ category will explore the merits of postgraduate education. Interviewing eight people in their 30’s about their postgraduate experiences for my book ‘1000 Years of Career Advice’, I was struck by how different people’s answers were. There were lots of different variables at play in their decision to embark on further education from recessions, to having done a very broad undergrad, to people still not knowing what they wanted to do when they graduated.
Interview #1: Maurice, 34, Key Account Manager, Big FMCG Firm, Masters in Marketing
Were you paid any more than a person at your level who didn’t have a masters in marketing?
No. Company ‘X’ had a standard pay scale when I started as Assistant Product Manager, the next band up was Product Manager – a salary of €6k more. There were a few people who went into jobs from my masters in marketing on higher salaries, but I would say they were the kind that would have gotten it anyway as they were just clever f*ckers!
With hindsight, would you do a masters in marketing straight after university or would you get a job and why?
If I was doing it again I’d aim for a graduate programme over masters in marketing. I wasn’t clued into them in undergrad, so am not sure whether they were as readily available. People in my masters in marketing class went on to big companies on their graduate programmes and they seemed to get great experience out of them. Most that did the graduate programmes are now in very senior jobs on the back of them. The one caveat here would be to get a paid graduate programme. A company should be willing to invest money and time to get a high performing individual out of it. Unpaid graduate programs can be pointless……we have a few grads doing unpaid grad programmes in my company and they just do all the donkey work.
Would you have been able to get your first job without a masters in marketing?
Yes. My first job was in recruitment, which I fell into when speaking to that agency about getting a job in marketing. My masters in marketing had no relevance to recruitment. Even when then getting the job in company ‘X’, it was through connections that I got it. The lady I worked for in recruitment company was the finance directors’ aunt and recommended me. To be honest I don’t think I would have gotten the job without the introduction, with or without the masters in marketing.
What were 3 good things, and 3 bad things about your masters in marketing?
Good things about my masters in marketing:
1) Lots of presentations which stood to me.
2) Smaller classes meant you did learn a lot more.
3) At the end of the day it is good to have on my CV.
It’s not going to get me a job, but it’s an additional conversation point in an interview
Bad things about my masters in marketing:
There were not a lot of negatives as such, but if I had to pick some:
1) The cost
2) Expectation vs reality of what it will do
3) People with notions about themselves
How did your masters in marketing compare to your undergraduate i.e. hours, fun, people etc
It was a class of 30 people, so there was no hiding in class during questions/discussions, which doesn’t suit everyone but it made you get involved. It also made it better for learning and remembering, as discussions would stick in your mind. Also, with the group projects and presentations you had to get stuck in. Hours wise, we had 12 hours per week, and projects in between, so it was very manageable compared to the undergrad, where it was more easy going during semester and then panic study before exams. It was also a lot of fun – we had a good group, so we all gelled well together
Would you advise a young person to get a job first and then do a masters in marketing, or vice versa?
I would suggest working in a job first (ideally a graduate program) before doing a masters in marketing, unless it’s a specific masters with an end goal. I did marketing because I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. If going down the masters route it’s worth looking at the amount of practical work involved, as the more hands on experience the better. If I were hiring someone on now, I’d look at how applicable their experience is – so if it was a very functional job in supply chain yes you’d want to see qualifications. Whereas, if it’s for the customer side of things I’d take someone with experience in retail or sales over someone fresh out of a masters.
If you are still unsure as to whether to do a masters in marketing, or any masters for that matter, please do leave a comment or contact me using the contact section, I’d be more than happy to help. You can also check out my other posts on postgraduate study: