I had got into B-school without really knowing what it entailed, without knowing what it was going to prepare me for. Yes, I was terribly ill-informed and naïve.
Once I got in though, I was fascinated. And in spite of my Economics degree, what interested me most was(not Finance, as I'd expected - in fact I barely scraped through my Finance classes, but) Marketing. It was creative yet analytical, fun yet seriously important.
So while I was excited to have a job in research by the end of my course (and if you had asked me to choose, the job I got was exactly the job I would have picked out of all that were offered on my campus), what I loved most about the job was probably that I mostly worked on consumer goods projects which were somewhat related to marketing. So it should be no surprise that I left, ten months later, for an actual Marketing role.
I have had doubts sometimes, but no real regrets. This is what I love. Here are a few reasons why:
- I believed then, and do now, that Marketing is the single most important function in a business. You might have a great product, but unless you communicate it well, unless you try to create a good (at least) customer experience at each step, it’s not going to get very far.
- It’s creative. I get to write, to work with words and spaces and colours. (Okay, I’m not very good with the spaces and colours part.) You need to think of ways to attract, to surprise.
- It needs enough analytical skills to keep my left-brain involved. You can’t – or shouldn’t – work without reason, without metrics, without planning. I draw up marketing plans (that get changed drastically as we move on), I follow website and email metrics, I argue over why we need to use this phrase instead of the other.
- I am an intensely private person and I love my solitude. I can’t much stand noise, and while the occasional party is thrilling, I prefer to spend much of my personal time alone or with the Guy. (Or online. That counts as ‘alone’, right?) Yet it’s very different when I’m at work. I love meetings, discussions, arguments. I worked for nearly two years in a largely solitary role, working directly with just one or two people, and it bored me. Now I work with people in different functions – Sales, the different functional practices my company has (such as applications and infrastructure services), Design, even HR – and of course my bosses, who are the ultimate decision-makers. Meetings seem a waste of time sometimes, but most of the time you can learn so much from other people, and it brings in much needed conversation and life into a day otherwise spent working at my desk.
- I need to continuously read and update myself on what’s happening. There is so much marketing going on all around: a marketer needs to continuously analyze what’s changing, what’s new, what working and what isn’t. I’m not saying I’m great at this (or any of the above, really), but I try, and I love the journey. (Now this is arguably true of all fields - but reading about Twitter or blogging seems more like fun than work!)
- As enough marketing and self-help gurus have pointed out, each of us is a marketer. We market ourselves to prospective employers or spouses. We market ourselves every day, to our bosses, colleagues, friends. We want to be respected and admired. So I get good practise - and perspective! - doing that for my company as well as myself.