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What is the right career path for someone majoring in Marketing?

marketingCraig from Sam Houston State University asked:

What is the right career path for someone majoring in Marketing and minoring in Management Information Systems? I’m a junior, and I need help finding a internship before I graduate. I been looking everywhere, and I know that internship experience will be beneficial for my career. I have experience in computer technology, IT, MS Office, and Web Design. Marketing is a very broad field, and I need some guidance to know what path to take. 

Hi Craig –

Here’s the thing:

There isn’t a “right” career path; there are career options that seem more logical and others that seem less logical.  

As a person exploring your career options, you have to decide which options are more/less logical for you.  With that disclaimer :-), I do have some advice:

Get help from your college Career Center

In case you haven’t done so already, check out the resources and services available to you through Sam Houston State Career Services.  They offer Career Counseling, among other things, and online resources like “What can I do with this major?” (I found this link on the SHSU career services website!).  From that website you can search by major.  Check out the following:

What can I do with a marketing degree?

Prioritize your wants, needs and interests regarding internships

Easier said than done, I know. But, you have to do this so that you will have a context for considering potential internship opportunities.  Start by writing down your answers to the following questions:

Wants

What type of work/work environments do you want to explore/avoid? Corporate?  Small Business?  Non-Profit? Government? Education?  Indoor/Outdoor?  Formal or casual?  Conservative or Entrepreneurial?   Traditional or Alternative?  There are many options to consider that have nothing at all to do with the specific work you do, but everything to do with your daily work experience.  Be sure to factor these elements as well.  Lots of companies need people to work in marketing.  Which environments fit you best?

Needs

When do you need to intern?  Fall, spring or summer semester?  Full-time or part-time?  How many hours per week?  To what kind of work schedule can you commit?  Your schedule and availability will play a role in defining your options.

Where can you intern?  Geographically, that is! Do you need to intern near your college? In  your hometown?  In a specific city?  Where you can work will play a role in defining your options.

Do you need a paid internship?  If your internship has to be paid, you will not be able to consider internships that are unpaid, even if they look really cool!

Do you need to earn academic credit?  If you need to earn academic credit for your internship, you have to make sure the internships you are considering are credit-eligible.  Only your school can answer that question for you.

Interests

What kinds of things do you like doing?  Work is always better when you enjoy what you are doing. We all have different skills, gifts and talents?  Look at yours. How are you developing them through your studies?  Which ones might translate well to the workplace.

What industries/professional fields interest you most? Seriously, outside of school, what really interests you.  What occupies your time and attention. Working on things that interested is always better than working on things that don’t. I know that sounds simple, but trust me – it gets complicated very quickly.

Explore your options

People who work in marketing do a lot of different things.  Some are very quantitative (numbers and data), some is very qualitative (messaging, images, communication), some are a blend of the two.  In some companies marketing and sales go hand in hand; in others they are separate and distinct from each other. There is also a wide variety of things you can do in marketing, so you have to explore your options.

One good way to explore your options (and find internships!) by becoming familiar with industries through their professional associations.  Here is a list of marketing professional associations.  Check these out and explore those options that interest you most.

American Marketing Association (AMA)

Association of Travel Marketing Executives

Direct Marketing Association (DMA)

European Marketing Confederation (EMC)

Experiential Marketing Forum (EMF)

Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

INMA: International Newspaper Marketing Association

Marketing Executives Network Group

Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)

Pharma Marketing Network

Promotion Marketing Association, Inc.

Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI)

The Healthcare Communication & Marketing Association, Inc. (HCMA)

Web Marketing Association

You might also look at the following two marketing specific career sites: MarketingCrossing.com and MarketingJobs.com.

With regard to your MIS minor – do the same thing with that field.  The more you know about yourself, your preferences, your options and your priorities, the better job you will do of deciding what step to take next.

Good luck!

matt-signature

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1 Comment

  1. Craig Ridley says:

    Thank you very much! I will go to the Career Services Counseling next week.

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