There is no one size fits all kind of answer for every MBA aspirant who is at the threshold of choosing a specialization. There is no right and wrong answer either.
While some select HR, some choose Marketing, or Finance or Business Analytics. It depends on the inherent traits of the person and what seems to be the right choice according to him and most importantly what he would like to do.
Whether humans will work or not is a different matter altogether. However, companies will not work if they can’t market their products.
This is the main reason why marketing is an exciting field of study and a lot of investment is being made by companies to analyse different techniques of marketing their goods and services.
The marketing management course helps in studying these different techniques and cutting edge technologies to help sell better.
It is a known fact that ‘Marketing’ happens to be the first choice for most MBA students when it comes to specialization. What is the reason why so many students choose marketing as a specialization? Let’s look at some of them.
- Most sought after profession: Marketing job or a job in sales management is highly sought after by many professionals waiting to take entry into the industry. A considerable number of job applicants apply for open positions in marketing and sales as it is a highly rewarding field of work.
- The highest number of opportunities: One of the main reasons for the above point is also that companies themselves have a considerable amount of opportunities in their marketing sector. Every year the FMCG, retail, apparel, Healthcare companies launch new products that need to be marketed. Without a good marketing team, it is not possible. Also, there is a constant requirement to venture into more unique markets and territories, for which marketing professionals are required.
- Fierce competition: Even though organizations have a massive demand for marketing professionals, the job market is indeed substantial with the resumes of the already available talent pool, each with different levels of experience. Not everyone has an MBA but expertise plays an important role here. Those without an MBA start from scratch while those with an MBA from a good institute can make a jump to a company of repute.
- Lucrative career: Most companies have the salary structure of a marketing professional defined as per highly rewarding incentives. Thus the drive to excel in each endeavour is handsomely rewarded which pumps more energy and focus into the next initiative. The incentive structure is a tremendous motivating factor at the initial level to keep the beat on.
- Globalization: Globalization brings on with it an increasing number of players in the industry. The standards are global and the international market is one level playing field. In this scenario, marketing is key to staying relevant for any organisation, and a course with marketing management is a smart choice.
- Career growth: As the competition is more, so are the growth options in a marketing career. The opportunities for promotion are a lot more for a marketing professional with an MBA than for those without one. The reason being the need for proper management is as essential as having a good team. Sometimes it is even more important because an organization needs to get a strategic direction to perform well, which efficient management can provide.
- Retention: Companies hate to lose good performers in Marketing with an MBA degree because it is not easy to refill those positions left vacant by attriting employees. One who knows the company well understands its products and has good knowledge about the company’s edge over its competitors is an asset to the organization. Therefore companies take such matters very seriously and do everything to retain such critical employees in marketing, which in turn makes an employee feel valued in the organization.
- Edge over others: MBA education helps gain key competitiveness over others who don’t. Some essential characteristics required by a good marketing manager is built through numerous interventions during the course which a non-MBA grad missed out on. This, in turn, helps catapult the career of MBA-s way ahead in the corporate world. Soft skills, result orientation, problem-solving, dealing with ambiguity are some qualities needed by Marketing professionals, and those who opt for an MBA course are surely at an advantage in these parameters.
- Challenging Assignments: During the MBA, a student comes across numerous assignments that help him or her be prepared for the real-life challenges one is expected to face in a career. Also, in an MBA set up the simulated challenges helps students come up with solutions on their own which allows them to be ready to face the real difficulties later on with more confidence.
- Ability to work in a team: Marketing is never a one-man-army kind of job. It requires an entire team to perform and excel for the company to do well. Several times while working one is faced with difficulties of working in a group. There are conflicts, negotiations fail and individual thought processes become primary. This is neither good for the employees nor the company. However, in an MBA, a student learns to work in a team. They undergo several workshops and presentations which are to work upon as a team. Thus an MBA grad is better prepared for conflict resolution in a marketing team while working.
- Groupthink: This is extremely important for the successful working of any organization. The success and failure of Groupthink are based on the concept that “the overall picture is always greater than the total of its parts.” This means when a group comes up with a decision or plan, it is expected to be better than the same thing chalked out by its members. The reason being in groupthink, each member brings about his or her unique perspectives which makes the overall plan more attractive, foolproof and diverse. The marketing team of an organization works on this principle and a Marketing MBA graduate is used to working in a ‘groupthink’ set up during the course. This makes an MBA in Marketing indispensable.
- Exciting fields: Sales is not the only field where jobs are available in marketing. Although a new entrant to the industry without MBA feels so. This is also because a novice does not have the expertise required to work in other fields of marketing which require specific technical know-how, knowledge of working with certain tools etc. This is where an MBA grad is several steps ahead of those without it. Branding, consumer behavior analyst, promotion, advertising, retailing, market research are some such fields where organizations prefer to hire an MBA in marketing rather than those without it.
- Negotiation: A marketing and sales manager is expected to be good negotiator. They have to negotiate with vendors, clients, prospective clients, senior management for budget allocation, etc. This is especially important when one is working in sales. Price negotiation is an example but it is not the only aspect where ‘negotiation’ skills are required. One may expect to negotiate for a place of launch, mode of promotion, advertising channels etc. Without negotiation skills, a marketing professional will not be able to perform well. MBA is a course where such skills are taught through exercises such as public speaking, selling counterfeit products, seeking venture capital for starting one’s entrepreneurial endeavour and debates.
- Building brand “You”: A marketing professional is a brand himself within and outside the company. 360-degree feedback from peers, clients, customers, subordinates, supervisors, service providers can help one understand how he or she fares as an employee, how he relates to others, how reliable he is. Through these, a brand is built around which is all the more important for members of the marketing team because they interact with people outside the organization as well and on that interaction depends the fate of the company’s business. Thus “building his brand” is essential. An MBA certainly grooms an individual on these parameters which are not just external but also intrinsic to one’s personality.
- Industry exposure: An MBA course in most B-schools of repute has industry visits to shopfloors, assembly lines, manufacturing setups etc. Through these, a student gets exposed to the reality of business. In marketing, confidence is vital. A marketing professional will get overwhelmed in his first assignment upon joining an organization because everything will be new to him or her. A typical college education does not throw much light upon what a real business looks like from inside. However, an MBA provides a solution to this and it helps an MBA in marketing grad by leaps and bounds.
- Communication: As crucial as negotiation may be, communication is an essential aspect for any employee, all the more for marketing people. Contact with one’s team, helping them overcome their challenges, motivating them to perform and distributing targets, reward is a challenging task for any manager. While most of this expertise is gained through experience, it should not seem that the marketing manager possesses no such skill just because he is fresh from a college. This is where an MBA course helps.
- Career fields: MBA grads in marketing have several career options to choose from. These professionals are recruited in various profiles such as:
- Salary: As compared to a regular graduate or a post-graduate, the salary of a management graduate is at least three times more. Especially when it comes to marketing, sales employees join at entry-level and get pay in the range of Rs 20-25k on average whereas those with an MBA in marketing from a good B-school get a starting salary of Rs 60k at least. The higher value of the range is way better.
- Creativity and Innovation: Marketing is one field where one has the scope of applying a lot of creativity and innovation. Any formula does not bound it. A marketing guy needs to think “out-of-the-box” to be successful. An MBA in marketing provides a lot of such opportunities to students to think out of the box, which in turn helps them later while working in the marketing team.
- Relevance: Marketing is a field that applies to different industries – coal, petroleum, electricity, retail, garments, medicine, banking, hospitality, food and even education. This makes a marketing management degree relevant to every single vertical of business. The basic tenets of marketing learned in the course can be applied in every field. This is not the case with marketing professionals without a marketing degree. Let’s say Mr. A starts working in a food and beverage company in sales. He can learn a lot about the F&B sector and continues to grow in that sector. Whereas let’s say Ms. X starts to work in the marketing team of a software company after her MBA, she can quickly move to the pre-sales and/or marketing team of a bank. Ms. X becomes more fungible across domains in comparison to Mr.A. Thus, an MBA in marketing helps here.
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The reasons for choice could be eternal and yet these are the top 20 reasons why Marketing Management as on date happens to be one of the most sought after courses in India’s postgraduate studies. To reiterate, the most important reason for making a choice should be the individual’s own decision which could be based on some of the purposes mentioned here together with his or her preference or interest.