From 2002 to 2005 I did my Masters in Marketing (aka Masters in Fluff) at Swinburne University and it was the hardest and most rewarding task I have ever completed.
I had decided in about 1999 that I would start my Masters after seeing someone else complete theirs in London, but, on their advice, I decided to wait until I was over 30 to start so that I had enough experience to base it on.
When I was umming and ahhing about whether to do an MBA or a more specialised marketing course, I received the only bit of good advice I have received from a recruiter (aka pimps 🙂 ). She said if you want to become a CEO, do an MBA; if you want to be a Marketing Director do a Masters in Marketing (MBM). I didn’t and don’t want to be a CEO, so it made sense to me to do an MBM.
Doing my Masters was a very personal thing. While I hoped the overall outcome would be a better job with more money, that was never the core reason for me undertaking it. If these were my primary goals, I would have been better off putting the money into the share market or property and shaping up my networking skills (now that’s something I need a course in now. Any suggestions?).
My undergraduate degree is in Public Relations/Management Communication, but I have never worked in the field a day in my life. I fell into marketing from a graduate sales program. I did my ADMA course shortly after this ‘fall’, but pretty much learnt on the job after that.
Completing my Masters has given me a confidence in my thinking that I just didn’t have before. I no longer say things because it’s my ‘gut feel’, I now have facts, evidence and more disciplined thinking behind that ‘gut feel’ to back it up (although ‘gut feel’ is still an important test). This has been especially evident when looking at market research design.
What I got out of my Masters:
- Confidence in my thinking
- I met a number of amazing people who have helped shape my career
- Knowing I can finish something
- Knowing I can get out of bed for an 8am class on a Saturday morning and be disciplined
- An increase in my knowledge about all sorts of things marketing and not marketing related
- Realising how much more motivated I am working in a team environment
- Exposure to different people working in totally different industries
- Greater technical marketing skills
- Better planning and organisational skills
- Confidence when other areas of my career during my first year were going really badly. Good marks kept my confidence buoyed and allowed me to remind myself I’m not stupid
Yes, it did get me a better job with more money a couple of years after I completed it, which was awesome, but you don’t spend all that time, money and effort doing a Masters just for that – well, not in my world.
People ask me now if I think they should do their Masters and generally I say “Only if you really want it for its own sake”. As previously mentioned, if it’s just for more money and a better job, then just invest your money and network your butt off. If you’re passionate about learning, having your thinking challenged and becoming a more disciplined thinker, then seriously consider it and research it. If you decide then that it’s for you, get in there and do it!
(Oh, but if you do, unless you’re a consultant, please don’t put your qualifications on your business card.)