The Marketing Institute of Ireland and the Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Ulster University have collaborated in the staging of an event aimed at helping graduates build a strong career foundation. This recent initiative, chaired by Professor Mark Durkin, enabled graduates to interact with guest executives who discussed their experience as practising marketers, change agents and strategic thinkers.
Dr Mary Boyd and Dr Sharon Ponsonby McCabe of the Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Strategy facilitated this “marketing conversation” between their students and five senior marketing executives from a range of sectors. The guests were Joe Crowe, Head of Operations and Change at Bank of Ireland Group; Valerie Ludlow, Director of Strategy at Anderson Spratt Group (ASG); Lesley McClure, Visiting Professor in Market Research at University of Ulster Business School; Edward Canning, Digital Lead and Account Director at Navigator Blue; and Nuala Loughlin of Bryson Charitable Group.
Professor Durkin, who chaired the event, characterised it as “a relaxed and informal conversation on marketing employability where stories, recollections and advice from the seasoned executives came more naturally than would be the case through a more prepared powerpoint delivery.”
A key issue which emerged from the conversation was the fact that while skills can be easily copied and indeed commoditised especially in the digital space, knowledge and thinking ability cannot. It was agreed that the imperative for success as a marketing graduate wasn’t in the qualification itself but in how the individual uses and applies that valuable learning and consistently demonstrates personal qualities of individuality, perseverance, adaptability, enthusiasm and achieves an appropriate balance of thought and action in their marketing role.
Bank of Ireland’s Joe Crowe commented that ‘it goes beyond the degree certificate – everyone has a degree - into what you as a person can demonstrate from that learning which will add value to the company. Valerie Ludlow from ASG and Partners agreed and advised new graduates ‘expect to arrive at the office first, leave last and make themselves available to learn at every opportunity.’ Lesley McClure, formerly MD of IPSOS MORI added that ‘perseverance is critical – applying for jobs is a competitive process. If rejections come, and inevitably they will, keep trying and keep adapting yourself to the needs of potential employers – research their needs, learn about those companies you want to work with, push yourself to really market what you can offer to them.’
The Marketing Institute of Ireland offers graduates of the BSc and MSc Marketing programmes graduate membership of the Institute through a case study exam hosted by Ulster University.
PHOTO: Back row (L-R), standing are: Edward Canning, Navigator Blue; Joe Crowe, Bank of Ireland; Nuala Loughlin, Bryson Charitable Group; Lesley McClure, former MD, IPSOS MORI Ireland. Front row, sitting are Mark Durkin, Professor of Marketing, Ulster University Business School; Valerie Ludlow, ASG & Partners.