Currently attending college for a Business and Marketing Management Technology degree. I plan on pairing Business Administration once complete with this as an additional degree. Any guidance on the next steps or path for efficacy and sustainability would be greatly appreciated. I have served 6 years total in the United States Army, a veteran now building my hopefully successful future to come.
Seems you are young, starting out and somewhat flexible in your career choices. Here is a thought: Law School. Law School will open doors in senior management regardless of the industry, business or educational sector. It is not easy, quick, nor inexpensive. Finish up your Bachelor's degree. Then take another look at where you want to go in life. Remember, on the path of life there are many turns and cross roads. A Law Degree will open doors of opportunity on each of them. Good luck.
First of all, thank you for your service!
I have a Master's Degree in Product Marketing and Management and over the years have worked for and consulted with high technology, biotechnology, telecom and life science companies. I only say this because I believe that once you get your first degree, in your case Technology Marketing, it is best to work in the field for a few years before you go onto a second degree such as Business Administration. I think you will find, as you work in the field of marketing technology products, that it will guide you in what your next educational step will be. You may learn that you are excellent at Product Marketing and Management and that your real passion is helping your company develop, launch and market a new product. I think Business Administration is a useful degree at the Master's level, i.e., MBA, and you will find many companies, especially in technology, who want MBAs managing their marketing and business efforts. If you work in a company with your BA, your probably can get an education benefit from the company to pursue your Master's Degree allowing them to pay you to go to school.
Just a few thoughts and I wish you much success in your new career.
David F Eastman, Life Science Industry Marketing Consultant, US Navy veteran.
Getting the degree is a good step. You'll learn the theories from teachers and get your hands on case studies that show you how/what others have done.
Two other things to consider:
1) Start listening to some podcasts of marketers telling their stories (list of free ones below)
2) Build some real world experience NOW by doing some marketing/creating along the way.
The skills and attributes that most employers are looking for in entry level hires are:
1) The willingness or tenacity to get things done AND
2) Demonstrated potential for making the connection between brands/products/services and human beings who buy/download/sign up for them.
Problem is, how do you demonstrate the attributes that'll get you a full time job (to show > to tell) before you have a full time gig?
Right now there are probably small businesses, churches/non-profits and/or other groups you care about based near you. Most of them don't have much money but they need to get the word out about what they offer to the world. Their tools for getting that message out are things like Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, etc. I'd consider giving some thought to how you can use what you're learning in the classroom to help one of these real world organizations.
Here's what I'd do:
1) Think about a biz or group that interests you, especially if you're already a member
2) Consider their marketing objective - sell more pizzas on their slowest night, recruit help for a food drive, create an event, etc
3) Consider the most likely target audience - who are the most likely customers, volunteers, donors, etc; where do those people live? what do they care about? and what/where do they read/scroll/gather?
4) Talk to the person in charge to see if you can help create a campaign and execute it across free channels. Then experiment with what happens if you advertise with tiny budgets to people who like pizza or are connected to this or that church, etc.
5) Gather all you learned into a story that becomes a real world example of you as a marketing problem solver.
As you get ready to look for jobs, find the 3 best stories that show (not tell) how you as a marketer solve problems.
Some free podcasts to consider:
- The Gary V Audio Experience - ad agency entrepreneur Gary V founder of Vayner Media
- Fearless by Charles Day - interviews with marketers and ad agency leaders
- Brands in Action by David Baldwin
- Ad Age - ad bloc
- Ad Age - Marketers Brief
- Ad Age Ad Lib
Hit me up on LinkedIn if you wanna discuss.
Some of this has been shared by others on the thread, but I think it is worth reinforcing. The purpose of a degree is to position yourself to provide value to an employer and/or client. Keeping this in mind, experience and education are essential.
My background real quick - Navy vet, earned an AA then engineering BS from University of Florida, MBA from Univ. of Phoenix, and MS in Communication from Northwestern University.
1. Get one AA degree (more than one helps no one but the institution getting the tuition and fees).
2. Get a BS or BA. Apply to the best school in your field (as Matt suggested). What you will learn is important, your network with alumni and instructors will be invaluable. There are employers who will not consider clients that did go to certain schools or a level of school.
3. Consider getting a job at a resume builder. Joe pointed out the advantage of mobility within a company and that can provide many options. Also, having experience at an employer like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Disney, Boeing, Proctor & Gamble, etc. can give you an advantage.
4. After at least three years work experience, consider getting a graduate degree IF it helps you reach your goals.
Whether it's pursuing a college or an employer, go for the best options for what you want to do. Make someone tell you no. If it happens, keep going. Each no gets you closer to a yes.
Best of luck in your pursuits, Ashton.
The most important takeaway I can give you is that the degree itself is not an end state. Back in 1975, 20% of the US population had a bachelor's degree. The old wisdom that any degree is a ticket to success is untrue. Today, 40% of the population has a degree and it's not an undifferentiated piece of paper in a job market obsessed with credentials. As you weight your future opportunities, keep the following things in mind: backwards planning works, brand matters, and your timing matters.
Backwards planning is the critical thought exercise you need to set out to do in order to make the most of your education. Start with a hypothesis and a broad strategy "I think I will like work in a certain function or industry". This is appropriate when you first go to school because you can test this through coursework, internships, coffee chats with industry professionals, or conversations with friends. Since you're looking at careers in business, check out the career primers here: https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/career-guides. They're free and they cover a wide set of businesses types.
Once you have an industry in mind, you can begin exploring the key companies within that space. Check out their websites to see where they recruit. Many have limited recruiting budgets and only hire at certain schools. If your school isn't in that list, you may have an uphill battle to fight as a non-target, but you can take advantage of your veteran status through hiring conferences and fellowships like Hire Our Heroes.
This brings me to brand. You already have a blue chip on your resume with the US Army. Many veterans set the bar low for themselves as they begin using their GI Bill and self-select out of elite institutions because they tell themselves that they're not smart enough - but they in fact have the necessary grit and resolve to take whatever placement test until it submits to force of will with their desired score. If you have the will, and another school provides a better path to your desired end-state, put yourself on that path instead. The GI Bill gives you 36 months, not including summers or breaks, and this amount can be augmented by a given school's Yellow Ribbon Program to pay for up to the entire cost of your degree. If that gets you to the brand you need to benefit in the long term, that's more valuable than losing a few credits in the transfer. I'd encourage you to check your school's employment report as well. If they don't tell you where folks are getting placed, that should be a red flag to you - schools will absolutely take your money even if they don't provide a degree that's valued in the market. Service2School is a great resource for anything admissions related.
I would caution you up front that more senior degrees will be looked on more favorably than multiple lower level degrees. Associate degrees aren't really valued as much as a BA/BS, and having multiple majors for your BA won't mean as much as a masters degree. Also, where you get that degree matters because of our society's perceptions of value associated with a given brand. If you major in Business Administration, this will provide a more general skillset that you can further hone with coursework. Business and Marketing Management Technology might be overly specific unless you're very clear on what the opportunities are after graduation. If you want that technical focus to be a part of your personal brand then that may work for you, but a broad strategy punches above its weight as you go into recruiting.
Lastly is timing. Right now the job market is hot for veterans - we're experiencing post-war patriotic fervor and companies are actively hiring veterans at their target schools while many elite schools are admitting up to 5% veterans even when we're less than 0.5% of the overall population. You can take advantage of this trend because it's unlikely to last forever, but do so intentionally. Network with veterans in your target industry, abuse LinkedIn to find veterans or alumni for college chats (especially to verify your initial hypothesis about the type of work you'd enjoy), and absolutely make your presence better known. I couldn't find your LinkedIn and that should be an extension of your resume for employers to look up and find more about you.
I hope this all helps. Clarifying your goals with respect to desired location, pay, benefits, travel, work-life balance, and impact are all important to making the right decisions here and now with your education. Hopefully the resource above can provide some insight to the rest of your backward planning process as you determine what your personal brand should be and how you'll use the macrotrends in timing to your benefit.
Definitely finish up your degree. Education is the best investment you can make. It looks like you are preparing for a general business or marketing career.
I assume you are looking to get your AS degree approximately next May. The hiring market is hot, right now, and nobody knows what the situation will be late May or summer.
That works in your favor though, as you should start seriously applying for jobs in Jan/Feb/Mar of 2022. Tell them that you will be completing your degree in May. Most companies start looking for the graduates early, to hire them upon graduation.
You will want to target entry level professional positions. I would look at your first position as an opportunity to get experience as well as learn about a particular industry. You will get a front row seat to see how businesses actually operate. But also importantly, you will see the various business departments and better understand where YOUR INTERESTS lie (ex. marketing, sales, mgmt, etc.)
You might want to look at companies in the regulatory industry, that deal with OSHA, safety, HazMat, etc. as that is a growing industry. There are not many degrees for those subjects, so your experience might give you a nice foot in the door for a business position, as you already have some knowledge of the industry.
You might consider small to medium sized companies. Positions in those companies, frequently require the 'wearing of many hats', which means great/varied experience. Large companies sometimes have narrow job definitions, and limited 'visibility'. However, an advantage of a large company, is that one can usually move around WITHIN the company.
Look at your first position, as I mentioned above...as a way to get started and gain some experience. I have seen young business majors, recent graduates, learn for a few years, then with their experience they easily move on to higher paying/better positions.
Put together a good resume! Your college should be able to help with that. I put together a document for helping veterans construct resumes. If you would like it, just message me.
Also, have a good linkedin page. There is plenty of info on the web telling how to do that.
Hope this helps. Many thanks for your service.
Thank you all for your responses, I have been lately hitting the ground running with my path in life to lead me where I want both personally and professionally. I have extensively read all the messages and the advice given fully. I appreciate the full honesty and consideration in my question and thank you for your time substantially.
Ashton B. Jones
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