A lot of current MSc Marketing applicants have commonly asked, “Is the marketing program heavily based in theory or practical knowledge?”
While I would argue that there’s a little bit of both, one of the reasons I’ve loved the program so far is the practical knowledge I’ve learned are skills that I can take with me into the workforce. We have not only learned hard skills such as deep-diving into Google Analytics and how to calculate pricing, but also our fair share of soft skills such as leadership and management. Currently, in Professor Michael Segalla’s course titled “Executive Careers in Marketing, Sales, and Communications: Things You Need to Know to Succeed,” we have a speaker series of high-level executives who have worked all around the globe give us their tips and tricks on a successful career in the field. The aim of the seminar is to “offer insights into the soft skills needed to manage ourselves, colleagues, and subordinates in a digital-oriented and international marketplace”.
Some of the topics included are: “Learning to lead a workforce to increase both happiness and productivity,” “Evaluating the risk of marketing to customers in other cultures,” and “Rules for using customer data to drive sales while respecting data privacy regulations and good ethics.” To demonstrate these topics accompanied with topical reading supplements, Segalla invited a former VP of SC Johnson, the Global Data Protection Officer from Cornerstone OnDemand, and the Chief Strategy Officer of Publicis, to name a few. The variance of each of these roles not only gives us an idea of the career paths available to us upon graduation, but it’s interesting to hear a range of different viewpoints depending on an executive’s background, culture, and geographic location.
Two lecturers I particularly enjoyed based on my personal background were Anne Geisert, Directrice Générale of Miele France, and Collette Ballou, Founder of Ballou PR. As both a female executive and mother, Anne spoke about the difficulties of raising a family while climbing the corporate ladder. Collette, on the other hand, spoke about the difficulties as an American entrepreneur who was dissatisfied with the corporate culture of PR in the U.S. and decided to begin her own Tech PR firm from the ground up. She went from the brink of bankruptcy to establishing a strong clientele base in three markets she knew little about, Paris, London, and Berlin, based on principles she believed to be absent in many of her competitors’ firms: honesty and transparency. I found it both fascinating and inspiring to hear that these two women’s paths to success were not linear and gave me a sense of what it takes to eventually make it to the top.
For those of you who are reading this and are thinking of applying to the MSc Marketing program – DO IT! You will have experiences to meet inspirational thought leaders like these and many more through the course of your time at HEC.