Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Entering the Field of Marketing as a Career Changer

I consider myself to be a career changer.  From 1996 – 2007, I worked as a Research Project Manager at the University of Minnesota where I directed the research-related activities for a study on children with behavior disorders.  There were many aspects of my job that I liked, but I was searching for something more.  I decided to pursue an advanced degree and switch gears into marketing/market research.  In 2005, I began the MBA program at the Carlson School of Management.  When I applied for the program, many of my friends and family were surprised.  They told me, “You don’t know anything about business or marketing.”  I thought, “Isn’t that the point of going back to school?”  At the same time, I understood their concerns because I worried that I would be overwhelmed with concepts and information that I had never been exposed to before while my peers already working in marketing positions would excel.

At the Carlson School of Management, I took classes that focused on marketing and market research as well as classes in other concentrations such as finance and operations.  We read case studies and had class discussions about current issues in the business world and how they related to our coursework.  I loved hearing stories from my peers about their companies and was eager to graduate and move into a market-related position in the corporate world.

While I attended classes, I joined the Minnesota Chapter of the American Marketing Association.  I wanted to learn as much as I could about different marketing roles so I volunteered on several different committees.  I joined the MarCom Committee and volunteered to assist with the 2009 Annual Conference.  In the process, I learned more about market research, graphic design, creative writing, and social media.  I attended as many AMA events as possible including an AMA sponsored “Marketing Bootcamp”.

Today, I continue to attend AMA events, volunteer on the MarCom Committee, and was recently elected to the MN AMA Board of Directors.  I love networking with fellow marketers and learning about the various marketing roles and companies in this field.  I read electronic newsletters with information about companies in the consumer packaged goods industry and subscribe to Bloomberg’s Business Week and some Marketing magazines that I selected with my AMA membership. In addition, I take advantage of some self-paced learning modules on my employee website to brush up on skills needed for my specific position and industry.

How about you?
  • Are you a career changer?  How did you make the switch into marketing?
  • How do you keep current on marketing-related information?
  • What is your involvement in the AMA?  What do you hope to get out of your participation?

Barrie Berquist is a Category Development Manager at Acosta Sales and Marketing.  She has been a member of the MN AMA since 2007 and is a member of the MarCom Committee where she serves as the Career Insider Blog Project Manager.  She can be reached at barrieberquist@yahoo.com.  You can follow Barrie on Twitter @BEBERQUIST. 
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