By Jong Eun Jung
Many prospective MBA students are attracted to the idea of getting a marketing job after graduation. While marketing is a broad field that offers many different career opportunities, most MBA graduates find work in three general categories right out of school: brand management, product management, and marketing management. We talked to Amanda Fend, Senior Associate Director and Coach at the Career Management Center, to find out everything that prospective students need to know about getting a post-MBA marketing job.
According to Fend, the biggest misconception surrounding brand management is that it’s a purely creative role. In fact, it’s more of a general management role, with brand managers overseeing consumer insights, the supply chain, packaging, finance, advertising, and more for their portfolio of brands. In a way, brand managers are like CEOs because they have so much autonomy in making decisions over their assigned brands. This marketing job also requires a lot of quantitative work in the form of analyzing data to interpret current sales and forecast future demand.
“Brand managers are looking at the day-to-day business and making sure everyone is aware of what’s happening. Or if there’s something new happening, like a brand launch or something like an issue with the brand… no days are probably the same,” Fend said.
Most product managers are found in tech companies that make software, hardware, or both. Product managers sit between the marketing team and the engineering team, working with both of them to gather information from customers and translate it into different features and updates. They also help shepherd the launch of new products or new versions of existing ones. Because product managers work closely with engineers, it’s very helpful (though not required) if they have some kind of prior technical experience, such as software development.
“You’re kind of the quarterback for the team… you’re (the one) who’s leading that process, whether it is just the day to day (activities)… or launching a new, updated version of an app or product,” Fend said.
The marketing manager is a generalist role within an agency or a company. In an agency, the marketing manager usually serves as the main point of contact for the client and oversees the various marketing projects, holding both the client and agency teams accountable and making sure deliverables are submitted on deadline. Marketing managers working at companies serve a similar function; they may work across the entire business to execute marketing initiatives, or may be assigned to particular products and services at a very large corporation.
This marketing job allows MBA graduates to gain exposure to multiple types of marketing in a short amount of time. Later on, people may choose to stay in a generalist position or move into more specialized roles, such as social media management.
“You’re taking part in developing the strategy for that business or that product… understanding the marketplace, understanding any changes, looking at data… incorporating that into the strategy, updating the strategy as needed, and then executing that,” Fend said.