I have never been sure about what kind of field I wanted to work in once I got out of school. I’ve had sparks of inspiration stemming from my hobbies, but there was never a job that I could put my finger on definitively. Out of the handful of studies that I have been considering, marketing has always been a solid option for me. I’ve been told that I have a knack for unique ideas and that I am great when talking with people or presenting in general. It’s certainly a road that is available to me, but I’m still not sure how much I can commit myself to that path. Luckily for me, I have someone in my household who has experience studying business at University. My dad (Jung Hyuk Jang), graduated from Central Michigan University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. To help clear some questions I still had regarding the path of marketing, I was able to interview my dad for any pieces of advice he had to offer. Here were some of the highlights (It is also important to note that my dad is currently not working a job that requires his bachelor’s, but the relevance of a degree is a conversation we’ll have for another time.)
1. Communication is key!
Throughout our chat, my dad continued to highlight the fact of how important it was to make connections and create a network. Because he had decided to study abroad away from his home country of South Korea, this was even more crucial for him, as getting to know more people meant he could find a stable lifestyle in a new country. When he wasn’t studying, my dad was out getting to know new people in his area, making his name known to his peers. This made his University life a little more bearable, and he told me that it becomes extremely useful in the course as well. You NEED to be able to communicate and work well with others to be successful in marketing.
2. Self-education goes a long way
I find this next piece of advice quite funny because I always figured the point of University was to give you the resources you need to be successful in whatever field you chose. But my dad made a point that the smartest students would never only stay on top of the course, but also find opportunities to study outside of class. Marketing students were more ambitious than others, so many of the students were high climbers. If you knew just a little more than everyone else, it gave you the edge in class as well as the industry in general. Marketing is always evolving, so the students who are up to date typically do better in the class. An example of this would be the significance of social media marketing. Because my dad graduated in 2005, the relevance of covering social media marketing was not highlighted in his classes. Fast forward 16 years, and we all know that social media is one of the most effective ways to reach an audience in today’s day and age.
3. The marketing field is competitive
To go into a marketing career, you need to stand out like no other. Making sure you research the companies that you’re applying to is a must, and you should be prepared for anything during interviews. Finding a marketing job in Canada was difficult for my dad, and he ended up working at several Korean companies throughout the years that didn’t necessarily require his degree. Although his natural ability to communicate and promote helped him in his earlier jobs, my dad currently has no affiliation with marketing in his current workplace. It is a difficult field to get into, and many more will fail than succeed. He’s constantly letting me know about the risks that are involved, and he wants me to make the right decision when it comes time to pick a major.