I’ve been reading a lot about whether it’s worthwhile doing a professional marketing qualification like the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). In comparison to other professional qualifications, e.g. accountancy (ACCA, CIMA, ACA), a professional marketing qualification doesn’t really provide the same gravitas to your CV or salary expectations. Individuals moving through professional accountancy qualifications will normally see an increase in salary or status, marketer’s generally do not.
With the current economic climate, studying towards a professional qualification might be the difference in getting an interview or not. Employers are extremely choosy at the moment with so much marketing talent available to pick from.
I am in the process of completing my CIM Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) - even though I have over ten years broad-based marketing experience. Why? – initially I started off as a ‘study buddy’ with a friend of mine. Even after a fairly lengthy absence away from studying I enjoyed attending the classes and actually learnt a great deal. Most of the theories are still the same, and there are many new ones to look at. What I noticed about myself was that I looked at some of the theories with a different perspective – I’ve put this down to my practical experience, which I obviously didn’t have when I was at university.
Does experience outweigh qualifications? In my case I would have to say ‘yes’ – I’ve managed to climb the career ladder, largely due to my experience.
However, the environment has changed considerably in the last few years, if you’re ambitious and want to be at the top of your game, I think you need to look at professional marketing qualifications as well as practical experience. It will help you become a more rounded commercial marketer and give you a different perspective of the business.
Conversations with senior stakeholders tend to be about revenue, profit, ROI and cost – all the things that marketers tend to get criticised about. I found CIM’s PGD to be more strategically focused and looked at the ‘big picture’ – rather than focusing on tactical plans.
As a marketer you’ve probably conducted an environmental analysis and adapted your marketing plan accordingly. So in today’s turbulent climate, may you need to adapt and develop to stay ahead of the game – maybe a professional marketing qualification is a step in the right direction.
Bhupen Mistry MCIM
Mistry Marketing Associates