A Marketing or Business Degree Essential… Really?

A Marketing or Business Degree Essential… Really?
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Satisfying as it is to be one’s own boss, it gets a bit lonely as a sole trader, the hours aren’t great, and the security even less so. I keep an eye on job listings for worthwhile full-time contracts (such as managing Web Content at advertiser.ie), and permanent roles just in case an position too good to ignore becomes available.

Current research indicates that the Irish jobs market is looking stronger by the day, as more and more roles in online marketing, training and project management are being advertised each week. A notable and annoying feature of many of these advertised positions is that more often than not, even non-managerial roles list a Marketing or Business Degree as an essential requirement. Now I’m undoubtedly biased given that my qualifications are in Training, Multimedia and the Humanities, but I believe this requirement is nothing short of ridiculous, and ultimately damaging to the organisation that’s hiring. Picture the scenarios:

“So, you’ve been an Online Marketer for five years and have a decade of other relevant professional experience but your Degree is in Engineering/Arts/Science? Sorry, not interested.”

“You’ve been working in Sales and Marketing since completing your Leaving Cert and have even run your own business for a couple of years? I’m afraid you’re not qualified. Next!”

I have a large circle of friends and a wide professional network. I would estimate that at most 10% of all those people are successfully working in a field related to their primary degree. It simply doesn’t hold true that a directly relevant degree is necessary for a person to excel in a role, particularly when they have a successful employment history with sufficient relevant professional experience to support their suitability.

Large successful corporations undoubtedly agree. Take a look at these Marketing positions currently advertised on Linkedin:

KBC Bank: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/13061503?trk=job_view_browse_map - 3rd Level Degree; further education in online preferred

Mastercardhttps://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/12855179?trk=job_view_browse_map - Bachelor’s Degree required, preferably in Marketing

ESBhttps://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/13011968?trk=job_view_browse_map - Third Level Qualification required

Read the requirements for similar positions in an Irish SME, and 9 out of 10 will have ‘Marketing/Business Degree essential’. It simply makes no sense to exclude the vast majority of knowledgeable, capable and experienced professionals from the application process based on what they chose, at a very young age, to study straight after secondary school. Big business seems to recognise that whereas SME’s are handicapping their chances of hiring the right person for the job.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my bias blinds me and it is in fact true that professionals with a degree in Marketing or Business will be better in these roles than those without such a degree, regardless of real-world experience. What do you think? I’d love to listen to expert opinions on this so please share your experiences in the comments below.




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