Editor’s note… This post is from Joe Reyes, and outstanding student intern we have had working with us since November of last year. I asked Joe to share his thoughts on how college is preparing him for real-world marketing.
Have you thought about hiring a recent college graduate with a degree in marketing? If you are a business owner counting on this person to add depth to your team in short-order, you may want to rethink this approach. You may save money hiring a recent graduate, but unless you are looking for a candidate without any practical experience you will be sorely disappointed with the skills your recent grad may possess. Not only will you lose valuable time, you will also be out the money you spend training that individual.
Finding that perfect candidate is not always so easy. Realizing that “real world” office experience is just as significant or more essential in this case than having a degree will help you when choosing to hire your next team member. Nowadays having a college degree is just not enough, most of the textbooks and professor’s lesson plans are outdated and include the “old way of thinking.”
Professors are not teaching current trends, techniques, new technology, updated techniques or even strategies that your new hire should understand and that current marketing professional are using on a day-to-day basis.
“Real world” in office experience will not only give you a point of reference but allow your candidate to understand how an office flows including being accountable and how to manage their time. Soft skills are not taught by a professor, they are learned from your environment and day-to-day encounters and real world situations. A college grad may have a passion for marketing but if they do not have any experience behind them, how can they be prepared to enter the field with only a degree.
Mostly all Colleges and Universities base their marketing campaigns on the fact that they prepare their students for the real world. However, upon looking into this subject more closely it is inevitable to wonder if that is really the case?
Each year thousands of students graduate from universities across the country with the hopes of landing a job with an attractive salary, benefits and competitive bonuses. After spending four years or longer of studying, doing homework and dedicating time to a chosen major the ultimate goal in a perfect world would be to land a dream job. But are they going to be ready to handle the pressures or even have the knowledge and skills to handle the day-to-day tasks?
Most high school students who are approaching graduation are preparing their college applications, touring campuses and connecting the dots for their future. Personally, I did not have the opportunity to attend college after high school. My only option after receiving my high school diploma was to get my resume together and apply for positions where I could contribute to my family and help support our finances.
Luckily throughout high school I maintained employment in an office where I learned how to use Microsoft Office and other tools, which lead me to obtain a fulltime position after high school graduation. During this time I was able to progress into different fields and learn many tools, responsibilities, both soft and hard skills.
During my previous position in property management I had many responsibilities but part of my duties included working directly with our marketing department to develop a strategy to create new business and retain our existing business. Working so closely with the marketing department allowed me to be creative and understand that I have a passion for new trends, technology and creating awareness. This led me to my decision to leave the workforce to attend a highly respectable University as a nontraditional student to receive a Bachelors Degree in Business Marketing.
While pursuing my education I have had the opportunity to take part in internships in the marketing field. This opportunity has really shown me that real world experiences and book knowledge from the university are completely different.
During my college education I have found that many of the prerequisites do not have anything to do with my major. My experience is that you do not start taking any marketing classes until your last year at college. The business department has stressed several times that they are grooming successful upcoming professional individuals but I find that if you do not step outside and take advantage of an opportunity to take part of employment that you will not be prepared to work in the marketing field once you graduate.
There are so many tools that are being used and they change daily. Most of the classes prepare you to have an understanding of the background of marketing and business but they are not on the forefront of the current trends, preparing you to interact with clients, techniques and day-to-day tools and logistics. I previously had an experience with an instructor who repeated several times that all assignments must be turned in by hand because that’s how it works in the professional world. But most all assignments and tasks from my experience have been handed in electronically. Later I realized that this particular professor has not been actively working in the professional world, outside of the university since the early 90’s.
I feel that a hiring manager would prefer to hire an individual that comes to their location with prior experience. Although many may disagree that it is easier to groom an individual by training them to understand their typical day-to-day tasks, I feel without having any real world knowledge an individual can be overwhelmed and simply not ready for these tasks being assigned.
I do however feel lucky that I was able to experience the professional world before going to college because I was able to get an understanding of how business really works, how to be responsible, dedicated and most of all accountable. Being that I now have the opportunity to receive my degree I will be able to combine my experience and education together and really use this knowledge towards my future career.
Being part of the “real world” workforce allows you to have an opportunity to obtain experience and establish relationships in your field. You prepare to understand how to be accountable, interact with other professionals, and experience the office culture. I feel that this will prepare an individual wanting to work in the marketing field.
So if you are going to hire a recent grad to be your go-to marketing person, make sure they have the real world experience – working in a business environment through internships and employment. You probably don’t want to be their first “real” job.