Marketing Roles - What Companies Look For in MBA Candidates

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Marketing is one of those functions, that if done successfully, requires a little bit of everything. In other words, it is highly cross-functional and requires a lot of different skills. In Kathryn Ullrich’s Book, Getting to the Top, Strategies for Career Success, she states that close to a third of CEOs have a sales/marketing background, which also turns out to be the biggest bucket for CEO background functions.

Being somewhat new to business, this was something I did not know before or during my MBA at Duke. I think my biggest misconception back then, which many other non-MBAs also had, was that marketing equated to advertising – the kind that went on cereal boxes at the supermarket.

Advertising, while a tactic that results from the development of marketing strategy, is only a very small portion of a marketer’s role, and probably the one that is the least impactful from a value-add perspective.

Where marketers add more value is in developing the strategy of a brand and deciding how to position it in the marketplace. This is the strategic side – after this marketers rely on leadership and operational skills to align teams and ultimately execute the plan. As you may imagine, the newer the brand, and the more brands that compete in a market segment, the bigger the challenge to marketers. Here's my experience taking the Marketing Strategy course at Duke Fuqua.

Here’s what hiring managers and commercial leaders look for in MBA candidates recruiting for marketing roles. Before you read on, here's a backgrounder on commercial/marketing roles in the pharma industry. 
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Book Review: Getting to the Top, Strategies for Career Success

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On this blog, I talk a lot about how my MBA from Duke has helped me successfully transition from science into business. However, since the time I graduated, I found that that I needed to continuously learn how to navigate the next steps in my career – something the MBA did not prepare me for. I think the MBA – albeit rightfully – is focused on career transition, whereas after school one must shift focus onto career progression.
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Is an MBA Worth It? 1-Year Post-MBA Reflection

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In early 2012, when I was working as a biomedical researcher at the National Institutes of Health, I decided that I wanted to get an MBA and make the transition into the business side of health care. That was almost 5 years ago. Now as I pass my 1-year mark after getting my MBA from Duke, I decided that it is a good time to do some reflecting and see what the MBA has done for me so far.
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Career Development 101: Love the Industry you're in and Be an Expert

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There is without a doubt a stereotype for recent MBA grads – folks who are ambitious, smart, hard-working, but oftentimes lack experience or domain knowledge. Looking around and at myself, I think this is somewhat true, but there are steps to take to quickly be treated as a peer among veterans in the industry of your post-MBA career.

Here’s what you gotta do.

This is the 5th and final post in my series, Career Development 101, tailored specifically for professionals with MBAs, doing their MBA, or thinking of doing an MBA.
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Is the Master's in Business Administration Right for Me? (Guest Post)

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Whether you’re an entrepreneur, aspiring business leader, or you just think that you may want to learn more about business, the thought of getting your Masters in Business Administration may cross your mind. But while an MBA can be extremely beneficial for achieving career and life goals for many people, for others, it is a waste of time and money. So, how do you know whether or not getting your MBA would be worth the time and expense?
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Career Development 101: Communicate Effectively

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When I was a kid I was actually pretty extroverted. However, after multiple instances of culture shock growing up I became increasingly introverted. It allowed me to be somewhat successful in science, and made me observant, reflective, and analytical. These are great traits to have in a business setting. However, they would also mean absolutely nothing I if I could not communicate and influence others externally.
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Career Development 101: Manage your Leadership Development

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Ah yes, the perpetual question: how much of a person's career progression depends on the institution, and how much depends on the individual? It may come as no surprise to my readers, but I am strongly in the latter camp. Leadership development is very personal and I would say begins with the individual.

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Career Development 101: Taking Networking to the Next Level, MBA Style

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Relationships, relationships, relationships. As someone who came from a science background – after doing the MBA and working in a Fortune 100 company – I’ve come to realize that networking is key to success in business.

I also know that there are a lot of books, videos, podcasts, etc on networking, but none of them are tailored toward MBAs. I will not repeat the basics of networking, but will assume that folks reading this have graduated from an MBA program or have read some books or articles and know them already. This is more of an add-on, as opposed to an intro into networking.
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Career Development 101: Choosing a Post-MBA Company

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My MBA journey at Duke Fuqua came to a close in 2015. During those 2 years I’ve written a lot of content on my thoughts on the MBA and the admissions process with a lens from my experience at Duke, and I feel this blog has pretty robust content on that. Prospective students and current students alike should find the content useful and the feedback I’ve gotten from readers reflects this. 

Now that I’m done, I want to shift the content of my blog to more general post-MBA career development and leadership, since this is what I’m currently going through right now.
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The Difference Between Science and Business

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I’ve had the fortune of meeting with a lot of talented first year MBA students over the past few months. As a recent graduate myself, I enjoyed learning about peoples’ backgrounds and their career ambitions. Sitting here on the plane returning from a recruiting event in North Carolina (I wrote this post in fall 2015), I’ve been reflecting on the exceptional talent that currently exists at the top MBA programs.
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