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Marketing students disappoint on the last day of Markex – Cape Town. August 29, 2011

Posted by warwicksworld in Uncategorized.
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Markex Cape Town, after a gap of three years, returned to Cape Town’s CTICC.
In spite of years of success in Johannesburg – Cape Town did not exactly rush to Markex for new ideas and innovations. After two relatively poorly attended days, tertiary students were allowed in on Thursday. But adding a lot of colour, life and zest is no substitute for cerebral deficiencies as marketing students trawled through the stands looking for free gifts and samples! What’s free requests were driving exhibitors crazy! By and large the exhibitors I spoke to were quite prepared to explain to students the business concept supporting their products and services – If only the students would enquire! I mean how many caps, water bottles, lanyards and other promotional items do you actually need?

One unfortunate fellow pitched up at the http://www.bizassist.co.za stand and said – I want to get into advertising – do you think it’s a good move? His three year diploma finishes in November and he wants to work for a company that that can teach him – proudly stating that Marketing, Research and Consumer Behaviour were his courses; and can I help him because his lecturers are not able to point him in the right direction.
Relishing the opportunity to ‘take back the streets’ and thinking to myself that this sounded a bit like a 1990’s standard issue marketing text book approach , I said here is your plan:

1) Remember that everything you have been taught is available free on the internet (And of course http://www.bizassist.co.za
2) Everyone else studying has, by-and-large, been taught the same material; 50% of which will be no longer relevant within a year.
3) You are all graduating with the same qualifications – with the same CV’s which says absolutely nothing about your passion and commitment.
4) As far as companies are concerned when training staff – Passion and Commitment will always trump Intelligence.
5) Offer your services for no or minimal pay for the first 3 months. Then they will know you are serious!
6) The ultimate differentiator companies are faced with when going through a pile of CV’s is to show that you have a critical mind, can formulate a plan and communicate it.

At this stage I could see that he was reeling under the pressure and confusion – thoughts of his “Single mom/parent” paying for a life changing marketing course was rushing through his mind – and was seeming like a waste of time and money.

“So how do I change that?” he said.

Easy, get published. The world is engaging with each other on a daily basis. Go back to your lecturers and tell them to challenge all the final year students to write a 500 word essay on any small business marketing topic and submit it for publishing – to websites, article aggregators, magazines and newspapers.

Dismay and shock almost overwhelmed the poor chap. Interpreting his lack of writing skills as a serious problem. I jumped in and said don’t worry about grammar and style – all media companies have sub editors who can ‘fix up’ articles. Relief quickly set in.

One more point I said – noticing that I still had his attention but that maybe it was all a bit much.

Did you ever consider that you should have quit whilst you were ahead?

So I went for the jugular. The day you were accepted for a College/University- MBA program was the most profitable day of your life. You had been assessed, evaluated and approved on your individual merits. That should have formed part of your CV and then you should be researching the net daily and offering your services as an intern for no pay for the first 3 months. Financially speaking , from then on its all downhill.

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Comments»

1. Tony - September 1, 2011

My experience is that students will ‘qualify’ and then EXPECT the highest salaries when really they are leaving university / training college in order to start their really learning of marketing. Sadly it is, in my opinion, the educators who lead the students on to EXPECT all perks and high salaries from the first day they walk into a company. FREE SAMPLES – yep that is about the norm for a student.

warwicksworld - September 2, 2011

You are right but raising students expectations. But with a culture of ‘Internship’ returning slowly to South-Africa – maybe educators will become more truthful to their students. Not quite sure this will happen in a hurry though.

2. Ron Silke - September 1, 2011

Warwick, I couldn’t agree with you more! I’ve been in the marketing game for over 40 years both as a professional marketer and college lecturer and my last few batches of students have been pretty awful. I’ve tried to explain the marketing concept to them over and over, told them how to find work, how to write professional CVs, etc. and they just don’t seem to be interested. Why they do marketing orientated courses like the IMM I just do not understand! Every student wants a flashy car, flashy office and wants to do as little as possible……..

3. warwicksworld - September 2, 2011

Your point about why they do it – is interesting because the student who asked me for help – seemed to be set on working with a ‘Red Bull’ type of advertising account. Maybe that type of mind set – just says it all. Personally I am still trying to get my head around the question about whether I thought it was a good ‘move’ or not!


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