Interview with a Marketing Manager
Please read the instruction and do accordingly. Please let me know if there is anything that is unclear. My major is Business Management, Marketing to be specific. Thank you!
In a normal job interview, a potential employer interviews you to assess whether you are a good match for a particular position. But in an informational interview, you are the one doing the interviewing. You are meeting with someone in a field you would like to pursue, in order to learn more about that industry.
Although this paper is short (4-5 pages, double-spaced), it has several components you must carefully consider. These include:
1) choosing an interview subject,
2) requesting an interview,
3) developing interview questions,
4) doing the interview itself, and
5) writing up your findings.
Step 1: Choosing an interview subject
Whoever you choose, their job should be one that interests you, in a field or profession that you're considering entering yourself once you graduate. This person should not be someone you already know or have worked for (e.g. a family member, family friend, past or present employer). Requesting an interview from a stranger is part of the assignment.
If you have someone in mind, but are unsure if they would be appropriate for the purposes of this paper, consult with your professor.
Step 2: Requesting an interview
UC—Berkeley (https://career.berkeley.edu/Info/InfoInterview.stm) has excellent advice about informational interviews, including a sample e-mail to send to your potential interview subject (https://career.berkeley.edu/Info/SampleRequestLetter.pdf).
You may be reluctant to cold call (or more likely, "cold e-mail") someone you don't know. Don't be! The informational interview is a standard practice, and most professionals are flattered to be asked. If they are older and/or sufficiently advanced in their fields, chances are they have done several of these interviews in the past and will not be at all surprised by your request, especially if you say you are doing this as part of a class.
It is vital, though, that you give individuals enough time to answer your questions. Requests for last-minute conversations may be met with a cold shoulder! You also want to leave yourself enough time in case the first person you approach doesn't have time or simply doesn't respond. Do not be offended if the first person you ask says no. Keep in mind that people are busy, and it is very common for people who do international work to leave the country for weeks at a time. Simply thank them for considering your request, and approach someone else.
If you need help finding an interview subject, e-mail your professor or set up an appointment with a counselor at the Career Services office.
Step 3: Developing interview questions
The questions you ask are up to you, but they should be career related. Common questions asked during an informational interview include:
How did you become interested in this field?
What kind of education or training does this field require?
What are your main responsibilities?
What are some common career paths in this industry?
Can you describe the profile of someone recently hired as an entry-level employee in your company?
What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter this field?
For many more potential questions, see Katherine Hansen's 200 Great Informational Interview Questions to Choose From (http://www.activate-ed.org/sites/default/files/resources/200_Great_Informational_Interview_Questions.pdf).
Informational interviews should be no more than 20-30 minutes, so be sure to choose the questions that interest you most. You don't want to run out of things to talk about or find that you have insufficient information to write your paper, but neither do you want to tax your interview subject. Five to eight open-ended questions is probably a good ballpark figure.
Step 4: The interview!
Informational interviews may be conducted in person, over the phone, by Skype or its equivalent, or by e-mail. You should ask your interview subject which method s/he prefers, and follow his or her lead. Keep in mind that older individuals may prefer to meet in person. (Obviously, if your subject is in another country, this will probably not be an option!)
If you do meet in person, dress professionally, as though you were interviewing for a job – no jeans, T-shirts, or other casual attire. Even if you are meeting "virtually," adopt a professional tone. Address your subject as Mr., Ms., or Dr. ___, and remember to thank them for their time. When the interview is over, send a follow-up note thanking them again.
Step 5: Writing up your findings
If you did your interview in person or by phone without recording it, the most important thing is that you write up your notes immediately! You will be amazed how quickly you forget things, and how little information your notes provide if you wait weeks to start writing.
Although interviews can be conducted by e-mail, make sure you re-write them in narrative form. Don't just cut-and-paste your Q-&-A. (This is true of in-person interviews as well.)
In other words, your paper should NOT read like this:
Q: What educational background did you have before beginning this work?
A: I studied underwater basket-weaving at the University of Okoboji.
It SHOULD read like this, in third-person narrative form:
Before entering the tap dancing profession, Ms. Smith studied underwater basket-weaving at the University of Okoboji.
After describing your interview, add at least one paragraph evaluating the experience. Were your major questions answered to your satisfaction? If you have any new questions to explore, what are they? Did this interview make you more or less likely to want to pursue the field in question? Based on this information, are there any new steps you plan to take in terms of your personal goals and career planning?
Papers should be 4-5 pages double-spaced, follow the guidelines listed above
Interview with a Marketing Manager
Owning a business has been part of my dream and career path for a long time. However, the journey has to be based on getting an education in the right field of business management with a major in marketing and gaining experience in the area. To know what to anticipate in the marketing manager's work, this interview took place through a zoom meeting with one of the marketing managers in a major electronics company in the US. The interview was scheduled through a phone call and follow-up through email, where the time and zoom meeting was planned for 30 minutes. Although it was hard at first, getting time to prepare the questions to ask within the time was critical to know what it entails to qualify for such a job, the challenges in the industry, and how best to grow in the career birth.
The first question was centered on how the manager developed an interest in the field and what interested him most about marketing that has made him stay in the career for long. The manager answered that, at first, he never thought he would be in sales or marketing. However, after high school, he got a job as a salesperson before enrolling in college. The interactions with customers each day and the ability to convince them to buy items through personal selling inspired him the most. He changed his ambitions then and decided to do a course in sales and marketing. He mentioned that most of the marketing initiatives were through advertisements in newspapers, local stations, and personal selling initiatives. At the time, social media and television were beginning to open up new marketing channels, and being able to engage with customers and maintain their loyalty was his biggest inspiration.
Secondly, I inquired more about his training over time, especially in the era where big data was a significant basis for marketing initiatives. Initially, this question was not part of the process but a follow-up to the previous discussion and asked about the training and education required for the marketing job. The manager replied that at first, he studied sales and marketing the whole working as a sales person in a store involving personal selling. Then, however, he got an internship at another large company, where he learned more about using other marketing channels to reach customers in various segments. After completing his undergraduate, he was placed in the firm as part of the marketing team, mainly involved in analyzing customer experiences online and then using the demographics and findings to develop marketing initiatives. With time, he took an extra short course in business analytics where he learned how to use the social media and online presence of customers through their website to develop more insights into customer demands and better planning of inventory and effective marketing initiatives and outcomes. In this case, the utilization of the training in the business where he was proved to be cost-effective and more successful as it significantly boosted sales in the company leading to his promotions. As he was approaching the managerial job, he took a Master's degree in business management, focusing on the role of technology in marketing. Two years later, after completing his master's, he became a manager after the promotion of his predecessor to another position. One unique thing about his choice of education training was that current trends inspired it in marketing that required additional skills, especially in the era of technology. He hopes to grow in the company to become vice president and hopefully chief executive officer before retiring.
The previous answer was lengthy as it was open-ended and had covered some of the following questions, such as career paths in the industry based on his experience. However, he still is asked about his primary responsibilities as a manager and some of the career paths available for a person who has studied marketing as a major in business management. The manager answered that many jobs depend on the concentration of an individual. Some of them included being a salesperson, a data analysis of market trends, sales or marketing managerial jobs, and even with time being an overall manager of a company. He also mentioned that most businesses across all disciplines need some form of marketing to help promote their products and raise awareness of these products to the public to influence a rise in sales. Therefore, choosing which kind of company one is interested in also varies. The manager indicated that he is primarily involved in heading the marketing department regarding the responsibilities. Most of the tasks include analyzing the new brands and holding meetings on how best to market the products to various departments. In addition, he conducts performance appraisals on the junior staff and sets sales targets for each sales executive and representative. He is also engaged in analyzing market trends and, together with the marketing team deciding on the best methods to reach the new customers online and offline. Every quarter, the manager also develops a report to the top managerial team regarding the sales progress. The resources allocated to the department for marketing initiatives are also under his office; hence he has to ensure that the investments in marketing initiatives are worth it to avoid being a department that makes losses.
I then asked the manager to describe what it entails for an entry-level employee at the company and any advice for a person interested in the marketing manager career. He responded by saying that mostly they retain interns who work in the company, especially those that are most productive, and sometimes hire from outside when there is a vacant position. However, the entry-level requires someone who has done a business course. Therefore, if the applicants have experience in marketing or have added business analytics training, it is more beneficial to the company. He then indicated that hard work and the ability to show leadership in the promotion strategies and return on the investments are crucial for a person rising to the managerial position in the company.
Overall, the interview was good and very informative about a career in marketing. I learned a lot about the expectations of employers in the field and current trends and needed skills to become an effective marketer, such as the role of business analytics and online customer engagement. This highly influenced my career path. Although I am studying business management with a focus on the marketing major, I intend to add more short courses and electives on business analytics and schedule foreshadowing to learn firsthand how best to utilize the skills learned for effective marketing outcomes.
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