Friday, December 07, 2007

Alternative Careers For The Strathclyde Business School MSc Marketing Graduate

As a fresh graduate, or as a victim of downsizing or just boss-ego firing you, the job seeker becomes acutely aware of how competitive marketing is and also how few good jobs are advertised. Indeed there are few obvious career ladder jobs advertised, with the majority of positions being secretarial, menial or sales related.

The problem is there are just too many internal candidates, streaming in from the sales force and other areas.

You can of course choose not to fight in such a tight arena and instead bet on using your MSc know how in other sectors and functions.

Business Analysis
Customer Services
Project Management

I've blogged on this overall topic and some of the choices above before, so today is just a quick look at purchasing.

Purchasing and procurement is a cinderella function. Entry level jobs can be very boring and administrative and this keeps out the very personality profile for a successful negotiator! It also tends to exclude or preclude the interest of well qualified business graduates from the better schools such as Strathclyde!!! Instead purchasing seems to attract a particularily dull first jobber, either from another function with school leaver origin or from a poorer college.

Why on earth is purchasing seen as so unglamerous? After all, it is shopping girls!!! A job with a serious concern can mean international travel, visits to conferences, being wined and dined...and also using your bossy side to negotiate. You can turn up to work in a bad mood and you don't have to be all smiley and nice to everyone like in sales and marketing! Also with some experience, language development and a tasting course you can get to work in the most glamerous of all --the wine business as a buyer!

On a more serious, career minded, academic note, purchasing and it's big brother " Strategic Procurement" utilise skills in analysing supply, demand, margins, discounts, quality, the market, the supply chain, key benefits etc etc.

Purchasing is changing. Now many departments in larger companies have a strategic procurement department, and many new internet or retail innovators employ category or product managers who spend most of their time buying. Dynamic e-procurement and demand-supply IT solutions (or tools) are now reaching maturity and companies are developing more user friendly interfaces and integrating SAP and so on throughout the whole business and it's customer/supplier interfaces.The type of person who has sat and issued purchase orders and hassled suppliers for contractual penalties need not apply.

I was at interview not long ago with Statoil Hydro for a strategic job and it was really very interesting to give an example for you. It was to analyse internal trends in purchasing and external macro-economics and market conditions to create future policy and shape long term relationships and contracts. In fact it was the type of desk job that is like a mirror image of a marketing job!

Generally said, purchasing is still a little unglamerous. So that makes it time to jump on it!

No comments:

Post a Comment