Full Circle Career Coaching

12/12/2013 1:32:00 PM

Survey of Top Marketing Executives Highlights Secrets of Success


Thirty-six of the nation's top marketing executives recently gathered at the seventh annual Marketing Executive Career Coaching Program at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University to share their secrets of success with MBA students. Throughout the course of the two-day program, students participated in several different events with the executives. Among them: a cocktail reception, one-on-one private meetings with two or three different executives, a luncheon, and an executive / faculty roundtable on the role of innovation in marketing.

Top marketing executives with backgrounds from companies like PepsiCo, Coors Brewing, Unilever, SC Johnson, ARAMARK, Levi Strauss, Darden, and Amazon conducted one-on-one coaching sessions to help students sharpen their communication and interview skills, as they prepare to compete for the best jobs in marketing in the U.S. and globally.

“Having a strong mentor is a major part of not only the MBA experience, but it’s something that will impact you for the rest of your career,” said Warren Ellish, visiting senior lecturer of marketing at Johnson, CEO of Ellish Marketing Group and the founder and host of this annual program. “We know the value of strong mentors and the insights they provide our students, and we strive to make these executive / student connections every day.”

A Peek Inside Success

At the event, Johnson at Cornell surveyed these top executives to get an inside perspective on what it takes to succeed in today's rapidly changing economy. Out of 36 executives participating in the event, twenty-six completed the survey, providing a response rate of 72 percent. When it comes to success, 88 percent of those surveyed indicated that talent was the most important attribute, with personal networking coming in at a distant 12 percent.

Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents also indicated that students need to have a much better grasp of their personal value proposition -- what makes them personally stand out; 35 percent indicated that students need to understand the importance of organizational politics to get ahead.

The program and survey also provided a venue for the executives to tackle some common misconceptions about marketing. Two thirds (67 percent) of respondents said the biggest misconception that MBA students have about marketing as a profession was that low analytical skills are required. And a whopping 92 percent stated that leadership skills are critical to success, while 53 percent stated that they wished someone had given them the advice to develop more of these skills when they started their careers.

An overwhelming consensus of these executives pointed to the hottest growth sectors in the economy for marketing students. Growth sectors include healthcare and technology, financial services, and CPG as holding the greatest promise for the future of marketing. One executive in particular pointed specifically to disruptive and innovative technologies that can apply to many different industries.

Career Coaching Provides an Edge

The Career Coaching program at Johnson allows senior marketing executives the opportunity to share their career experience with MBA students and offer their perspective on the industry. Their passion for marketing and for supporting tomorrow’s industry leaders brings them back year after year.

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