What degree should I achieve?

October 28, 2008 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment

Your question: I’m wondering what is the name of the perfect degree for me?

I’m interested in Design and advertising. For example if I was asked to design the poster for a new mascara I would be good at choosing her dress, location, colour schemes and fonts used etc. I wouldn’t mind pitching these sorts of ideas in meetings. I like making things look pretty. I quite like using computers.
I am studying the International Baccaleaureate in the UK and my higher subjects are Theatre, Psychology and Spanish.

What I’m trying to figure out is what job I am looking for and which degree is suitabl for my ambitions.

Our Answer: Well, it sounds like you have a good idea of what you’re looking for (direction is a great thing!) and I appreciate your diverse studies. I have two opinions about the best direction for you and will list them both, along with my rationale.  I would  love to hear from those in the UK (I’m from USA) who might give you better insight, as it applies to the UK job market.

In any event, here are two options, in regards to your choice of degree.

1.  Study what you love and then look for the right career post-graduation.  For example, I think that understanding the psychology of people will help you no matter what career you choose. In the US, many times for marketing jobs, it’s not the undergrad degree you’ve achieved, it’s actually the fact that you’ve graduated that will get that interview for an entry-level position.  So, if you’re interested in a psychology, or in a theatre, degree, I believe that this will help you in life, and will not stop you from getting the first interview.  You’ll be a well-rounded individual and can learn specific marketing tasks on the job.  Just remember that you’ll be starting at the bottom. My first job out of college was as a secretary for a direct marketing firm.

2.  Focus your studies on marketing, advertising, design or communications.  This option means that you’ll spend your time in school learning as much as possible about the field you’d like to enter. I would recommend taking courses in all of these disciplines (marketing, advertising and design) and then decide which you’re best at, and what you enjoy.  Basic courses will help you define which area you’d like to specialize in.

In regards to the job you’re looking for, this really will depend on which area you’d like to focus on.  For example, if you’ve decided to become a designer, you may work for an advertising agency or at an in-house creative team for a firm.  It will become clear when you start looking what positions may be available for a new graduate.  One idea would be to focus your search efforts on those companies that you’re most interested in.  So, if you’d like to work at an ad agency, compile a list of the leading firms in your area and continually check out their websites for the right position for you.  Also, make a habit of checking out the job boards on marketing associations–a great place to find positions and internships.

As a final note–none of these decisions can’t be reversed.  I imagine that you’ll enjoy a variety of jobs and industries throughout your career, and that’s a really positive thing, isn’t it?

Good luck to you!


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