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  1. #1
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    Advertising as a career or college major?

    For any of you who may have majored in advertising, or may be in the field right now, what are your opinions of it? I'm open to any opinions on this topic, as I'm heavily considering majoring in advertising in college, and possibly trying to get into the field.

    I'm curious about the career especially, because I'm not too familiar with the working environment (the business-type environment). I'd probably be studying through the mass communications department. That's another thing I'm iffy about. Should I go for the business degree even though I'm not too fond of the seriousness involved in studying business? Or would a mass comm. degree be sufficient?

    Again, any feedback and opinions would be great.

  2. #2
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    I was thinking about majoring in advertising for college too, but I ended up going with MIS. If you do major in advertising be prepared to work long hours (60+ a week) and it is a very competitive industry.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    Marketing & Advertising undergraduate degrees are interesting but no more special than any other general business degree. You'll still need just as much practical, real-world experience as the business major and the poli-sci major competing with you for your first "real job".

    As far as what life is like in the field that really depends. On one hand you have traditional marketing either for a brand or agency and will generally start out "putting in your time" as a marketing coordinator or junior level in an account firm and work up from there. Newer to the field is "interactive" advertising which tends to have a slightly easier entry but with so many people out there in it, this is quickly changing. Once you've become established in either it's a matter of finding the right firm or company to work with. Some are very relaxed and informal, others are button up and go by titles. If you have a nack for selling or great number analysis there's a huge demand for your skills in the interactive side of the industry now and it's a good place to be. There's a tremendous amount of work out there in this field and just about every company is involved in some way, shape or form... even Google at the end of the day advertising services company.

    As a note of advice, if you aren't interested in "business" stay away from this field. Marketing is not a matter of deciding which cool idea to promote, at least not until you have a lot of experience under your belt and either work as a strategist or manage others who do the dirty work. For the most part marketing is about running numbers, figuring out how to optimize campaigns and meet business goals and objectives. There's a ton of research and analysis involved and while not everyone does this, just everyone who moves up gets numbers, gets the customer and gets the business mechanics as they are all essential to successful campaigns.

    As far as your work day, that's a function of the job you take, not necessarily the industry you're in. Although if you want to put in "the minimum" stay way from agencies.
    - Ted S

  4. #4
    SitePoint Addict JNKlein's Avatar
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    I'm a digital marketing strategist at one of the big NYC ad agencies. Very few people here majored in advertising; I was a political science major, and another strategist in my group majored in creative writing. He also played in a band for a few years out of school before getting a "real job".

    My advice? Study what interests you. Pursue your passions.

    Whatever passion and deep insight into something totally unrelated to business you can bring to your career is FAR more important than the technical details required to succeed in your position. You can learn how to do the job in a week, but being an intelligent and complete young person is a prerequisite for success.

    Invest in yourself every day and the rest will work out.
    I write about making and promoting websites
    worth caring about at my web strategy blog.

    @joshklein on Twitter!

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNKlein View Post
    My advice? Study what interests you. Pursue your passions.
    Well said. I was also a poli sci major and while I've run into a few business / advertising majors in the interactive space, I don't think I've seen one that worked in the media side of the table. There may come a time when college training for interactive media and marketing makes sense but that's not the case now... and at the end of the day, knowing how people works is the real important part, the details can be filled in.
    - Ted S

  6. #6
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    Just for the record,

    I have a PoliSci degree as well

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict JNKlein's Avatar
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    I should add that I got into marketing strategy after I realized that learning about it was actually my hobby. I'd come home and spend 2-3 hours pouring over marketing blogs, articles, and forums. After a while, I realized I knew more about my "hobby" than some people about their profession, and that I might as well make a career out of something I enjoy doing anyway.

    If advertising doesn't interest you in school, it might just be the classes... but it also might be because you're not interested in advertising.

    Now as for the industry itself; it's much more informal than most other businesses, and there is a large "shmoozing" aspect to it. But you do need to have a seriousness of purpose, and you're ultimately slave to the whims of your clients.

    It's not the kind of industry where you stay in one company your whole life (usually). Most promotions are horizontal and verticle; you switch companies and move into a more senior role.

    And if you lose a client, the whole team working on that project might have to be concerned about losing their jobs. When companies go through tough times and there isn't enough business, they can't hold onto more employees than they have work for for long.

    If you've seen Mad Men on AMC, that is a romanticized version. It is the ad world converted for the big screen, but there is a nugget of truth to much of it. The sexism is gone, but the politics and bravado occasionally remain. Then again, that's true anywhere.
    I write about making and promoting websites
    worth caring about at my web strategy blog.

    @joshklein on Twitter!


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