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Unsure about what to do after my degree

  • 23-11-2021 10:36pm
    Registered Users Posts: 288 ✭✭

    I'm in the final year of my Business degree, not entirely sure how but I won't question it.

    IF all goes to plan I'll graduate this coming Summer.

    My area of specialism is Marketing, fascinated by it, I don't really care all that much about the other topics (Law and Management have been alright), even hated some of them.

    I've spoken to lecturers about the degree and about my plans post graduation, all signs point towards a career in marketing.

    The thing is I have a lot of hang ups surrounding the ethics and morality of marketing, there's just a lot of practices within marketing that I don't agree with, and I certainly don't want to play a part in implementing them.

    Stupid stuff that I'm well aware is stupid, but it still annoys me - portraying gambling as a way to spice up watching a game while you're at the pub, but there's a bit more to it than that.

    I know I could go my whole career without marketing gambling or the likes, but there's just so much crap in it and I only see it getting worse with AI and more sophisticated data collection/analysis, very interesting but at times ethically dubious (in my opinion).

    That's been an overarching issue in my studies, I don't care for most of the course, hate some of it, and the one part I'm really interested - I don't want to work in!

    I also liked Law, but I've only done 15 credits of Law vs 40+ credits of Marketing.

    I mentioned my dilemma to my Marketing lecturer, she asked if I'd ever considered pursuing a postgrad. She thinks I'd be a good candidate. I'd get to study marketing, consumer behaviour and all that actually interests me, plus there's also the possibility of teaching Marketing too, which I also think I'd quite enjoy.

    But I've wanted to/tried to drop out numerous times, constantly looked to change, I've just generally always looking for a way out of the degree.. How likely am I to actually stick the likes of a PhD? The only saving grace is it's an entirely different ball game to undergrad, research vs accounting exams and the likes.

    I'm considering a Masters in Digital Marketing, whereby I'd also complete dissertation, rather than the industry project. Almost as a step towards a full blown PhD, without jumping in at the deep end.

    The only other area I'm really considering is Law but haven spoken to recent graduates, it doesn't as appealing as it did at first glance, plus that's a lot of commitment towards something I've only had a brief introduction to.

    I'm going to have a talk with the careers office in the college as well as the head of that specific marketing programme who's recently completed a PhD too but I thought I'd ask here in the mean time..

    Any ideas?


  • Registered Users Posts: 237 ✭✭89897

    You seem to be looking at marketing in a promotional only setting. There's a world of marketing that's nothing to do with promotion. There's also a world of marketing that nothing to do with pushing products and price gouging etc in certain industries. Gambling is a terribly unscrupulous industry where people are preyed on.

    You could look at consumer behaviour, data, supply chain, logistics, loyalty, psychology etc. The thing is you cant gain a specialty until you get some practical work in the area.

    Also your degree will be a business degree, you dont necessarily have to just do marketing. I did a masters in marketing but dont work in marking at all, however absolutely everything I've learned applies and its helped massively in getting to what i do now.

    Also consider travel and getting out and seeing the world a bit, its every bit as important in learning and development.

  • Registered Users Posts: 88 ✭✭tobottherobot

    Have a look at some graduate programs in multinationals... many of them will do rotations and expose you to various areas and it'll be easier to understand the parts your like and don't like and therefore, what you might want to do long-term. Also, I wouldn't necessarily worry about not liking certain subjects just yet - academia and the real world way of doing things can be miles apart so I wouldn't rule out anything based on how much you like lectures...

    Being unsure about what to do next at this stage is common - at least your thinking about it early enough to put a plan in place.

    Good luck!

  • Registered Users Posts: 680 ✭✭✭houseyhouse

    Doing a PhD is intense and it’s very difficult to get permanent work in academia no matter how good you are so you should be sure you’ll enjoy the degree itself before taking it up. I don’t know much about marketing but presumably you can specialise within it. Could you specialise in something you don’t have moral objections to, such as public health messaging or the voluntary sector?

    Post edited by houseyhouse on

  • Registered Users Posts: 288 ✭✭ifeelabreeze

    I definitely am I guess that's down to bias because that's the marketing I'm primarily exposed to.

    I spoke to my marketing lecturer again and she was really pushing the digital marketing masters, it's a relatively new masters programme and in fairness looks like a great course and I know the college has been pumping resources into it.

    Outside of marketing I'm not too sure what really interests me, I largely disliked my degree and I can't say I'd go for it again, that being said I haven't a clue what I'd do instead.. I've considered Software Dev but I think my thinking behind that has been 'it's a great skill to have, great career prospects, try it, if you've a knack for it great', rather than it being something I actually want to do.

    I'd like to climb the corporate ladder irrespective of what I go into, I want to get to that level of executive, strategic decision making.

    While with academia, I'd be quite content just diving into marketing research and eventually teaching as well.

  • Registered Users Posts: 237 ✭✭89897

    Im sure the Masters is a great programme but if you're leaning away from Marketing be aware that for a year you are going to be intensely immersed and focused in Marketing.

    If your ambition is to climb the corporate ladder in whatever field then something like a masters in strategy, innovation, project management etc will give you a full rounded learning. That being said it will still all depend on your work experience, career choices and life choices outside of academia. Its great to have an academic focus but that ambitious drive is what will get you places in whatever you choose (or fall into) work wise.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 288 ✭✭ifeelabreeze

    I actually spoke to my management lecturer about my choices today, I get along quite well with him so I thought there was no harm asking.

    He straight up told me - do your accounting exams, if you can tolerate them at all get it done and it'll open up amply opportunities in management, everything up to C suite.

    Which is further removed from marketing.. I'd love to research and develop a deeper understanding for Consumer Psychology and all that goes with it, but beyond the research (and possibility of teaching), the working world doesn't appeal to me right off the bat.

  • Registered Users Posts: 691 ✭✭✭jmlad2020

    If you are unsure, finish your course, there is no rush to life. Take a year out, work in a newsagents, a bar or a strip club.

    You will come across the right "marketing" job eventually. One you would never had imagined existed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,050 ✭✭✭Markus Antonius

    I agree with this. I work in the medical device manufacturing industry and the marketing team pretty much dictate everything that happens in the company as they are the ones most in contact with the medical staff.

  • Registered Users Posts: 288 ✭✭ifeelabreeze

    I'm 24, and unless I'm pursuing a masters programme I have no intention of living with my parents this time next year!

    I also want to get started into my career, taking a year out is something I'd only really consider if I was reapplying for a masters programme or the likes.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    If you're interested in law, now is the perfect time to pursue it. Go where your interests lie.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,138 ✭✭✭✭B.A._Baracus

    For what it's worth op you sound alright. You say interest in marketing but hate the morally ethic stuff with it. I knew a few marketers in my time and most, of course not all, are just BS'ers, liars or users. Just attracts that type of person. At least in my experience anyways.

    But, it has to be said you are only 24. You're at that age where you'll start to change. Like cop on more. Not to impy your dumb but there's an age where people harden up a bit and start seeing the world in a different light. So you hate a few aspects of marketing now. Give it a few years ;)

  • Registered Users Posts: 44 Crank Stain

    I know you said you want to start into a career, but if you are considering a masters and you like marketing you might like the area of behavioral economics, the theories around the decisions and choices people make.

    I considered a Masters in this topic a few years ago in Sterling in Scotland but life took a different path. At the time nowhere here did it but I think UCD and others have a course on it by now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 146 ✭✭DJ_Eoghan

    As an employer, I would generally say that I value experience more than qualifications, and I worked in the arena of marketing and finance. I would be more impressed by a masters if achieved during a career rather than someone who'd continued through it academically. I have done a postgrad in digital marketing, and while useful, the content and knowledge gets old very quick, so it has a limited shelf life.

    Finally, I'd echo Crank Stain's comments re: behaviourial economics. It's definitely an area where you could carve out a niche for yourself by being an SME (subject matter expert). On the downside, I would say that the market for it is much more limited than it should be e.g. most businesses don't have a clue about it and aren't hiring to fill roles in it. I tend to find that the people who are most into it tend to work in the digital execution side of marketing e.g. webmasters/designers, and political parties. That may well all have changed in 2/3 years time, so you might be coming to the market at the right time. Also, I think that's the kind of skillset that would lend itself to setting up a small consulting business, as that is the kind of skillset that I think companies are more likely to contract for than hire.

  • Registered Users Posts: 475 ✭✭PHG

    Hi OP,

    Do what you want to do and pursue it. A Masters degree in general does help (it helped me tbh) and can be used to enter most graduates programs even if not related to your study.

    I want to make a specific point though. Your Management Lecturers opinion about the accounting exams is BS. They only think this because that where their mates are. I have consulted for some large financial institutions in Ireland and around Europe and the majority of C level do not have accountancy exams. I work in a different sector now and barely any/if any outside of the CFO have accountancy exams. Academia, which I do really believe is very much needed, is not real life though. Not all theory works in practice.

    If memory serves me correctly, I remember reading and article saying most people will change career at least 3 times in their lifetime, so no matter what you do, it won’t be a life decision! It is always good to get some diversity and perspective in different industries.

    Two final points you may want to consider:

    • When things get bad, marketing are one of the first for the chopping board
    • Quickest way to C level is to start your own business!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,059 ✭✭✭DubCount

    Accountancy Exams are probably not the answer in spite of what your lecturer says. Professional Accountancy exams are incredibly difficult (its hard to even describe what they are like), even if accountancy is "your thing". Trying them if its not "your thing" is madness. Sure if you want to be a CFO, then you probably have to go there, but for other c suite roles, there are better ways. Personally, I would get some marketing experience and then do a part time MBA. I reckon there are more MBAs in C Suite positions than Accountancy qualifications.

  • Registered Users Posts: 823 ✭✭✭Liberty_Bear

    My own experience is that you might have a look at the civil service. I have moved my way up the ranks in various guises and in various departments. THe beauty of it is once you are in a positioj 2+ years you can aim under mobility to move to an area you might like. Take a look at where there are a number of vacancies. I would advise to go for Executive Officer and go from there. It gives you people management and then also will equip you with skills . Any advice needed just reply on here and I will respond to it on here (might benefit others too!)

    Best wishes