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How to make the switch?

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Joined: 06 Jul 2012
Posts: 2
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 0 [0], given: 0

How to make the switch? [#permalink] New post 06 Jul 2012, 05:25
I've lurked here off and on sporadically for a few years. I was hoping I could get some advice on the decision I recently made to switch careers. I have decided I would like a position in advertising but am not sure how to make the switch. A little background on myself:

-BA in Economics c/o '02 (Spelman College)
-GPA: 3.4
-Worked in marketing research as a project manager for 3.5 years
-Working/have worked in clinical research as a project coordinator for the past 6 years

I left the marketing research position when the company folded and decided to try something different. My dilemma right now mostly revolves around finances; I am single w/o children but I still have student loan debt from undergrad! And I don't want to take on anymore. I just moved from the Atlanta area to Chicago, IL and took a position with I was hoping to get into school here.

Northwestern will pay up to 10k a year in tuition for employees to attend grad school here, so if I wanted to earn my MBA from here I could potentially. However, the 10k doesn't go very far because each class is roughly $5500 :/ That's like 2 classes a year, and at that rate I'd be in grad school for a long time. I could probably afford to pay for only about 1 class a year at this point, so at the most I could do 3 courses per calendar year.

The university also offers a certficate in Advertising, which I considered for a quick second, but felt like the time would be better spent on an MBA. It is slightly appealing though, because I could finish it quickly and at basically no cost.

Now that I feel like I've rambled on a bit lol....what would you do if you were me? A person that wanted to continue their education but can't afford to stop working full time to do so due to cost? Any creative solutions to making this kind of switch in the meantime? FWIW I'm interested in working in account planning or copywriting:

On a side note, I have been throwing around the idea of applying for marketing positions now, but the issue is I figure I'd have to start over if I did that, and I can't take much of a pay cut right now. Maybe there are some changes I can make to my resume that will help (ie emphasize former marketing research position, any advertising things done at work, how I advertised for my blog, etc.)?
Joined: 06 Jul 2012
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Re: How to make the switch? [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2012, 07:47
Status: Starting applications, writing essays
Affiliations: AKPsi, ISA
Joined: 17 Sep 2012
Posts: 24
Location: United States (CA)
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Technology
GMAT 1: 730 Q47 V45
GPA: 3.53
WE: Business Development (Manufacturing)
Followers: 2

Kudos [?]: 8 [0], given: 4

Re: How to make the switch? [#permalink] New post 16 Oct 2012, 19:36
Tough decision to make. Doesn't sound like full time studies is an option for you, so the question is how many classes can you handle while working full time. If three is the right answer, go for that. If you can handle more my advice is to check out options for student loans. The sooner you complete your MBA, and move towards your new career, the sooner you can start moving up the pay scale - assuming you work hard and dedicate yourself not only to doing well n your studies, but also networking and making sure that you have a job lined up by the time you graduate.
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Joined: 10 Apr 2007
Posts: 4318
Location: Back in Chicago, IL
Schools: Kellogg Alum: Class of 2010
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Re: How to make the switch? [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2012, 07:22
So I have no background in Advertising per se, but my brother is an executive at an agency, wife works for one, and have a lot of friends in the industry. While in b-school, I gave a lot of network contacts to some classmates so can give you some insight into transitioning via an MBA. The switch completely depends on what you think you want to do in advertising. Want to be a creative and go become a copy writer after school, sorry not going to happen. Strategy planning on the client side will be more doable but also a stretch without the background. Accounts, probably not an area you would want to go into. Corporate type support roles such as strategy, finance, HR, etc probably the easiest path in with an MBA but not as focused on the clients so may not be what you are looking for.

Pay in advertising is like banking on a smaller level. Undergrads get paid slave wages and can't even get by in NY, they hire a lot and burn out tons of people. If you advance quickly and don't exit the industry you can reach a high level where the pay is extremely good if you are a top performer. Job security can be iffy for some people, lose a big account and your job may follow. Make it to the executive level and you will make a pretty substantial income and have a lot of input doing what many people think is a really cool job. The cultures vary greatly but tend to be very liberal, you can have neck tattoos and a mohawk, and it wont hurt your career depending on your company and function.

The sticking point for most people is the salary range and entry point is not as attractive as many other post-MBA paths. Most agencies are not huge operations, it is like consulting in a way where you have some huge ones but then a lot of smaller niche agencies. However, tons of agencies are owned by large advertising holding companies (Omnicom, WPP, Interpublic and Publicis). I wouldn't try to talk you out of it, because I know how successful some people can be and the life that can lead to. Hours can be really demanding and travel can be extensive depending on the job. Security is not always that great, but if you build up a good network and reputation finding a landing spot isn't that challenging.

I would reach out to your network and find some people who work in it or used to. Pick their brains, don't be afraid to find Kellogg alums at agencies and reach out and ask them if they think it would be a smart move. Leo Burnett is right downtown and there are a fair number of alums there, use Linkedin and just ask. People who aren't in the typical MBA career paths tend to love to talk about it more than people at MBB, just because they aren't bothered about it a lot and if they are passionate about what they do they will want to share.

Kellogg Class of 2010...still active and willing to help. However, I do not do profile reviews, don't offer predictions on chances and am far to busy to review essays, so save the energy of writing me a PM seeking help for these. If I don't respond to a PM that is not one of the previously mentioned trash can destined messages, please don't take it personally I get so many messages I have a hard to responding to most. The more interesting, compelling, or humorous you message the more likely I am to respond.
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Re: How to make the switch?   [#permalink] 24 Oct 2012, 07:22
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How to make the switch?

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