Tuesday, November 12, 2013

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Anish Kumarswamy talks about Career in Advertising & Marketing

Are you creative? Like to socialize with people? Good at striking a conversation with a newbie or an expert on a range of diverse topics? Are you curious by nature? Do you like observing human behaviour in action? If yes to all or most of the questions above, then a career in Marketing, Advertising or Communications may be your right match. Not only the skills required for becoming a Marketing and Advertising/Communications Professional, we shall also discuss the lifestyle, working hours, job locations and career graph with the Anish Kumarswamy who is into this profession from the past 15 years

Tell us about you in few lines 

I am a Management professional with over a decade and half of experience across multiple industry domains and geographical markets. I have qualified in commerce, technology and marketing including securing a Masters degree in Management from India followed later by also securing Marketing as well as Market Research qualifications from the United Kingdom. I currently work as the General Manager of a Not-For-Profit road safety campaigning organisation called Safety First.

About your profession in few lines ?

Management and in particular marketing and advertising, are often viewed as very glamorous roles and they are - sometimes. However, every bit of that sheen is created using a whole lot of perspiration, dedication and sheer hard work. I have been responsible in my latest role for setting up the organisation from scratch - so pretty much everything from strategy to branding to positioning to policies and implementation including budgeting and financing has been part of the work required. This meant, not only creating the strategies but also rolling the sleeves up and working like anyone at the start of their career.

Life Style of an Advertising / Marketing Professional ?


Career Growth :  Good
Job Satisfaction :  High
Challenge : High
Stress and pressure:  Stressful
Respect and Fame in society: High
Family life : Not enough time for family

Things you like about Being a Advertising & Marketing Professional ?

Creativity: This is not the domain of just advertising folks who are normally termed ‘creative’. Anybody can be creative. In their work area. And sometimes even outside their work area. All it takes is to believe. Remain curious. Think aloud. 
Innovation: Forget the staid lines like “think out of the box”. Remember that even a small change you make in any part of the process of being productive can lead to a more efficient and streamlined product/service/brand. Don’t be afraid to try anything differently. As a civilisation we have reached life as we know it now, due to a host of small but crucial changes made by people like us, over time. 
Flexibility: Life and work are usually highly intertwined and not as separated as one may wish. Yet, it also offers that much more flexibility. Yes, it may appear nice to have  a 9-5 job, but life never gets boring in this profession.
Influence: My professional approach enables me to create products/services/campaigns that influence, change hearts and minds (perspectives, attitudes, behaviours) and make a real difference in the lives of many. A marketer to me, is about being an influential change agent.
Goal oriented: There has to be an end objective for each task, project or organisation and this profession allows you to be goal oriented in terms of both quantitative and qualitative aspects.

Things you don’t like about Advertising & Marketing Profession ?

Intangibility: There are so many variables in the business and while that is fine, it still is a hard to accept fact. A lot of hard work can be swept off rather easily, without even much thought, because most people do not understand how much work went in. It can lead to frustrating moments, but trying to look at the larger picture helps.
Remuneration: Lower than you would expect. Yes, this is the truth. Marketing and Management can pay well, but usually not as well as those who look after the Finances of any organisation. However, there are other perks that do make up a bit for the lower remuneration.

Working hours, holidays , days a week etc of an Advertising & Marketing Professional ?

While my working hours as per the regulation is supposed to be 9 am to 6 pm, there are very few days that I do manage to leave sharp at 6. Work hours tend to get extended, especially in a start-up. On the bright side, there is far more flexibility and one can even work remotely without having to step into the "office" as it were.

Are you engaged in job related work even after working hours ?

Yes, quite often. In my current role, especially considering that social media is active all the time, I have to work within the timings that my "customers/clients/partners" are happy to be engaged in. This quite often means, it would be weekends and late nights.

work location & job availability of marketing & advertising profession in different countries

I currently work in Muscat, Oman. The good thing about being a marketing management professional is that you can transfer your skill sets to another industry and geography relatively easily. The basics don't change. Only the application does.

Please explain us typically, how a career graph of a Advertising & Marketing Professional ( 2yrs,5yrs,10 yrs, 20 yrs and 30 yrs) in terms of designation and pay


Typically a fresh post-graduate may start off as an intern or trainee or at best an executive. 5 years of experience should see you head into the middle management cadre and after 10-15 years you should be near the top. However, there is really no golden rule and time frame. It depends on your risk taking ability, contribution and value to the organisation and perseverance. There are some who adhere to one organisation and they get loyalty benefits with steadier growth, whilst there are others who move to different organisations over relatively shorter period of time, thus managing to jump up to the next level. However, in the end, an undeniable fact is that nobody will want or retain you, unless you can provide true value to them.

Skills and Qualities required to take up Advertising & Marketing as a Career

Hard work: Nothing can change this. Put in the grind and somewhere sooner than later there is a reward.
Smart work: Be sure of what your are doing and why you are doing it.
Team play: Remember, we are interdependent in our jobs and life. Don't think you can accomplish everything by yourself. Maybe even 90% you could, but there is still a 10% that someone, somewhere needs to do.
Spirit of sacrifice: In the end, you have a few decades in which you can make a difference for yourself, your family and your organisation. Choose wisely what you should sacrifice and when.

"Can do / Must do / Will do spirit is an essential requirement in this profession"

Math: You need not be a genius, but it helps if you have the ability to add up the sums as required.

Your suggestion to aspirants what they need to sacrifice and what they get 

This totally depends on your aspirations. For example, if you want to move up the career ladder quicker, then you may have to sacrifice some of the things you love doing/spending time on, because you would now have to use that time for working your way up. Time management is a critical aspect and one that a lot of us fail in. Remember that time is the one finite thing that we can't control. We have only so much of it - use it wisely.

Eligibility Criteria for becoming a Advertising and Marketing Professional

For any decent MBA degree, you have to pass the entrance exam, if short-listed go through Group Discussions and Personal Interview. There are no dearth of colleges and institutes that provide this. Most important is for you to understand yourself. Prepare for the IIMs but settle for a good university. There is no right or wrong here. And always think about how you can apply what you learn.

Name 5 top companies to work for in Advertising & Marketing profession 

Marketing as a profession spans multiple domains. I will suggest an indicative list. This is by no means exhaustive and is only to serve as a reference:
Fast Moving Consumer Goods domain: Unilever, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, etc.
NGO/NPO domain: Green Peace, Oxfam, WWF and so on
Automotive domain: Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Tata, Mahindra & Mahindra, etc.
Advertising domain:
Publicis-Omnicom group (Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA, BBDO, etc.)
WPP group (JWT, Ogilvy & Mather, Contract, etc.)
Interpublic group (McCann, Lowe, DraftFCB, etc.)
Others (Dentsu, Havas, etc.)

Please provide your contact details

LinkedIn: om.linkedin.com/in/anishkumarswamy