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Switching Careers from Marketing: Do You Need an MBA?

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Switching careers may be one of the defining characteristics of the COVID pandemic. It started out as “The Great Resignation”, when record numbers of workers quit their jobs during the crisis, either voluntarily or having been forced to do so due to lockdowns. Resignations were highest amongst mid-career individuals, together with those in the technology and healthcare sectors. Nevertheless, other sectors of the economy have also been impacted.

Some Background to Switching Careers

Coming out of the COVID lockdowns, The Great Resignation morphed into what is now being called “The Great Reshuffle”. Millions of people, having adapted to the “new normal” of remote work, have decided that working from home provides a better work-life balance and a lifestyle that better suits their values.

What About Marketers?

The advent of the digital age together with rapid advances in technology have opened up new skills sets and career paths for savvy marketers who want — or need — to keep up with the latest trends. These trends are almost exclusively digital and therefore perfectly suited to the new norm of remote and hybrid working environments.

They include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, digital marketing analysis, PR and communications, content writing and customer success management.

Clearly, there are as many opportunities for marketers to switch careers within the marketing role as there are for them to move out of the field altogether.

But for argument’s sake and in support of the findings of the Great Reshuffle — which did see some people changing their jobs entirely — what alternative careers can a marketer turn to, and would an MBA help in rebooting their career?

Wants and Needs Have Changed

Forced resignations and remote work have triggered widespread reevaluation of people’s work-life choices. Many have realized the opportunity to start their own businesses, sometimes in sectors with which they are familiar, but also often outside it.

The latter may be especially true for the mid-career professionals who have the financial means and skills base from which to shape a career in line with their true passions.

“People are finding jobs that give them the right pay, benefits and work arrangements in the longer term,” says Professor Anthony Klotz, the person who coined the term “The Great Resignation” in 2021. People are seeking the ability “to fit work into their lives, instead of having lives that squeeze into work.

Is an Advanced Degree Part of this Mix?

A background in marketing usually comes with a mix of the following skills: communications skills to build personal brands, quantitative skills to analyze market data and manage complex social media systems and project management skills to launch new campaigns.

These skills are transferable to a wide variety of different career opportunities outside of marketing. So, is an MBA necessary, given the time and effort (not to mention the significant expense) required to complete the qualification?

There is no clear-cut answer to this question, as it depends on whether you intend to remain in an industry with which you are already familiar; and secondly, on whether an MBA would add value to your portfolio in a way that justifies the time, effort and expense.

Staying Within the Industry

While your marketing skills will be useful in many other roles, an MBA will boost your career prospects in two ways:

1. It will fill any gaps in your current knowledge and skills base, providing insight into how current skills may be applied in other areas of business.

2. It will send a message to employers that you are willing and able to broaden your perspective by becoming a more rounded leader. It also demonstrates that you are ambitious to progress within the industry outside of your present role.

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Greenfields vs Brownfields

In a way, switching careers from something you’re familiar with (such as marketing) to a different field is akin to greenfield and brownfield investments. In a brownfield investment, a company purchases or leases an existing facility; in a greenfield investment, the company builds its own new facility from the ground up.

An MBA will certainly help you to build a new career from the ground up, especially if you’re thinking of starting your own business. It will also tick a significant box on your resume when it comes to prospective employers, letting them know that you’ve covered all management bases.


An additional benefit always associated with grad school — either full-time or part-time — is the connections that one forms with fellow students and faculty. Networking opportunities are often extended to senior business leaders and alumni invited to address student conferences, such as the “Learning from Leaders” program at EU Business School.

Where to From Marketing?

A marketing background may be one of the surest backgrounds from which to launch a new career. Selling yourself and your brand, together with promoting strong customer support and relationships, is a reliable way to ensure success.

Whether an MBA is needed to add value to your portfolio will depend on you —whether you have the confidence, time and financial resources to complete the qualification, and whether you think an MBA is needed to get your foot in the door.

EU Business School offers a wide range of on-campus and digital MBAs. Visit our website to learn more about our cutting-edge programs.

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