Tuesday, November 24, 2009

'Marketing MBA better than finance MBA'

I believe marketing is important and more critical than finance in any business activity. Even the success of financial services (like banking and insurance) and products like loans and credit cards are dependent on how well they are marketed as there is not much difference in the interest rates and charges.
We can see how certain new generation banks like ICICI have succeeded in their marketing programmes. Though one cannot undermine the importance of finance, it is marketing that is essential for the success of any business enterprise.
As for job opportunities, the initial jobs are almost equally good in both streams. As one gets more experience, senior positions in finance generally demand additional professional qualifications like CA, CS, ICWAI and CFA. In the case of marketing, experience and results matter -- not additional qualifications.
The big debate is not which one is better; it should be: what is the aptitude of the candidate? People who have an eye for detail and are research-oriented can go for a finance MBA, while those who have excellent communication skills and have an outgoing personality should opt for marketing.

The best choice according to me is neither finance nor marketing -- it should HR!
With an increased focus on people issues, HR guys have everything going for them. It is a fact that entry level jobs in HR are pathetic but, after two or three years in the profession, one will find enough opportunities. There is an ever increasing demand for experienced HR professionals.
In fact, in the long run, they have much higher compensation levels/ better positions in management as compared to either marketing or finance.

What are the qualities one should have to make it big in HR? One would obviously need patience and perseverance. Someone who is passionate about resolving people issues will be the right candidate for pursuing a career in HR.

I think a holistic business perspective comes from exposure to all areas -- finance, marketing, operations, strategy, etc.

I guess this is why learning is so comprehensive in those business schools where there is no rigid classification of subject areas into 'majors' and 'minors'. I think a B-school participant should get a chance to pick and choose subjects from different areas (finance, marketing, etc) and get an ideal mix for himself/ herself.

As they say, the big picture matters the most. The added advantage of having a balanced mix of electives is that one has the option to evaluate and choose from a diverse range of career options (say from FMCG sales to I-Banking).

One last thing -- I think this debate should also include systems as an option -- it should be finance vs marketing vs systems. Now, that would really motivate the systems guys to pour in their thoughts.

The question is not 'which is better', but 'which is more popular'. The reason behind this is that the relative value of each MBA changes according to the type of market and its condition.

Is finance better than marketing? The answer is yes and no, as finance seems a better option in today's situation where the stock market is optimistic.

Finance people -- the bean counters, as they are called -- are viewed as pessimists. They will always tell you why the company should NOT go for the proposed plans. On the other hand, the marketing people -- the optimists -- will have no doubts about the success of these plans.

Hence, it's not strange that we always see F and M people coming out of meetings fighting with each other. But the moment one doubts (as F people do) a well-planned step (which F people have), one is out of the market.

To drive home my point, in many a monopolistic and cost-driven market, the sharpest tool is finance. However, one should not forget every effort is being made all over the world to have competitive markets by restructuring these monopolistic markets (the electricity market in India, for example). So the name of the game is marketing rather than finance.

Every wannabe manager should keep in mind that an MBA in finance gives you the tools to analyse and expand your market, but not the marketing skills and tactics necessary for increasing your output.

Are you listening guys? The 'mind game' is going to stay, not 'mind calculation'.


I don't think there is a need to have a debate on which specialisation is the best. Why forgot they both are part of management and hold different functions and styles without which nothing will work?

As for the clearer picture, one also needs to consider the thumb rule while getting a job -- what your ambitions are and what you have to do when choosing a specialisation.

The MBA you choose should also depend on your personal ability. If you are good at number-crunching, have a flair for juggling numbers and think you can manage the party well, then finance is the job for you. If you are creative and have a zeal to sell, then there's no doubt you should be in marketing. So you have to really assess yourself before you decide on your specialisation.

As far as the pay packet is concerned, it all really depends on whom you work for. If you are working for an Indian firm, chances are you would earn a little less than your counterpart at an MNC. But, again, that depends on the size of the company and your designation.


TAHIR AZAD said...

Mr Lodhi u raise excellent ponits between( Marketing, Finanze and HRM).. but its not compulsory that if u r specialized in Marektng then u can't got for HRM or if u r specialized in Finance then u cant go for HRM.I seen many cases that people specialized in finance but doing job in HR department.So every field is open for u doesnt matter in which u r specizlized.

2) u can also do this.do specializtion in Finance in udergraduate... and for MBA do specialization in Marketing.. it is the most successfull way which is gettiing fame in now a days..students are checking both tastes.. it really adds Value for ur job.....