By the time you get through college, September is permanently imprinted on your brain as “back-to-school time,” especially if you also have school-aged children of your own. Everyone from big-box stores to restaurants uses the excitement (and dread) of August and September as a marketing tool. Even universities themselves seem to step up their marketing a little this time of year, as evidenced by the University of Texas’ recent announcement that actor Matthew McConaughey is now a professor. Something tells us there will be an increase in the number of middle-aged Texans interested in touring the campus or auditing a certain class.

If your organization doesn’t have the ability to hire a famous actor, you can look to some of these memorable back-to-school ads for inspiration. For us though, all of the back-to-school excitement got us thinking about the question of whether or not you need a marketing degree to have a career in marketing. Full disclosure, neither of the Ceres Talent partners has a degree in marketing, despite many years in senior marketing roles. One of us majored in accounting and French, and the other majored in finance and economics (click here to figure out who’s who). An informal poll of other career marketers revealed a variety of degree paths to marketing roles. Some, such as communications, design, English, and journalism, you might expect. Others, like philosophy, psychology, and sociology make sense. Then there are the outliers: Industrial Engineering?  Education? Archaeology?

College marketing programs are valuable, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. A marketing degree can give you a strong theoretical background in marketing, and just as important, access to valuable internships and networking opportunities. But marketing is a discipline that draws on numerous talents. Smart hiring managers know that a lot of skills such as writing, researching, and working effectively with others are taught in all majors. As one of our clients memorably said, “I just want someone who is smart and gets along with people.”

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