Vicky Robinson: Case Study
Cutting the path
As head of marketing and communications for the Association of Business Schools, the body representing the leading business schools in the UK, for the past four years Vicky Robinson has been used to promoting “conventional routes’ through education. Yet through the path that she has taken, Vicky is herself evidence of the many routes that exist into a marketing career. Despite having recently gone back to the classroom at Birmingham City University’s Business School (BCBS) and being awarded a distinction for her MA in Marketing Management, Vicky has gained the skills necessary over the past 15 years to practice at the top of her field by completing the professional qualifications available through The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).
The alternative route
After leaving school without any A-levels, Vicky started her career as an office assistant in the Insurance Industry Training Council, a part of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Not wanting to be pigeonholed into administrative work, Vicky was attracted to the exciting projects undertaken by the marketing department. From devising a campaign strategy through to website and collateral design, marketing offered her a range of opportunities within a single role. It was this scope for variety on a day-to-day basis that initially interested her in the field.
On her appointment as a Marketing and Development Assistant with the CII in Sevenoaks, and at this stage with a limited marketing background and no degree, Vicky began working through The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s professional qualifications. At entry-level this offered her a solid base in both marketing and communications skills, from the basics of developing a marketing plan through to business development modules. As with most marketers wanting to progress their careers, Vicky needed to work full-time. She balanced work and study by completing her qualifications part-time, using CIM’s established network of accredited centres attending evening classes.
Even once Vicky had gained her first marketing role at the Financial Services Skills Council, she continued to study and gained each stage of her CIM qualifications whilst working. She was able to put her learning into practice both in her day job and through voluntary work aiding public relations campaigns for the Kent Army Cadet Force, for whom she continues to volunteer.
Starting with the Introductory Certificate in Marketing, the basic entry qualification offered by CIM, through to the Advanced Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma, Vicky has worked her way through the qualification levels covering off theory and work-based projects at each level. Recently, and in time for her receiving her Master’s degree, Vicky has also reached Chartered Marketer status, by recording two years’ of continuing professional development and is a finalist in the public sector category of CIM’s Marketing Excellence Awards 2011.
In Vicky’s words
“It was the broad spectrum of the CIM qualifications that initially appealed to me; the flexibility in study meant that I could be flexible in the avenues I wanted to take professionally. Because I was working while studying for my qualifications, I think it was easier for me; my professional experience meant that I could apply on a day-to-day basis what I was learning, situating the learning in a commercial context.”
While Vicky had not thought that a scholarly path was for her, her success in marketing both vocationally and academically, encouraged her to study for a Masters, for which her research into the topic “How do UK business schools maintain loyalty amongst undergraduates, a relationship-based approach’ has been published. Having already completed industry-accredited qualifications through CIM, Vicky was able to use these as an entry qualification into “mainstream’ education. She completed her Masters part-time in just one year thanks to the “springboard’ provided by completing the CIM Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and to Birmingham City Business School’s on-line and over-the-phone academic support.
Vicky’s career demonstrates that successful marketers and businesspeople do not always have to follow the traditional routes through education. She advises:
“There are many routes into marketing, and indeed, many paths to commercial success. I would recommend the professional qualification route to anyone considering it; CIM qualifications give you a wide portfolio of knowledge and skills and a way to open doors in your career across sectors. By proving to an employer that you have applied skills for the workplace, you are demonstrating your added value.
“Regardless of the path you set out on at the beginning of your career, no doors are closed to you if you set your goals and stay motivated to achieve them.”
In Hana’s words
“The Chartered Institute of Marketing has been one of the most astonishing experience for me. It is the most powerful marketing weapon which made me change the way I think, overcome the challenges in the workplace and come with new ideas. It opened my mind and made me think outside of the box. This further assured me that I am in the right place to pursue my goals and career development “ Hana Hoxha, Kosovo