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Lorenz attractors

The problem with picking marketing/brand management as a career is that your earning potential is definitely capped. It’s like picking supply chain management as a career option – even the absolute best experts in the field, the people right at the 90th percentile and above, only earn about twice that of someone just starting out. In brand management, the ratios are slightly better since general management is infinitely more accessible, but even the GM in my Southern company makes only ~$200K as his base pay (and add another ~$300K or so as a bonus).

This is totally different from, say, finance. Or even sales. If you’re an entry-level sales person, or someone without the best pedigree or connections, you start out as a door-to-door salesperson or someone selling sabun to kirana stores, making the equivalent of ~$50 a day. Slightly better educational qualifications, or slightly better connections, keep getting you higher in the food chain – to pharma sales, to CPG/FMCG sales, to regional sales/distributorships, to financial sales, to the investment banking sales/trading floor. In the last category, a person 5+ years in earns ~$5-10 Million per year, about 300X of the door-to-door salesperson.

I can’t think of the equivalent ‘big bang for your buck’ niche in marketing.

Women typical use considerations like work/life balance, etc. when picking a career – even us ‘high-powered alpha women’ from ultra competitive business schools. Which is why brand management is a disproportionately favorite choice for so many of us. This means we think short-term, and forget the long-term career-long implications of our decisions – we earn less than our classmates for ever, even if the (often male) classmates weren’t all that great to begin with, they quickly overtake us in earning power because of that career line advantage. Marketing therefore gets us on the mommy track before motherhood/families even get a chance to hit us.

And this is the kind of stuff one should be taught to analyze in business school – not double-entry bookkeeping. Or, you should be smart enough to figure this out before you go about picking a career. Clearly, you get the profession you deserve!

Categories: diary, management, marketing
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