How I got into a Brand Management Career in India

Akshay Vasan, Digital Marketing Specialist (MENA Region) Landmark Group talks about how he got into a brand management career and what it means to be a brand manager.
 


How I got into a brand management career

by Akshay Vasan

 
Akshay VasanMumbaikar, Marketing and Motors are the 3M’s of my life and any coincidence to the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company is purely coincidental.

I hail from Mumbai, have an eye for marketing and simply love automobiles (guess I have contributed to more than 50% of the organic traffic and test drove every possible car available to mankind)

I was born in Mumbai, but fed and read in several parts of India. This not only gave me a multi lingual friend circle and a second home in every city, but also wide exposure to different cultures in India.

Today, after 2+ years of living outside the country, I realize we are a diverse nation. I would like to believe we are ‘The European Union of the East’ or ‘EU is India of the west’ #justmadeinindia
 

How I became a brand manager

During my growing up years, I wanted to be a little bit of everything – an Army officer, a commercial pilot, a journalist and a motorsport enthusiast.

Eventually, I settled in for a career in Marketing & Brand management and after 4+ years today, I can say ‘Life isn’t too bad after all’

In my 12th grade (2006), I was determined to get into commercial flying and make a career as a pilot, but just when I was buoyant and bullish about my career choice, the markets world over were sluggish and bearish.

We were entering into a recessionary phase and this meant, airlines had frozen recruitment for trainee pilots and considering high out of pocket investment for the same, I had to be reasonable. Also rising ATF (Aviation turbine fuel) prices added to the woes.

This meant a 16-something had to abort his ‘take off’ and look at alternate career plans. I had no real interest in jumping into Engineering and have an ‘I am an Engineer from a godforsaken institute’ tag attached to my name. Realistically put, I knew I would never make it to an ‘IIT’ so engineering from anywhere else meant a sheer compromise!

A chance meeting with Prahlad Kakkar; popular Ad maker (thanks to a cousin) led me to believe that advertising was something I could look at as a career option. Although the meeting lasted for not more than 5 minutes, it triggered a thought process.

I researched through all possible courses and realized that Bachelors of Mass Media offered by University of Mumbai would be my best bet.

As I progressed along my line of thought and applied to colleges in Mumbai, I came across another course called Bachelors of Management Studies (BMS) – a refined approach towards management education that also covered a module on advertising through Marketing.

I zoomed out and looked at this from a 30,000 feet perspective and realized BMS would be better value add at this stage. I locked in on the course and pursued my BMS from University of Mumbai.

BMS is a three year course, split into 6 semesters. Year 1 & 2 are common electives, while third year allows you to pursue your core electives. Guess in my case, I was interested to finish my third year first! Post BMS, I was certain about pursuing a career in Marketing only.

Although most people thought marketing & sales were the same, let me assure you the skills sets needed are quite different. On a lighter note, in most organizations Marketing & Sales teams are at loggerheads.
 

Steps to move into the brand management field

After my undergrad, I went on to work for a small wellness company in Mumbai alongside my preparation for CAT, SNAP, MAT, XAT (basically anything which had AT as part of their acronym; note AT stands for Aptitude Test).

Although it was a small brand in the wellness space, my real exposure to marketing came in there. From designing a store façade, to print ad, to developing a website, to negotiating with vendors to ensuring signages were in place, it mean I was responsible for all of this.

This was my real encounter with Marketing or as real as it could good. This exposure only strengthened my belief that Marketing was an appropriate career choice.

Next, I knew it I was at school pursuing my MBA. MBA was definitely more in depth, as we had devoted two full years of our life towards acquiring the skills needed. Here’s some advice for wannabe marketers; pick schools that have a marketing orientation towards it, the best I know are as follows

Brand Management Colleges in India
IIM B, K, I
MICA, TAPMI, SIBM

Brand Management Colleges abroad
Kellogg (NWU), Georgia, Tepper, Berkeley (US)
Manchester, Cambridge (UK)
 

Interesting experiences as a Brand Manager

A lot of them but three that have been most memorable is something I would like to share.

A) Internship in Dharavi

I did my summer internship with Idea Cellular and had to evaluate the launch potential for 3G in Dharavi. Most mumbaikars know what Dharavi is. For the ones who aren’t, just look outside your window the next time you land into Mumbai.

Here I was, immersed into Asia’s largest slum trying to find potential for ‘ Third generation’, almost walking into people’s rooms, interacting with Paanwalas and having tea breaks with ‘Idli wallahs’.

At the end of it, it was an experience worth documenting (unfortunately internship reports don’t allow you to write experiences). End of it, my recommendations led to Idea launching value plans for Dharavi and I believe it’s doing well (What an Idea Sirjee!)

B) Launch at 3 am

At Tata Housing, we were a mad team of marketers, over-enthusiastic, super agile and an absolute riot. Needless to say our Department head was the force behind this craziness.

One fine day over a couple of drinks, he said, ‘Let’s make people buy homes online’ and without a thought we said ‘Let’s do it’.

On a Monday morning, after our senses were back we realized the commitment made over a few JD’s was now a part of our actual JD’s (job descriptions).

The next 60 days, we nose-dived into this project, travelling extensively, having con-calls at unearthly hours, brief and re-brief our agencies, fire each other, eat unhealthy food, add weight and more weight, not shave, not wax (women only), not sleep (others only); click-shop-checkout-test-retest and then at around 2:54am on 2nd Dec, 2013; we made history!

Our first buyer from Chandigarh bought a property online. In months to come, Tata Group leadership was appalled and radiant, proud and satisfied. We did make it to headlines and now continue to do so.

C) 1 million in 10

My most recent one was the launch of Landmarkshops.com/homecentre, the same fervor from 2013 was back in 2015. Except this time it was a different market, we were launching something for UAE, it meant catering to their sensibilities, their incomes and their moods!

Our mandate was to achieve AED 1mn (INR I.87cr) in 30 days and here on our 10th day we had crossed the AED 1mn mark. It meant another party, this time from ‘Janta & Gokuls’ of the world we were at Burj Khalifa and Jumeirahs.
 

Typical Day in my life as a Brand Manager

Waking up with great difficulty! Work in UAE starts early. Drive to work, have my coffee and check emails, sometimes attend meetings where you have no clue of the four W’s (Why, Why, Why & Why me)

On a detailed noted, most marketing teams work alongside an Annual Commercial Calendar plotted with product launches, brand launches, activations, tactical promotions. Obviously, it is broken down monthly to fill in granular details.

Most marketers work with a couple of agencies, most important ones are your creative agencies (mainline agency) and media planning agencies. We also work with research agencies to test propositions, products and understand brand health.

Most marketers also travel to markets they operate in to get on ground inputs from other stakeholders – customers, distributors, retailers, competitors’ customers or for mystery audits or sometimes just to accumulate airline miles!

In a nutshell, it’s a colourful life for most big budget consumer marketing companies.
 

Typical career path with average income in brand management

Most consumer marketing companies across industries like FMCG, Telecom, Electronics, White Goods, Automobiles, Ecommerce hire for brand management jobs in India & abroad.

The typical career path and average salary for brand managers is as follows:

Designation Duration Average Salary (in Rupees)
Marketing Executive First 2 years INR 6 lakhs CTC
Assistant Marketing Manager Next 3 years INR 8-12 lakhs CTC
Marketing Manager 3-4 years INR 14-18 lakhs CTC
Senior Marketing Manager 5 years INR 20-25 lakhs
Head of Department Open INR 30 lakhs+

*subject to company perception and your performance (actually more subject to ‘what is your perceived value’)
 

Pros & cons of a career in brand management

Pros:
Glamour, fast paced, immersive work environment
Strong networking and socializing
Travel, airline miles and 5 star perks
Big budgets for planning
Strategic level roles

Cons:
Long work hours
Stressed timelines
Unclear project briefs
Being perceived as a cost centre
Incompetent Agencies sometimes!
 

Is brand management the right career option for you?

Here are some typical personality traits and qualities that are associated with brand managers – outgoing, strong analytical skills, strong communication skills, patience and aggression at the same time, multi facet thinking (comes with time).

When you look around, see or hear an ad and get irritated then this is the career for you. Because nothing can be more exciting than knowing that a single marketing communication designed by you has the power to influence a million households.

A good MBA is the beginning to go about with a career in marketing, if you intend to work on the client side or with brands. Advertising exposure helps, but doesn’t pay well.

Most consumer marketing companies push you to start with sales in order to have an idea of what the one ground reality is and I personally think, it is important!

Want to test your branding management skills? Here are 20 common Brand Management interview questions and answers


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Akshay Vasan //
Akshay Vasan
Akshay is just another inquisitive soul in this Big Mad World of Marketers. In other things, he’s a premature hair greying victim, airplane lover and a travel aficionado trying to make it to his own list of ’40 under 40’ (more like visit 40 countries under Forty). All views are personal.

67 Comments

  1. Smita says:

    Hi
    I am a dual post graduate mastered in Msc env.sci & MBA Marketing from Mumbai university. I have work experience of 4.5 years in Business development in pharma medico marketing sector. I took a career break cz of some domestic issues and now planning to get into marketing domain. I am a 32 years old woman and do not wish to continue my career in sales thinking life from futuristic point. I am trying very hard but failed to get a job of my interest.Please suggest or advice me to shape my career.
    Thanks & Regards
    Ms. Sonawane

    • Akshay Vasan says:

      Hello Mam,

      It’s never too late to try something new, but one needs to also plan it well such that a jump like this results in greater learning & satisfaction.
      With my limited knowledge and experience, I have seen two kinds of professionals –
      1) Functional Expertise (such that their skills can be adapted to other industries)
      2) Sector/Industrial Experts (I believe you fit into this league)

      Some options that come to my mind
      1) Look at entry level positions within Advertising agencies- You could fit into client servicing roles and this can enhance your knowledge on how marketing functions operate. The plus of working with agencies is you get to manage diverse brands.

      2) Evaluate second career internship opportunities, considering you have taken a break. I know of Tata Group that allows this. You may always lookout for more options
      http://www.tatasecondcareer.com/

      Will write back if I think of more concrete options

  2. Rajan Mani says:

    Good one, Akshay ! Would like to use this when counselling the next batch at IBS, if I may! For all the branding, didn’t see any reference to IBS 🙂

  3. Ankur Nagaria says:

    This is brilliant, I am in those next 3 years tab now, whats coming, looks good

  4. Nidhi Mandal says:

    Very well written Akshay..
    Having gone through the dilemma of the right career path is issue faced by most of us.
    But don’t you think not every individual gets to meet a decision changing rather decision making personality like CK Prahlad or Prahlad Kakkar.
    Have met lot of confused souls lately..

    • Akshay Vasan says:

      Hi Nidhi,

      Very well put by you, fortunately I met the right person at the right time. But confusion still prevails for a lot of us, part of parcel of corporate careers.

  5. Padmashree says:

    Very thoughtful! Will be great help for those doing MBA.I think you should blog more often!

  6. Subramanyam says:

    Good to know your smart growth in short span. Well for me I wish to know if you can redesign my CV so as it looks modern and update. 24 yrs of diverse experianced and multy industries exposure. If you can help me personally pl connect direct to danshekh@gmail.com. Thanks before and after…..Best of luck.

    • akshay says:

      Dear Mr. Subramanyam,

      Thanks for reading the article. Please let me know how may I help you on the same. I have emailed you on the given address.

      Regards
      Akshay

  7. Aratrika Chakraborty says:

    Hii.. your story was truly inspiring and I must Thank you for sharing it.
    I am writing to you as today I have come to the crossroads of my career. I have completed my MBA in 2011 and since then have been working in sales for big FMCG companies. However, I always had an interest in branding but never got an opportunity. Right now I really feel I should be switching to what I really want to do but again got stuck due to lack of experience in the particular field. I am very confused as to how to proceed. Please help.

  8. Akshay says:

    Hi Aratrika,
    I have a couple of questions
    1) Are you an Area Sales Manager?
    2) What does your current role encompass? Would be nice if you can give me a typical day in your role (just some pointers)
    2) can you be specific on FMCG – what category? (needn’t reveal the brand)
    3) Where are you based in India?

  9. Aratrika Chakraborty says:

    Hello.. thanks for ur reply..
    No, I am not an ASM, I work as an executive.
    My JD includes working in the market and basically data crunching, mentoring the sales people, conducting meetings etc. I have worked in FnB mostly and a bit in dets also.
    Can i shift to branding??

  10. Akshay says:

    Hi Aratrika,
    Let’s pick up some skills from your current role.
    1) Working in the market which translates into ‘Strong awareness of the market, retailers, competition and customers.
    2) Data Crunching – Clearly sharp analytical skills
    3) Conducting Meeting/ Mentoring sales people – So you have developed interpersonal skills and communication skills.

    Some ingredients that are a definite plus in marketing/branding roles.

    Approach:
    Opt 1- Speak to your Boss/ HR to understand if they can move you laterally into the marketing function. From your sources in marketing find out what are the roles that are open or may be opening up.

    Opt 2 – Let’s say you are in an A+ brand, look at career opportunities in slightly smaller FMCG brands. Speak with placement agencies who could get you such opportunities. You may be able to make a foothold there. I’m sure the brand you work for will be valued and you may just have a chance with smaller FMCG companies in their marketing teams.

    Let me know if you find success with any of these. I don’t want to recommend you going down the ad agency route because you’re already at the client side and in an important function.

  11. Aratrika Chakraborty says:

    Thanks a lot for ur suggestion.. will definitely try out all of what u said.

  12. Rakesh patil says:

    Hi Akshay,
    Excellent and inspiring story.I am working for a company in core sales and really desperate to change my work profile from core sales to brand management.I even did Post Graduation Course in Brand Management from MICA,to support my future aims.I would be very helpful if I can get any more insights on how should I go for brand management profile from my current profile of Core Sales.I am MBA Graduate with an experience of 3+ years and just completed MICA course.

  13. Shree says:

    Hi Akshay
    I’m pursuing my MBA with dual specialisation in HR & Marketing from HPU Shimla. Earlier I wanted to go for HR but now have changed my plans and want to go for marketing but don’t know from where to start my career, which advertising agencies or PR companies should I try to get in. My degree will complete in june,2017.

  14. Sandip Mondal says:

    Hey Akshay !
    Your life is indeed a very inspiring story!
    I need some advice, would you help me out?
    Here is my story, I am from Mumbai. Last month I gave my HSC boards exams (PCM) and I am expecting around 70%. I went to IIT coaching classes for 2 years but I had no interest in Engineering that’s why i could not Clear my JEE Mains. I have interest in Marketing more specifically speaking, Digital/internet Marketing. I don’t want to be an engineer but My PARENTS!! HUH.. *SIGHS*
    I would rather do something in Marketing like Content Marketer or Brand Manager.
    Can you please suggest me Bachelor’s Degree and Master Degree?
    By the time you reading this I might be preparing for my MH-CET for engineering in which i do not even have a bit of interest.
    Might end up doing something bad to myself in few days. Bad thoughts are ruing my mind since last 2 years. I don’t know what will happen in future.

    I am also a Video Content Producer but my family cannot afford film studies right now. So I would be pursuing this after I have a good balance in my bank account.
    I would be more than glad if you help me out.

    • Akshay Vasan says:

      Hi Sandip,

      I like how you’ve put through your question, almost seems like your one button away from a reset.

      I was in India recently and saw the front pages of all dailies flooded with ads from top IIT coaching institutes and in the same breathe read shocking news of another “forced budding engineer” commit suicide in Kota.

      I’m glad you’ve identified your calling (atleast for now) and are taking the right steps in that direction (atleast in thoughts).
      Just to give you a little more guidance, a Bachelors is a Must so the best fit would be something like a Bachelors in Mass Media or Mass Comm (that could help you kill both the birds of marketing and content with this one stone)

      BBA or BMS is another something you could look at where you have electives in marketing. I doubt if digital marketing is formally taught in these programs, would be happy to be corrected on the same. Else google on short term courses/ distance learning courses offered by universities in India or abroad and pursue these along with your bachelors!

      Very important – Scout for as many internship opportunities during your summer/ winter breaks while pursuing your under grad (this will give you the much needed exposure in marketing)

      Happy to give you any more details!

  15. Chintamani says:

    Hello Akshay and congratulations on your success. I am a BMM graduate and cuz of my parents not supporting me for media career i did a pg course in travel and tourism, but will save money for MBa and do it as my passion for making a career in brand development or marketing still remains and want to earn money too. Is it a good idea still?

    • Akshay says:

      Hi Chintamani,
      Would you be able to throw some more light on the below?
      When did you graduate?
      What do you currently do?
      MBA – When do you intend to pursue this?

  16. Dinesh Auzi says:

    Hi Akshay,
    Your journey is inspiring ,
    One thing that bothers me a lot is that i dint do a full time mba , i am currently into brand management profile early i was into sales but somehow i managed to get a brand management job, i am currently working as a marketing executive and now thinking of one year full time mba program, will that help for a better position in marketing ?

    • Akshay says:

      Hi Dinesh,
      Sorry for a late revert.
      If you’re still figuring an answer to your question then here it is.

      You’ve already done a part time MBA from what I understand. So a full time 1 year MBA will add the satisfaction, if that’s what you’re looking for? As for your career prospects, you’re already pursuing a career in Marketing and by what you’ve share, seems like you wouldn’t have spend 2-3 years in this role (correct me if I’m wrong)

      Now 1 year programs are designed for professionals with a minimum of 7-9 years experience, looking to move into Senior Management roles or looking for a career change. I don’t think you’re looking for a career change.

      If you really want to get back to books, then a good 2 year MBA should give you the satisfaction and learning.

      It’s purely my perspective and I may stand corrected.

  17. Vini Dedhia says:

    Hi Akshay,
    Your article is great and gives a lot of clarity to budding marketers like me and is truly an inspiration. I am BMM graduate and completed my graduation 2 years ago. After a plain BMM degree, the jobs that I typically came across was of telemarketing and I continued with the profile for 3 months but then because of personal issues I had to leave. I look forward to a career in Brand Management but now after 2 years of graduation and only 3 months of experience what are the profiles I should be looking into to begin with?

    • Akshay says:

      Hi Vini,
      So in 24 months, you’ve worked for 3 months and are you also pursuing something else?
      Basis purely on your undergrad degree, it’s difficult to land up a job directly into brand management. Have you considered pursing your Masters? Let me know and we can chat further here.

  18. S R Vivek says:

    Hello sir, very inspiring article.
    I am currently in my final year of engineering. I am passionate about making Marketing Campaigns and advertising. I have made a few campaigns for different brands as well. I don’t know how I can pursue a career path in the same? Which field should I go into( branding, marketing etc) to realise the execution of marketing campaigns I make? Please guide me for the same sir. Thank you 🙂

    • Akshay says:

      Hi Vivek,
      You sound like you’re more interested in advertising than branding. A brand manager doesn’t create advertisements but does take some credit for them, it’s usually done by Ad agencies. If this line of work interests you then I’d recommend you look at joining a production house or a creative agency (money will be less) but then again you will learn tremendously and it’ll give you an understanding of what you really want to pursue. A brand manager is a role that’s more around analysis and planning, yes they do work on conceptualizing marketing campaigns but don’t necessarily create them.

  19. Sri says:

    Hi akshay ,
    Well written and informative article ! I ll complete my MBA in Marketing by March 2018 , i got placed in HDFC as relationship manager which involves hardcore sales of financial products. I understand that ground market knowledge is inevitable to have a career in branding , but does sales of financial products as a beginning career option pave my way towards my future goals of being being a brand manager?

  20. Anand says:

    Hi Akshay,

    Appreciate you sharing your reviews. I have done hotel management and presently working as Front Office Manager for a chain hotel in Gujarat. I have been a part of Management training program and presently pursuing PGDM in Marketing management from distance learning i.e. NMIMS . I am keen to grow my career. I am holding an experience of running and opening hotels from last 5 years and 5 months.( being precised. )
    Kindly recommend the change of career profile into brand management.

  21. Sriram Kishore says:

    Hi Akshay ! simply taken aback for a moment by reading your story ! It was too powerful ! I am currently doing my final year in B.Sc Visual Communication and i am so keen in learning and getting myself into branding. It would be so helpful if you could guide me from this point. Also i want to know which is the best thing to d0 – doing MBA right after graduation or gaining some work exp and then doing it ?
    Thanks in advance

    • Akshay says:

      Hi Sri,
      A lot of my batch mates started out in similar roles within the BFSI space and later branched into product manager kind of roles. Do you think, there’s room for you to make that switch in a few years? I understand that banking sales can get demanding but it’s a financially rewarding industry. Sales of any kind helps you understand the customer, his needs, the competition much better than any marketer sitting in his cozy corner and going through fancy decks. But it’s important to have a plan in place as to how you want your career to shape? When you join your organisation, see if there’s scope for you to interact with product managers/ campaign managers who would have started out in similar positions.
      I’m sorry if I’m being generic here, but try and study the career path of brand managers in this space and reach out to them through linkedin.

    • Akshay says:

      Hi Sriram,
      Please don’t jump into doing an MBA without knowing the Why? You’ve spend some years in earning such a unique degree so please make good use of it. Of whatever I know and I’ve read on Vis Comm, there’s more demand for your kind of professionals then MBA’s in the market today. I’d sincerely recommend you work for some years before deciding on whether you need an MBA. You could even look at super specializations within your line of study. This is purely my perspective and I could be wrong but in any case, putting in some years of work experience is always preferred.

  22. ipsita says:

    Hello Akshay!
    I loved the humor alongside the information in your blog! I am a fashion communication graduate with what many would call very good communication skills in general. I am looking to get into brand management but am confused as to how to exactly start. Also I am not entirely keen on pursuing a post graduation.Please guide me as to how i can proceed once my graduation is over with in a couple of months. Thanks a ton!
    Regards
    Ipsita

    • Akshay says:

      Hey Ipsita,
      Interesting choice as an undergrad ‘Fashion Communication’ and if you’re friends believe you carry the right communication skills then I would recommend something in the field of marketing communications. Now brand management is a sphere that covers multiple things like PR & Communication, Analytics, Research, Digital Marketing, Media planning and product development. Juming into brand mgmt straight out of college is a little more difficult than Felix Baumgartners’ jump. I’d suggest you look at interning first – forget the money and pick up the learning! Your best bet would be either looking at Ad agencies (copywriting kinda roles) or Clients (PR/ Social media/ Corporate Comms). Best suited industries would be Fashion/ Lifestyle/ Apparel/ Beauty.

      I wouldn’t discard the importance of a PG but if you’re certain that now is not the time then I’d urge you to work around for a while and get some experience. Start with an internship before marrying into a job!

      Fee fee to reconnect here. All the best

  23. Anjali says:

    Hi Akshay, very well put.
    I am an IT professional and working as process Automation expert for a major Automobile Manufacturer. I have eight plus years of experience in the same field. I am thinking about career change and came across your article. Would pursuing Masters in Brand Management really help considering my work ex?

    Regards
    Anjali

    • Akshay says:

      Hi Anjali,
      I look at you as a domain and industry expert, 8 years is good enough time to understand the nuances of an industry and even if you’re role was limited to being an automation professional, I’m sure you would have garnered some insights of the trends in this industry. A lot of the PGPX programs offered by institutes like IIM’s, ISB in India are a platform for functional experts to equip themselves with managerial skills. Not that it guarentees a marketing/ brand manager job, but I don’t think it’s impossible.
      In my free time, I really take keen interest in reading brochures/ prospectus of some premier schools in India and seeing the backgrounds of the incoming class vs the kind of companies/ roles offered during the placement season and I’ve seen quite some students make that switch, so don’t doubt yourself. Career is a 35 year journey so the first 8 years don’t really determine the rest but mind you brand manager is more than just the perceived glamour, so be sure you want to move in that direction.

  24. Just Another Engineer says:

    Hi Akshay!
    So nice reading your story. You have elucidated all points quite well and this gave me quite an insight. I’m a Computer Engineering graduate having 18 months of experience in one of India’s well known IT companies. I am planning to pursue the PGDM-C course from MICA. I wanted to know whether being an engineer trying to switch over into the marketing space is a deterrent during placements? What kind of roles are offered to engineers with work-ex? Do we have a shot at the best of the companies that come on campus or are they reserved for people with prior work-ex in Sales and Marketing? What could the career path look like? Sorry for asking so many questions but I felt you would be the right person to resolve them.

  25. Akshay says:

    For starters, I like the profile name! to answer your question in one simple sentence – Why not?
    Comp Engg – 18 months work exp – heading for an MBA in marketing (If you look around, it’s the story of most Indian Engineers looking at a career switch.) Do a simple stalking exercise on linkedin – Search by MICA and you’ll be amazed to see so many profiles with engineering backgrounds (so don’t doubt yourself about making a career switch).

    On day zero of placements, you would most likely be battling on grounds of logic and knowledge and not so much on your background. MICA offers an interesting program, so if you get through it I’m sure you’ll be in a good enough position to crack your dream job during placements.

    All the best with your preparations! mind you MICA has a very rigorous selection process, so prepare well.

  26. Gaurav Goel says:

    Hello Sir,
    I did BBA in marketing and right now pursuing PGDM ( in marketing(major) and International Business(minor))., The thing is i want to know what should i need to do in order to grow in marketing field.
    if we talk about brand management or brand equity , how can i made my carrier in this field??
    one of my professor have suggested me to take an online certification in brand management but i want to ask you that is it possible to made a carrier through an online certification course?
    if yes, dn from which site i should take a online certificate and if it’s not possible through online certification course dn what should i do?

    • Akshay says:

      Hi Gaurav,
      For starters, it’s Akshay and not Sir, so feel free to address me by my first name.
      To your question on Online certifications – I’m not too sure what are the courses you’re considering, but here’s something I’d suggest – try reach out to people who’ve done the courses you’re considering. Get their perspective on the effectiveness of the course and it’s actual career benefit. While there are a lot of courses floating in the online universe, relevancy to your career plans in terms of learning and career prospects should be your primary aim.

      If you’re still looking at taking certifications, look at arming yourself with ones in Digital marketing – begin with Google Academy for Ads (it’s free) and some from Facebook blueprint certifications (not all here are free). I’m a firm believer of being a digitally relevant marketer.

  27. Palak says:

    Hi Akshay
    Great to know that you have such satisfying career. I am currently working at Aon as an analyst driving engagement for clients. I have 4 years of work experience into analytics and project management for Medical device and HR domain. I am looking for a career in brand management and want some guidance and advice. My email Id is palakkapoor90@outlook.com. Please help me and thanks in advance.

    • Akshay says:

      Hi Palak,
      Feel free to shoot your questions here, prefer responding over this thread since it benefits readers with similar questions as to what you may have.
      Regards
      Akshay

  28. Masaba says:

    Hi Akshay,
    I really liked your blog post (although read it a bit late). It was pretty informative. However, there is something I would want your suggestion on. Currently, I am working as a Copywriter for an advertising agency and I have already done my MBA in Marketing. So, my question to you is, is it possible for me to eventually become a Brand Manager or is it not an option at all? If it is possible, then will my Copywriting experience help me to get there?
    Thanks!

    • Akshay says:

      Hi Masaba,
      A brand manager essentially is like the captain of ship managing various functional specialists and currently you’re one of them, so while it’s not completely impossible it’s an uphill task. Your first step would be to move to the client side either in a similar role or something that values your copy writing skills like social media or content writer?
      Once there and with some years of experience, you’d want to start looking at the business side of a brand and that will pave the way to become a brand manager. A brand manager is responsible for maintaining the health of the brand that includes looking at the P&L of the product lines, consumer research, usage and attitude studies, advertising, digital marketing and it’s likes.
      I don’t know if I’m being of much help here but if you share a good rapport with your clients, try and understand if their looking out for a marketing person in their team and once you make a foothold, it’ll be helpful to move in the direction you’re considering. Along with copy writing see if you can get some certifications in SEO, content marketing, these would be add-ons to make the transition

  29. Neha says:

    Hi Akshay,
    Your blog is very informative and I am inspired by your success story. I am a double post graduate – MSc Microbiology and MBA in Marketing. During MBA I did my internship in two startups where I had an exposure in sales and business development. After completion of MBA I worked in an organisation for 6 months as business development executive. I am looking for a job to build my career in Brand Management, which was one of the reason why I perused MBA in Marketing but never got an opportunity in it. Could you guide me the right career path? Also could you suggest me which industry would be right?

  30. Ketan says:

    This story seems to be the one I am aiming for.
    And firstly, I would like to tell you that I am currently studying in SIBM – the one you pointed in your amazing article.
    So.. I a mechanical engineer, worked in core company for two years. I always had the liking towards marketing and advertising and wanted to make it big in this field, thus trusted my intuitions and went to SIBM.
    Now I am wondering how to get into such companies which will provide me a chance to become a Brand Manager later on my career (say 4-5 years from now). Is there any specific course which might strengthen my cause? Any particular live project opportunity that you may suggest me to do?
    I notice details in ads and think myself how I could have done this. I make a lot of promotional posters for college events which people really like, but this does not help in getting into a corporate role of Brand manager.
    Can you guide me with this?

    • Akshay Vasan says:

      Hi Ketan,
      Considering my reply is awfully late and by now you would have either graduated or in your final year, I’m not too sure if there’s a takeaway for you from my answer. Still sharing my 2 cents!

      SIBM – Solid brand, Mech Engg (Respected branch of engineering). Kudos for making it through so far!

      You have a fairly good chance provided you’ve taken the right electives in your 2nd year and interned in a marketing role. Noticing details in ads gives you a creative lens more than that of a brand manager.

      I’d encourage you to go beyond the details of the ads and understand a few things first.
      1) Why are they advertising in the first place. Try and ascertain the marketing objective?
      2) Where did you see the ad – print, TV, mobile, social, cinema. What’s the media they’re using?
      3) Try and figure the TG basis the above signals.
      4) Who are the competitors and are they communicating the same things? By this mean, see if the message is clutter breaking and addresses the need or creates a want?
      5) Has there been any impact on sales? (difficult to get this data easily) but see if any press releases are done? Any statements by their business heads/ Mktg heads to the media
      6) Since you love analyzing creatives – See if the copy resonated with you (was the message crisp & clear), did it draw your attention in the 1st Go? What did you understand from it?

      Promotional posters for college fests – definitely a boost to your design skills. For developing brand manager skills, see if you can participate in Marketing clubs and events? I’m not too sure if HUL still runs LIME at SIBM. Look out for these events and participate as much as you can.

      As a brand manager, you will be responsible for the overall health of the brand. Means you need to develop a 360 vision of it.
      (Sales, Distribution, Retail, Marketing, Digital, Packaging, Media)

  31. Harika Kochhar says:

    Hey Akshay
    This was certainly an insightful article. I am seeking to pursue a career in corporate communications and brand management. I would like you to spare some time and guide me about the same. thanks

  32. Nikhil Rai says:

    Hi Akshay,

    Your story really captivating me. I am just seeking your guidance to build my career in branding and communication.

    About me, I did MBA in marketing not from great B-school and having 2 years of sales experience
    Currently working with Asian Paints(Bath Division) as Territory Sales Manger.
    My current role involves meeting with deales & distributors and developing sales potential of my territory.
    I am having a interest in Branding and want to become brand manager. Only thing I am asking you is to help me out with this and guide me how I move ahead. More specific-
    1- How long I need to be in the sales role and how it’s going to help me out to become a successful brand manager.
    2- Any certification in branding and communication that can help me to add value and when is the right time to pursue it.

    Looking to hear from you.

  33. Mahima Sharma says:

    Hello Akshay,

    I am really glad that you chose your path as per your will as most of us today are so confused with our choices and I’m one of them. After I saw that you’ve replied to so many comments, I thought may be I should try my luck and may be you’ll be an answer to the questions I have.

    I did my Engineering in IT stream and then worked for a year in sales for a small Financial Advisory firm and then due to some situations I moved into another job as a Technical Support Engineer. I am vey passionate towards the marketing and the brand industry but I don’t know from where to start and if my current experience would help me or not. Whenever I see an ad or something which is not properly executed I suddenly start thinking of the ways in which it could have been presented in a better way.

    I am thinking of pursuing a degree in Luxury Brand Management and then start from there.

    Is that good?

  34. Simon Sayan says:

    Hi Akshay,

    I just now read your article and its really nice to see the way your career shaped. I am also one of those people who are confused as to what should be the right career path.

    I have 6 years of experience in Direct sales and have handled roles like Sales Management, Sales training and Team management in charity, hospitality and education sectors. But now i feel i must pursure core marketing as my career because i have enjoyed sales but hate the fact that i get no time for myself. In addition to this, i have done my B.Com from Delhi University and MBA in Marketing and Hr from IMT ghaziabad, both from distance learning. I have also come across a pg certificate course from MICA in Brand Management & Marketing which i am thinking wheather i should pursue or not.

    In ending, i just want to conclude wheather marketing will be a good option or not as compared to sales and if yes, then how to make that shift from sales to marketing.

    It would be of a great help if i can have a word with you and get a consultation which i am looking for since 2 years. Please mail me on simon.sayan@gmail.com and if possible for you, then drop your contact number as well. I request you to please respond urjently as i am applying for this course and tomorrow is the last date for enrollment. Need to be sure wheather i must go for it or not.

    Thanks & warmest regards
    Simon Sayan

  35. Aditya Khandelwal says:

    Hi Akshay!
    First of all the article was both fun and insightful at the same time. You have got a unique style of writing, keep it up!
    I graduated recently from a tier-1 MBA college and got placed in a liquor company. I was hired for Sales and my initial two months training was based out of hardcore Sales which gave a pretty good idea of this industry in whole. But now I have been moved into a Marketing role(Quite happy about it). But the company is a sales driven company and has been investing most of its resources in the sales department keeping marketing on the sideline. So, my question to you is that does it make sense for a fresh MBA graduate like myself to enter into a Marketing role in a company like this and, if yes, then what are the growth opportunities in the market for me?

  36. Tanisha says:

    Hi Akshay,

    This article is really insightful. I have completed my MBA in marketing and working as a SEO executive. My question is will it help me to become a brand manager?

    • Akshay says:

      Hi Tanisha,

      You’re more of a functional specialist. I dont think you can move into core brand manager sort of profiles but definitely have a great scope into digital marketing and can eventually also look at becoming a Digital Brand Manager

  37. Rim says:

    As in 2020
    I ll be graduating frm bcom and i wanted to know the exact course i can take to get a job as brand manager. I always get contradictory advices.

    • Akshay says:

      Hi Rim,

      A good MBA still remains the most preferred way of getting into a brand manager role

      Let me give you a heads up that no company will directly hire you as a brand manager immediately from your b school but you ll definitely be on your way in becoming one.

  38. Parul says:

    Hi Akshay,

    I have gone through your article and its really nice to see the way your career shaped. I am also one of those people who are dilemna as to what should be the right step.

    As I am into operations job for an ecommerce company, I work for Brand Managers for their cataloging part.

    I am planning to switch into the field for Brand Management inspired by the place I am working at. My previous job was type of vendor negotition which I felt was more interesting.

    Could you suggest whether this could really work for me. Their is no chance of switching within the organisation as I have already spoken to the concerned person. Please suggest me whether this is the right decision and how to switch into the field for Brand management.

    Thanks in advance!

  39. Alisha says:

    Hi Akshay,

    Great article! I completed my graduation in journalism and mass communication in 2016 with a year of experience in Account Management in one of the big four. I want to get into brand management and thinking of pursuing my post graduation from either India or abroad. Please let me know if I should go for an MBA or MA in communication/marketing. I am a little skeptical about MBA due to being really weak in math.

  40. Ankit says:

    Thank u for this your views sir.
    currently I m pursuing my MBA (PGDM) from mumbai. As i m looking forward to do my carrier as Brand Manager can u please suggest me some course that i can do along with MBA. Or any other suggestion u will like to give…

  41. Muskan says:

    Hello Akshay! I wanted to know if we can go for Brand Management course rather than MBA? Also, can we land a job in foreign countries if we pursue the course from India?

  42. Shweta tiwari says:

    Hello Akshay sir,
    I am shweta tiwari a student of iFeel college which is located in lonawala near to the karla.sir actually i had also completed my graduation in BMS from marketing field. And now I am doing pgdm in marketing field so sir can you please suggest me something about the brand management means in which what is the work ,what need to do at work place n everything about that particular Job.
    So that I can understand and take right decision for myself.
    Thanks in Advance!

  43. Alisha Tuli says:

    Hi Akshay,

    Great article! I completed my graduation in journalism and mass communication in 2016 with a year of experience in Account Management in one of the big four. I want to get into brand management and thinking of pursuing my post graduation from either India or abroad. Please let me know if I should go for an MBA or MA in communication/marketing. I am a little skeptical about MBA due to being really weak in math.

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