The atmosphere was one of electric curiosity. A lively mix of fresh graduates, young professionals and students waiting to pass out of college, had decided to spend their Saturday morning differently, away from Facebook memes and TV series. The reason was a dna Smart Solutions Career Counselling session organized in association with the Northpoint Centre of Learning, an uniquely conceptualized Media and Management institute modelled on contemporary industry needs.
Virender Raina, Marketing Manager, Northpoint, began the day with anecdotes about the institution that was founded to bridge a massive skill gap between media-management professionals and real-time requirements of the marketing communications industry, following a special request from Advertising giant Lowe Lintas. “So when we say the institution is industry-driven, it is quite literally so!” laughed Raina.
Media meets management
Now in its 12th year, Northpoint’s success in generating industry-ready marketing professionals, 40 per cent of whom reportedly advanced to senior executive positions across different corporate sectors, gave it the impetus to join league with global information chief, Nielsen, and belt out yet another specialized course—Marketing Research. With two ‘fast-track’ 11-month courses of ‘Post Graduate Program in Marketing Research’ (PGPMR) and ‘Post Graduate Program in Marketing Communications (PGPMC) with a specialization in Advertizing, Digital Advertising and Media Management’, Northpoint has a lot to boast of when it comes to contribution in these expanding fields.
Raina, in his accustomed academic flair, asked the students what they understood by ‘Building Actionable Knowledge’, one of North point’s core mottos. As some ventured to say that it means gaining knowledge that can be utilized on a day-to-day basis, the counsellor elaborated on that thought. “Building is a continous process. Blocks of information put together, over a period of time, gives us the bigger picture. It is important to understand this entire picture, as it is important to strive towards knowledge that can be practically applied,” he explained, pointing out the rewards of striking the right balance between knowledge and skills, in order to maximize your professional impact from Day-I.
The big offers
To this effect, Northpoint’s PGPMR students are placed with Nielsen as soon as they complete the course, in lieu of some elementary attendance and percentage criteria. A large section of the Communication students find employment with the agencies they’ve already interned with. “At Northpoint, you are always being observed. But there are no cameras in this Big Boss’s house,” Raina joked.
A different module
Their academic calender built on a diet of succesive internships with Nielsen and other brands active with the company at a given point, (Nestle, Airtel, Dabur, Tata, Britania, Wipro, LG, Heinz, Pizza Hut, L’O’real and Domino’s were some of the names that got the youngsters excited), Northpoint’s mentor-mentee system of learning and wide faculty of practising managers appeared to pique the participants’ interest. Hesitant at first, they soon started throwing questions about what the two terms Marketing Communications and Marketing Research meant in terms of academics and profession.
What the courses entail
Darryl Pereira, Senior Manager, Marketing Effectiveness, Nielsen, stepped in to answer many such questions. A Northpoint alumni who rose up the ranks of Nielsen with great gusto, Pereira explained that both Marketing Communication and Marketing Research aim to maximize a brand/product’s presence and impact in the market, by keeping the consumer at the centre. “The concept of market share gives a particular brand a clear sense of where and how they are currently placed in the market—who are their close competition, by when can they catch up. MR is the medium through which they can receive and analyze these data to reposition themselves or just retain their existing position,” he said.
Pereira went on to explain that Marketing Communications too, works around the concept of understanding the brand and its consumers. “Who is the audience for my product? What mediums are they using the most? What do people watch and what do people buy are two of our most crucial questions,” he said, adding that in the end, it all comes down to reaching out to the consumer better than before.
The participants were prompt to name the different mediums of product management. “TV, radio, hoardings, print, social media”, pat came the responses, the room’s interest intensely focused on Marketing Research, a term most weren’t familiar with at the beginning of the session. The next few minutes were a flurry of practical questions from the students: “Do I need a Mathematics background to join Marketing Research?” (Ans: No, logical reasoning skills will suffice), “What is different about the 11-month programme?” (Ans: You work around the clock shuttling between academics and internships, there’s no time to breathe) were some of the confusions that were busted.
As this hour of fresh concepts gave way to the next element of the event, a written aptitude test based on grammar, logical reasoning and basic mathematical skills, the students seemed to agree that there was a lot more to management than a penchant for numbers.