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College Degrees – Must Contain Season 2 Ep. 7 with Kevin Dieny

Kristin and Kristin are joined this week by Kevin Dieny to talk marketing and it’s relationship with college degrees.

There’s so much to talk about, which is why you might have noticed this episode is double the length. But we promise it’s worth it. While you may not think of a college degree as a buzzword (buzz phrase?), you probably should. Take a listen to the discussion on whether or not a college degree is a requirement for a marketing job, what skills are most valuable to hiring managers (from the POV of the hosts), where you can gain skills and experience before you apply for your next job, and much more.

If you’re short on time, the takeaways this episode are our final thoughts. you can skip ahead to 46:01 for them.

A reminder that we have an open call for guests. Submit your buzzword using this form or type the link into your browser –  We can’t wait to hear what topics you want to break down with us in Season 3. 


Hosted by Kristin Anne Carideo(KAC) and Kristin Crowe (OGK)

Intro: (00:00)
Theme Music

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (00:36)
Hi, I’m Kristin Crowe.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (00:38)
And I’m Kristin Carideo.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (00:40)
And this is Must Contain the podcast from Etumos where we help explain the how of marketing, although we can’t always explain the why.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (00:48)
Join us every two weeks as we break down marketing and corporate topics and discuss what they really mean.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (00:53)
And if you enjoyed this podcast, please remember to like follow or subscribe in all your favorite podcast platforms.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:02)
Welcome back to Must Contain. Hey, Kristin, I want to ask you something. Do you have a college degree?

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (01:09)
I do.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:11)
What is it in?

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (01:13)
So it’s in just liberal arts. So my college, the college I went to didn’t have majors. So, like, it’s just a B.A. in learning and stuff. How about you?

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:24)
Well, I spent the better part of two years trying to figure out what I was going to major in, because I did go to a school that required you to pick one before you could graduate. And I decided if I was going to spend the next two years continuing to go to class, it should be studying something. I actually liked studying. So. Shout out to Dr. Reuben May, who was one of my sociology professors, and I had such a grand time in his courses that I decided it would become my major. So I have a degree in sociology. Do you have a graduate degree?

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (01:58)
I do. One that I am still paying off. And maybe until I die in a subject that only like four people in the world have degrees in. Like, I’m not really exaggerating. It’s a very small number.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (02:11)
You are uniquely talented, but is it relevant to what you do for a living?

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (02:16)
Absolutely not. It did give me a lot of practice writing the degree is vaguely in English and English literature wasn’t a smart financial decision though. You know you don’t make those when you’re 22. How about you?

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (02:31)
Yeah, I actually have an MBA which like sort of is relevant, maybe kind of. I don’t know. I just decided I wanted to go back to school and, like, collect more degrees, like trophies on a trophy case, which, you know, I don’t know. I don’t. I’ve got, um, framed on the wall, so, yay me?

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (02:50)
Yeah. Why are you asking? Like, why are we rehashing ancient or maybe recent, depending on

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (02:56)
Super recent. So, young.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (02:59)
Recent history Kristin?

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (03:01)
Well, today our topic is actually college degrees. So do they help with our profession? Are they necessary? And our guests, Kevin Dieny, actually pitched this topic to us through our pitch form, which we will link in the show notes. So, Kevin, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us why you want to talk about college degrees and do you have a college degree? What is it in?

Kevin Dieny: (03:23)
Yeah. Thank you for so much for having me on. And you know, when you fill out one of those request forms, you’re like, I don’t know what’s going to happen after I do this, but I’m glad it worked out because this is a topic that I thought has just come up a lot in my life. People have asked me because I work in marketing when I tell them I work in marketing, so it tends to come up for me. I’m Kevin Dieny, I’m a marketing leader at CallSource. I have been here for just over five years, so a little while I’ve had the opportunity to speak at other events, at some conferences here, conferences, one of them for advertising. And so a lot of lately a lot of various virtual type webinars and conferences on usually topics of marketing, intelligence, data, attribution, stuff like that, which I’m really passionate about.

I’m also I’m happily married. I have four kids, they’re all under nine. So it’s a little bit of a wild household. But I’ve been grateful during this time, right, to been able to get some degrees. So that’s only happened because I really had the ability to I got my bachelor’s degree from Cal State Northridge in business, and I have got my MBA, my master’s in business from Redlands. The other thing is not just knowing that it comes up a lot. The reason I really wanted to talk about college degrees in marketing is because my feeling is everyone wants to know, right? You know, it doesn’t matter, I don’t think whether they want to be in marketing or not, just generally everyone wants to know what’s the path it’s going to be to be successful in their career, in their life.

Kevin Dieny: (04:56)
So it’s specifically in marketing. They’re like, well, is college an essential component on the path to being successful in marketing and a marketing related career? And I’ve heard that a lot because I have a degree in it and people have been like, was that essential? Was that necessary? So I just thought it’d be a really interesting back and forth topic to discuss.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (05:16)
All right, so let’s then jump in and you know, is it necessary? Like do you think do you think it is a necessary component? How do you get into marketing?

Kevin Dieny: (05:26)
Yeah. So I’m one of those maybe those weirdos who decided they loved marketing when they were the idea of it, when, when I was in like high school, I had a family culture where it was all about figure out what you want to do before it’s I guess, quote unquote, too late. It doesn’t mean, though, that I, you know, I didn’t, like consider changing my major or figuring out what may maybe thinking about other careers. But I thought, you know what, I want to be in? I want to be in marketing. That’s something that I think would be really fun, really interesting.

I didn’t really think of it as advertising per se. I just thought of it as being able to have a little bit more control over like how the business is perceived. And, and, and that’s sort of like the only idea I had about what marketing truly was in high school. And my parents were both like, I don’t care what you’re really going to do with your life, you’re going to go to college. That’s probably a different culture than a lot of other people. So I was like, If I’m going to go anyway, I might as well try to, you know, learn something, figure out something that I had an had an interest in.

So I went into college with that interest in mind, which again not I don’t think that’s very typical because I met a lot of people who were in college who had changed their major at least two or three times and who were just like, You know what? I changed my major because I found an amazing teacher, you know, or I just couldn’t handle the math of this or the writing is too much in this. So flip flopping around in majors was like healthier for them as they and you’re 20 years old, you’re struggling.

You’re like, man, I, I don’t make any money. Finding a job is terrible. Sending out hundreds of – after you sent 100 applications out or even a couple hundred. You start to think, man, is there any way I can get an advantage here? Because continuing to do this is just destroying my self-esteem it’s killing me. Is there anything I could do for an advantage? And that’s where you look for things like, hmm, maybe college, maybe a certificate, maybe, you know, anything. Maybe I can contact that guy. I was, you know, I kind of know, but maybe he can get me an in, you know, through networking.

There’s all these things that you start taking. You start considering when if your career is just impacted and difficult and you’re struggling. And so I think, you know, the idea that there maybe is only one path is definitely not in the cards here. But what do you guys think, Kristins? What do you what do you have to say? What was what has been your experience in this whole, you know, essential required a bit of degrees, at least that’s how it’s conventionally been seen.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (07:52)
Yeah, for sure. I think I already mentioned I didn’t switch majors a lot in college, but I did take a long time to pick one. And it was because I found a teacher I liked and some subject material that I liked and thought, well, this was good enough to figure this out later. I actually went to school, got a degree and thought I’d go to law school, took the LSAT twice. That was terrible worked for a law firm that was also terrible. Got into marketing because my mom owned a marketing agency that she started when I was six. She was like, Oh, you can work here, I could use you. So I was like doing data entry and cold calling and then I started doing some PM work and then five years later I was like working for my mom stinks. So I got a job doing field marketing with a at the time was an email service provider is now a marketing automation platform called Silver Pop, which is now also owned by IBM.

I’m giving away my age here. So I got into Silver Pop and you know, they’re like, Well, you have to use our tool. I’m like, I don’t know how to use your tool, but I will use your tool. And from there I got demand gen job after demand gen job, just trying to like move up in the world. And each company used different tools that I figured out how to use because I had to and it was part of my job. So I learned how to use Eloqua. Then I learned how to use Aprimo, which is now called Teradata Marketing Studio. God, I’ve been around a long time and then a friend of a friend was like, you should look at these jobs that Marketo has for professional services. And I’ll say, I don’t know how to use Marketo. She was like, apparently they don’t care. So I got a job using Marketo, teaching other people how to use Marketo. And that is the story of how I became a consultant slash services director at a marketing technology agency. Kristin?

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (09:42)
Yeah. Yeah. I mean a lot of similar overlap in that. I also just fell into it. I got out of undergraduate, I moved to Los Angeles. I don’t know what I was planning to do there, but whatever I was planning to do didn’t really work out. Went to grad school with the intention of getting a Ph.D. Again. My degree is in something that very few people have a degree in. It’s medieval Scottish literature. I realized I was 22 and like only talking to 60 year olds and I was just like, This is not – academia – it’s just like not the life for me. So I moved back to the States and got a job at a travel agency doing like admin assistant work, but also like very traditional catalog marketing.

I helped design their like actual physical catalogs. And then the 2000 I’m going to reveal reveal my age too here the 2008 Great Recession hit and luxury travel jobs were scary place to be. I actually rode out the wave of layoffs just barely. They laid off everybody more junior than me, and I was like, Guess what? I’m out of this industry. So I had developed kind of an affinity for like AdWords and and that kind of like, process oriented digital marketing. And I got a job as a digital marketer and my first day on the job, my boss shout out to Andre was like, Hey, I just purchased Salesforce and Pardot. It’s now your job to implement them.

And so that’s kind of how I got started and, you know, moved to another company where I ran their Eloqua instance, got hired at an agency where I ended up running their entire marketing ops department, and now I’m here at Etumos. So again, I think much to your point, Kevin, neither of us really – you’re unique in that you seem to have planned for the marketing and that’s not really what any of us planned for.

Kevin Dieny: (11:35)
Your pasts were so like zigzagy in a sense, you know, like if someone’s like, what’s the linear path? Like, just listen to you guys.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (11:43)
Yeah, yeah, there isn’t one. Although we both did move to Los Angeles. I didn’t mention that part after grad school. After undergrad. So we have that in common. So maybe

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (11:52)
Yeah, we were probably there at the same time.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (11:53)
If you want a job in Ops. You should move to Los Angeles after you graduate one of your schools that seems to work for people. No.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (12:01)
Yeah. Live behind a target have a terrible – work for $14 an hour. Don’t recommend it.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (12:07)
Have bars on your windows. Yeah. I mean L.A.’s great shout out to people who live in L.A. but so obviously we’ve we’ve had some besides you, Kevin, having a more linear path. Kristin and I have done a bit of things here there some smaller career changes, some larger law to marketing, Ph.D. in Scottish literature, to marketing are kind of bigger career changes. So when you’re someone who’s, you know, doing your homework on a career change, seeing salary levels that are offered at that entry level in marketing ops, and you maybe have a lower associate’s degree or, you know, no higher degree whatsoever, maybe you just have your high school diploma and you think, I want to learn to do that, like I could do that.

What do you think the next step should be? You know, I know it’s not linear and there’s a lot of things to do or things paths you could take. But I imagine there are a lot of people who come up through similar paths, like there’s a path where you come up through the sales team or perhaps another more common path that people follow that might fit this description.

Kevin Dieny: (13:20)
Yeah, I think what you’re hitting on to is like very much what I feel like is that vibe everyone has, is well, if there is a if I do something, whatever it is, tell me what it is, then I will get the job. Then I will be able to open up my path to my career. Right. Just tell me what the if. Tell me what to do like that. If it is linear, then what is it? And if it’s not linear, then man, what am I. Where do I start right now? Is it just getting jobs, getting experience? What’s the what – where do I – what should I do? I think there’s two perspectives here that are very important to understand. And the first one, and I think I’d rather start with it this way, the employer perspective, which is a little bit it’s a little bit on the opposite side of like this whole discussion, right?

Which is I need to hire someone maybe to do this marketing operations role or to as a marketing, an entry level marketing role, whatever that is. I need people, I need them in there and I need them. I need to be able to trust that they can do the work. So there’s a trust component. If they don’t, then I’m set back. I got to hire again. I got to interview again. I got to bring someone in again. I have to go through that whole process, which is costly. There’s resources spent there and not alone, that there’s also the reputational feel of man, if I’ve hired five or six people and they just keep flopping, maybe I don’t know what I’m doing.

You know, you want every hire to be just amazing. And when you get one that’s not or if you get one, this is not a fit. You tell yourself like, Hmm, I’ll try to avoid that or learn from that and improve next time. So after a few of those you go, How am I going to find the right candidate for this role? Because there’s more than just, you know, clicking clack on the keyboard, hitting the right buttons. I mean, you could teach people the basics of marketing. I think that’s a lot of why they don’t really teach that in school. It’s like the other things you want to teach them like that to help them be successful.

How are they going to communicate really well, which is a huge part in any marketing job, I think. And also, how are they going to how are they going to be successful six months, a year or two years down the road? So the perspective of the hiring side is very interesting to take in the note because they’re just trying to reduce the risk and they want to be successful. So they want to find the candidate who they think will be successful working there. And they want they don’t want the, you know, the hiring process to keep flopping.

So as a candidate, you’re kind of in that position of, yes, you want to find the best thing for you, but how you position yourself to them has to be how am I less risky and how am I more valuable? I’m going to be more successful in this role. And when you just don’t have a lot of experience because we’re talking about an entry level at this point, right? How do you get a job that requires experience as an entry level when you don’t have any? It’s sort of like a it’s ironic. It’s like, well, you can’t get anything, you know, in there if you require something like it’s it should be entry level.

So I think if you’re thinking, well, I’m going to have entry level positions to hire for, but then I’m going to require experience that seems a little off. So I think hiring managers could learn that an entry level position should be just that someone who’s willing has got the right probably attitude more than anything to learn in an entry level role. And then how do you find the most successful and least risky candidate from there? Well, you know, that could be you only have an interview and a resume, you know, to get it right.

So it’s not like you’re going to get you’re not going to have a perfect uh- not going to be perfectly successful as a hiring manager. But from the candidate’s side, you’re like, well, I got to stand out, which is where I think college comes in credentials come in, you know, doing some of those internships or getting like a certificate online, taking some of the platforms and marketing especially have like a, you know, you can earn your certificate in this type of thing and sometimes it doesn’t require you to pay anything. Sometimes it does. And that’s where those things may kind of find a fit is I just got to stand out somehow because you apply and you interview over and over again.

It gets it drains you but if you can this just I’ll end it with with my thoughts on this is if you can I would in an entry level way I’d kind of point you toward agencies because the marketing coordinator role in an agency is a very versatile and diverse role in that. I mean, you get a lot of experience working across the general t shape of marketing. You get to go along the general side pretty well and you get to learn kind of how marketing functions. And you get a lot of exposure to a lot of the marketing principles in an agency, which is why I kind of lean toward maybe an agency is probably a good path to take, especially if you’re on the indecisive side of what what you want your whole career to be about. But you at least, you know, generally, maybe you want it to be in marketing or operations or something like that. So what I mean agency is sort of what I would say about that.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (17:59)
Yeah. I mean just to underline that as somebody I like I said, I’ve been working, I’ve been in agency life since early 2014. So long time now and I totally agree with that. Like, and that’s also one of the things that I think, you know, Kristin and I both as hiring managers in the agency space also screen for like not necessarily we’re always looking at entry level roles, but but we’re always screening for that like aptitude of learning in a lot of ways, the pace of agency life is something that has to be learned by anybody who hasn’t done it before. And so I think knowing that that is a place where you’re going to see a lot, learn a lot, experience all the ups and downs that you would get brand side just more quickly. I think that that’s actually a really great recommendation.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (18:43)
And yeah, absolutely. I mean, there’s there’s a bunch of people doing a bunch of different things that you can learn from, that you can shadow, you can, you know, absorb from within and get a lot of different exposure. I think that’s like I mean bias opinion perhaps working for an agency, but we would love to, you know, I love the opportunity to shape a mind into the way we do things. So for sure. And I, you know, I you sort of touched on this, Kevin, a bit that like, you know, college degree a lot of people think of as a leg up and that’s why they might do it. And, you know, they might be reading job descriptions that, you know, require college degrees.

So when that’s considered like a barrier to an entry level mops or marketing job, just kind of like you talked about like you need to have experience to do this entry level job. Well, it’s entry level what experience am I supposed to have. Okay, I’ll get a degree. Maybe that’s the kind of experience they want, but maybe you can’t get a degree or you don’t wanted to get a degree or like that’s not worth it to you. It’s not. There’s no value in that. What do you think the industry loses out on?

Kevin Dieny: (19:56)
Gosh, that’s a good question because it comes down so much to, you know, as again, there’s two perspectives from the hiring side, from the manager who’s like, you know, when I have a need, I have a role to fill and I will be more successful with that role filled than we will without it. I mean if think about it every role that’s not filled in a company who has to do the work, it rolls up generally to the manager or the responsible department leader. It’s got to get done anyway, right? It’s not like you could just go, oh, you know, we’re not going to reach our goal this year because I just couldn’t hire someone that’s not going to fly. So how do you get those roles filled with the right people? So you don’t you know, the longer it goes unfilled is very painful for the business, you know, especially when they’re like, we really need this filled.

It can get to a dire point. So from that side of it, you know, they’re when you put a barrier up like college degrees, it’s my feeling that you can the experience that you’re looking for in any role, like from entry to mid to you know executive level is for those is for that fit like primarily for that fit. Then second is for the ability to be successful. Because I don’t I think the one thing that ruins, let’s say, the cohesiveness of success in a marketing team more than anything else, they make this maybe a strong opinion. But I feel like when you get the dynamics of fit, cultural, fit wrong, that ruins that. That can ruin the whole team, not just that one person’s success.

If you bring someone in who’s just not a just causes clashing in the rest of the team man, it makes work hard, mean it grinds the gears on everyone else in that team. It could be so frustrating to work with someone. And so yeah, you fill this role, but now you’ve kind of splashed a little bit of paint and stuff and everyone else’s gears and everyone else is not working and the desire to work. The desire to be successful has gone down. So one, I think I think you go for fit and then second, you may align with what you know and some careers you like. They got to have some experience with this because I don’t know if I can afford to teach them. If you can’t afford to teach them and you find the right fit, why not? You know, like like you said, Kristin you get the opportunity to mold someone’s mind.

The college degree is is, I think, unique in that it’s it’s providing a little bit of like a a higher level exposure to things that are only kind of taught at a higher level, maybe in like a college environment. But they’re not it’s not everything. It it has value. So that’s why it’s like, okay, where am I? Where do I stand on this? You know, I’ve done college. I did a master’s program thing. I see the value in any college degree for a lot of careers and in marketing specifically, you can come. But I haven’t met anyone like me. I’ve never met anyone who got a masters in business or a marketing degree in marketing. And I know a lot of people in marketing. I’ve never met one who did the path I did. They all come from different degrees and stuff, so there’s value in any degree, but when you put that up as a barrier and you’re like, I’m not even going to interview, I’m not even going to consider people who don’t have a maybe a certain specific degree or a degree at all. I think you’re cutting out a huge chunk of people who are a fit. Right, as well as the people who may not have like the certain specific skill set you’re looking for. And I believe it is most important and I believe that that is what really makes a team become so successful, is you find just the right people that work together so well.

They push each other, they make success happen. And that is really, I think more than anything, something you really lose out on. And so it can it can be difficult to to let go of, I think, a conventional feeling that, you know, I have to hire a degree is always something. I’ve slapped on every resume. Why would I take that off? Maybe try it out, see what kind of candidates you get if you’re getting thousands of candidates, maybe you can afford to be more picky. I don’t know. But you don’t have time to go through that many. But I think it’s worth a consideration to say, you know what, I could possibly get a better, fit candidate, maybe, and that could be that could make the difference.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (24:00)
Kristin mentioned we’re both hiring managers and Etumos by design doesn’t require college degrees that’s not something we have as part of our requirements. I will say it took me a while the hiring manager to realize that I that wasn’t important that you know, there are a lot of other skills I think Kevin to your point that relate a lot to fit like are you the type of person who will thrive in our environment? Do you have a desire to learn? A passion to learn? Are you curious? Are you, you know, scared of ambiguous situations or do those excite you? You know, and I can probably teach someone who has those skills, whether they have specific experience or not. But a lot of times, you know, we’re a smaller agency. We sort of have the liberty to be able to do that. A lot of organizations don’t.

And even though they might think there’s a great candidate they want to teach, they they don’t have the time or the space or the materials or the resources. And there’s a huge gap in what’s available for people who want to learn new ops skills in particular. And get out of demand gen marketing or digital marketing or content marketing, the more traditional style of marketing. And there’s not a great place for them to go. There’s not a lot of great training programs like even if you get a college degree in marketing, you’re not learning marketing operations, you’re learning like the five P’S or whatever their – the old school strategic marketing style.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (25:29)
And I don’t even know what those are.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (25:33)
I’ve got them in my MBA. I did not memorize them cause I was like this is only applicable if you work for like GM doing marketing, it has nothing to do with literally anything else. So the marketing degrees were not built for the future of SAAS, that’s for sure. I just find it so frustrating that there’s not an easy way for folks to get some basic training. I mean, I think it’s getting a lot better, you know, like Coursera and Udemy and other places like that. Online training courses are offering some of these skills and in teaching the tools and the platforms. But I get frustrated that these smart, capable, curious, hardworking, innovative people can’t get the training they need unless a hiring manager is willing to see what happens.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (26:21)
Well, because I also think we’re skirting around, you know, here, issues of equity and diversity. Right. Like a college degree is great. Listen, I had a ton of fun at college.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (26:31)
Yeah, right. That’s why I went.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (26:33)
Yeah, I’m like I said, I do think, you know, to your point, there is value in that no matter, you know, you’re being taught like how to write professionally and things like that that are valuable. But, you know, it’s becoming less and less accessible to a lot of people. And, you know, I think the longer I’ve been in kind of B2B marketing and marketing ops, the less I have used the degrees that I paid so much money for, the more it’s been really on my mind that as an industry we could be doing a better job, you know, creating some of those alternative pathways into this industry which, you know, marketing operations, there are always marketing operations, jobs. We clearly don’t have enough mops people already.

It’s not a skill set that like, you know, Kristin mentioned that you gain in a marketing degree anyway even if you got one, I mean, you would gain, you know, some fundamentals. And, you know, there’s plenty of people out there probably that don’t even know that it exists as a viable career path. And it’s extremely lucrative. Like it’s it’s a very lucrative career path that would open a lot of doors to people that were coming from nontraditional backgrounds, you know, people coming out of the military, you know, people that are doing a late in life job change as well as people that just like can’t afford or don’t want to spend the time, you know, to gain a college degree or a higher level degree. One of the things that I know that we’ve been thinking about a lot is this idea of apprenticeships. What are kind of your thoughts on that as an industry? And you know, Kevin, where do you see that kind of fitting in?

Kevin Dieny: (28:19)
I think those are great. We were I mean, the apprenticeship model works so well in some industries. I’m surprised it hasn’t made its way into, you know, others. It’s something that is always on my mind in marketing is like, you know, someone could be sitting next to me shadowing me and could be learning a ton from this. But the reason they’re not is that marketing departments are always like, Oh, you want to ask for money? What is it for? Like there’s this constant strain of resources and marketing and if it’s like, let’s say you want someone to sit next to you so you can help them and so that you can get help with, you know, getting tasks done. Is that generating more revenue?

And you’re like, Well, yeah, but they’re like, Well, but what if I put that money somewhere else? It’s always that, that, that I think it has to fit the culture. And there’s always that debate happening about, you know, how well and efficient the resources spent in marketing have to be or in any department have to be in some departments a little more relaxed than others. But I think an apprenticeship model works so well because it’s it’s nice to learn and see someone else doing things and how they’re doing, how they operate. Obviously everyone I mean, just as another aside, like we work with a lot of plumbing for our business and a lot of plumbers and a lot of kind of hard grunt work like technician stuff. And they always have apprenticeships, electricians too.

And it’s not just because they could die if they hit the wrong wire, it’s also because, you know, it’s something that they’re going to need to learn all the different times that circumstances come up, like, yeah, everyone knows the positive and the negative. It’s like marketing. It’s like there’s certain things that are sort of foundational basics, but there’s so many environmental things that happen when you’re like, Hmm, what would I do in this circumstance? What would I do in that circumstance? And the apprenticeship model would be so valuable, I think, for marketers, because they get to get exposed to all these different times that things happen. But I think the the person who runs it would need some guidance, right? Like how am I going to run this? When am I going to involve them? Like, do I want to I want to let this go.

I want to let someone who doesn’t have as much experience do this like well, that, you know, if they tinker in here, it’s going to blow up my whole machine, my whole marketing machine. So where you kind of see areas that an apprentice could watch over and then take the reins a bit, I think that may take some consideration or some thought, and that would make the apprenticeship program that much more valuable for people who are, you know, investigating it. So what I mean, do you have any thoughts on that, you guys?

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (30:46)
So in doing some research for this episode, you know, we will drop some resources in the show notes. You know, we did find that there are some large enterprise companies Google actually came up right away that provide apprenticeships for folks coming in with quote unquote, nontraditional backgrounds. And those do extend into marketing, marketing, operations, database marketing, those sorts of fields that we’re talking about. And I’m familiar with a company called Apprenti It was originally run out of an industry association in Washington State, but I believe it is now in all 50 states where they help create technology, apprenticeships, working in partnership with businesses, and then they help staff those apprenticeships.

Now they don’t do anything that’s specifically for marketing ops, but that’s more like things like I.T.-centered things. They do have a CRM management apprenticeship that they can staff in certain states. And I know of things like that, the developers boot camp, like those sorts of things for people that are doing, you know, career changes, none of that other than the Google apprenticeship, which is specifically if you want to work at Google, you know, none of those exactly fits what we’re talking about here. So I do think that there is a gap and it’s kind of a missed opportunity. I know it’s a gap that personally I would love to fill. I know Kristin is pretty passionate about that.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (32:13)
Come here, I’ll teach you!

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (32:17)
But I would love to see a little bit more of that even across like outside it, like these more corporate jobs that where it really feels like the barrier there is just people not sitting down and thinking about the skill set that they actually require and just using college degree to shortcut that.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (32:37)
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I sort of mentioned it earlier about the skills that are truly valuable to at least doing the type of marketing operations work that my team does here at Etumos. And it’s I can teach anyone to push buttons in a tool, honestly, teaching the software or teaching the experience around how to execute something isn’t the hardest part. It’s, you know, the soft skills, the communication and the problem solving and the desire for success of your company or your client. And those skills that I need are acquired in college in most cases. I mean, to your point, you could learn how to write better. You might learn presentation skills which are valuable, but excitement about what you’re doing and a willingness to learn and an ability to like pick up new things quickly and be curious about them and want to try.

New things aren’t really things you can be taught, but if you’re put in an environment like an apprenticeship where you can do that and you can sort of flit around and I mean flit in a positive light, not a not a negative one to to try something and and acquire a new skill or, you know, try your hand at creating that presentation or, you know, communicating with that senior executive and, you know, seeing how it goes with someone guiding you and answering questions for you.

I think it’s really important to highlight for not only our listeners that might be approaching this, wondering how they get into maps or how they might advance their career in maps without a college degree or without specific experience, as well as for listeners that hiring managers like myself and and like Kristin, that getting a good handle on like what the job entails and requires and what you actually need in a potential employee is super important and being really clear about what those skill sets are. So Kevin from your perspective, what types of skills do you think hiring managers should be looking for and that potential employees should be acquiring for themselves? You’ve talked a little bit about some of the the soft skills, but what other things do you think are valuable for people to have? And hiring managers to find?

Kevin Dieny: (35:04)
Gosh, another really good question and another one that sort of makes me feel like I don’t know if there’s like a a a set like two skills that guarantee success with a candidate. I do feel like it’s I do feel like there’s a couple of things you have to really get right. You have to really consider. The first one is do you have enough time to really get enough of a feel for a candidate to know whether they’re right, fit or not? I mean, I think the typical entry level roles, you may have a, you know, a resumé, an interview, maybe one or two, and then that’s probably it. As you go up the chain in a career, sometimes there’s more interviews, more discussions.

It gets like, you know, at some point it’s like, well, you know, if I had ten interviews, why don’t you know already? So I think though, like what you’re really looking for is that attitude and fit with your team. So how well do you know your team? How does your team work? What are some things that your team works with? If a team of just one, then it’s you, right? Consider that the team is 10-20 maybe involve your team in the hiring. And that’s something that I’ve come to realize is actually kind of useful. Other people giving their opinions in your team like, you know, I think, you know, one of this is what I thought about this candidate and this is what they thought about that candidate. I think that opens the door.

So the skills that you’re looking for have to align with the team’s need a bit. But again, I stress it’s a little bit more from the the cultural fit side than it is maybe on like an essential component or skill because think some of that stuff you can learn there might be language as in like programing language requirements, there might be specific platform requirements because of the timetable you have as a hiring person to move it forward. But at the end of the day, you know, again, if it falls on you, if you don’t fill this role to still get the job done anyway, so I think it’s always best to look for skills in that that show.

Like the attitude is there, that show that the drive is there. Those are I mean, I’m describing skills that don’t come from like necessarily a college degree, but you could see someone who’s a little bit more motivated, willing to learn, doesn’t have more firm, fixed ideas about how things have to be. They are willing to, I don’t know, maybe be a little bit more adaptive. They are teachable and communication is very important. And I know that that is really hard to get right. As a hiring manager, how does this is this person the right fit? I’ve only had like what about a couple of hours of conversation with this person and they’ve obviously tried to make themselves seem like the best candidate possible because that’s what you want to do as a candidate.

So as the hiring person, it’s like, I mean, how do I how many at the end of the day going to know? And it’s not I’d say it’s less scientific than you might think, but I think you could figure it out and I think you could I think you could figure it out enough over a period of time to get a good feel for it or to, you know, be proper about giving the candidate the feedback of, here’s what I thought and here’s, you know, maybe areas that could be improved. You’re we don’t burn bridges in your candidate pool either. They may come back later and you have that opportunity later now that they’ve gone and achieved and gotten themselves to a better place. So there’s just a lot to consider in in your experience, because, I mean, is there any like silver bullet type of skill? You’ve been like, oh, you have they have this this is a winner.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (38:31)
Well, like, I’m going to answer this from two perspectives. So one, the most valuable thing of all of the hundreds of thousands of dollars I have paid for my degrees and courses and additional things. But the most valuable thing for mops was a class on Excel and how to write VLOOKUPs that took, I, I mean, seriously like that allowed me to be a lot more efficient and faster in my like more entry level marketing and like database marketing, digital marketing jobs. That allowed me to kind of move forward. So sometimes it’s like something that you would never even really think about.

So, you know, I think that there’s there’s definitely that I think the flip side of, you know, what you’re saying is really that the culture fit. And again, you know, if we’re talking about issues of diversity and equity or whatever, that’s also kind of a loaded word. But the ability to get that fit and the ability to screen for aptitude to learn is so much more important in those entry level jobs than, you know, maybe the exact Excel skills, although that one is very helpful.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (39:40)

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (39:42)
I mean, it changed my life when I learned how to do it.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (39:44)
Pivot tables and VLOOKUP, yeah, everyone go out, teach yourself how to do them.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (39:49)
I see a lot of pushback on LinkedIn from more seasoned professionals about things like job interviews that include homework and things like that. I do actually agree with that. Like if it’s a mid to senior-level position and you’re sending the person home from their job interview with homework, I think that that’s kind of silly. Their resume should demonstrate that they’ve done the types of things that you’re going to hand to them anyway. However, you know, in my past as a hiring manager that was hiring for more entry-level positions, I have actually used that kind of stuff before to, you know, ensure that the person that I was looking at as a candidate that was maybe not coming directly from, you know, a referral or somebody where I like knew that they could do the job, especially at that entry-level where they hadn’t really done anything commensurate before, you know, that they could handle at least thinking through it.

And these aren’t like, you know, I’ve seen people complaining about 30 pages of interview homework or whatever. It’s one or two questions maybe that just allows them to show you how they’re thinking about a problem where you’re not necessarily looking for a right answer more how they work out and answer. And I think that that can be valuable. But you know, caveat adding that with like, make sure you work with your HR person and that it’s not something that’s going to be a barrier for folks. You know, we had a conversation about diversity around disability, you know, earlier in the season here on the podcast. So making sure that it’s not going to be a barrier there. But I think some of those tools can be kind of valuable. I don’t know if you’ve ever used anything like that, Kristin, or or have a like immediate reaction to the homework thing.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (41:19)
I could be persuaded either way, I’ll be honest. So my first job was at a law firm. The interview was a full day long and half of it was homework, but it was an apprenticeship model. They hired fresh college grads who are interested in law school to help them figure out if this was the right path for them. So I thought it was super appropriate that I know how to use the specific tools and technologies and resources to do the job. Like, could I take this and edit it and put the commas in the right place and could I look up that case in this book with this information and write the stuff down like that seemed perfectly appropriate to me. It’s nothing I’d ever done before or could demonstrate I knew how to do.

So I think, you know, you’re you’re absolutely right, Kristin, when you can’t don’t have a resume that demonstrates you’ve been able to do these types of things before or at least related things, that it probably makes sense to give a few things here or there to to make sure someone understands the concepts, can follow the basic instructions, directions to to work within a tool at the same time. I also hated it so as a hiring manager, it’s like, Oh, do I want to do that to somebody? When I was doing it at 21 and was like, blegh, so I could be talked into it either way, for the record, if you want to work for it too much, we don’t require homework.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (42:37)
Making sure to get that in there. Before we wrap, do you have any strong feelings about any of the homework stuff, Kevin, or anything else that you want to talk through around college degrees?

Kevin Dieny: (42:50)
I don’t think so. I’ve had a couple of jobs that required homework. This job that I have today required some, and I approached it for I got this job, I approached it kind of funny. It’s not something a story that I’ve actually told before. But I was given some homework and I approached it a little bit in a disgruntled way. I literally wrote like my blunt feelings about in the answer that I provided and the team that was on in this company was like, you know, I would keep doing the same like 20 answers. Like they’re literally like, like copy paste out of someone Googling the question we asked and this guy gave us a very different answer than we were expecting. And so, you know, at the end of the day, a lot of the things that I would attribute to like me getting a great job, a great opportunity, finding my way into into college, being able to afford college, being able to do well in college, you know, with, you know, having lots of kids at home. A lot of times I feel like sometimes I attribute it to like look like I got a, I got this job. I don’t know if it was 100% all me, you know.

So at the end of the day, I would recognize the struggle that it takes to get a job, to get a job in marketing or marketing operations, to do all that it requires is so much and can be really difficult. And then to hire is so hard. I never got training. There’s no college training. How to hire. There’s no like I’ve rarely I’ve talked to people who hire and I’ve said, you know, did your company send you to any hiring trainings besides the HR side and making sure you don’t, you don’t step on like the legal lines, but just like about how to hire a successful, you know, how to hire successfully. I’ve heard no one tell me that they got training in that. So it’s, it’s just everyone struggling to do their best out there, trying to get trying to get an in.

And it’s such a struggle that that’s when you start thinking, are there other ways to stand out? Are there other ways to become successful? Are there are there apprenticeship programs in this? You know, are there is there networking I could tap into? Are there boot camps or certificates or anything that I can do to get a leg up? Because if that’s if I could give myself just 5% more chance to be successful in getting hired, is that worth and I mean, you’re talking hundreds of applications later. At some point, you’re like, yeah, I’ll take any percent I can get to be successful because it’s so rigorous, so tough, so soul grinding to go through the process and be rejected over and over and over again.

So this is like a topic with like a very great, wonderful career on one side and a bitter, terrible feeling of being crushed on the other side when you get told no. So I’d say, you know, you’ve got like more than anything else, just stick with it. Like, just do what you can and and you can, you can get through it. You may need some help. You may not be able to do it all by yourself, but it’s possible. And there’s there’s if as people go through these careers and look back and go, Oh, man, I wish there was an apprenticeship program, man. I wish there was a ways to help. I think those doors are starting to open up. Finally for the first time. So I’d consider those things.

Kristin Carideo (KAC): (46:01)
That’s great. Thank you so much for sparking this conversation. Again, this came through our pitch form and we will definitely also link that in the show notes. We will also link some of the resources that we have brought up throughout the course of this conversation. And we’re going to approach this wrap up just a little bit differently than we usually and just leave our listeners with a few thoughts.

So thought number one, marks as an industry is probably not doing a great job of and marketing, mops and marketing, are not doing a great job of opening themselves up to people from quote unquote, nontraditional backgrounds. And we’re losing out on equity and diversity because of this. If you’re a hiring manager, talk to your recruiter or your HR Team about whether or not that requires a college degree line. If it’s still on, JD really needs to be there and you know, think about what you’re actually looking for when you put that in a job description.

Thought two, what are the skills that are necessary, as Kevin called out, and I think reflects the experience of Kristin and I as hiring managers, someone with an aptitude to learn who’s a great fit for the team is a better choice than someone who has commensurate experience. That is not a great fit for the team. So consider some additional ways for candidates to demonstrate the skills that you believe are reflected by having a college degree. College is still probably a shortcut. It does offer valuable skills, but it’s not the only way to gain experience that’s relevant to marketing and mops. We talked a little bit about people that work in a customer service or a sales job and are interested in marketing or mops. Kevin mentioned that an entry-level agency coordinator job might be a good place to start if current organization doesn’t have a way for you to make that move.

Thought number three Networking is going to be huge, whether you have a degree or not. Speaking as people that are more senior in our careers. Kristin and I know we’re always open for mentorship conversations. I know that that’s scary if you’re the candidate, like just reaching out to people. We do have you know, there are communities for marketing professionals and marketing ops professionals like MOPsPROs, little plug there, but there are others as well. And you can reach out to people in those communities trying to find a path by talking to someone who is either a hiring manager or has walked the same path that you’ve walked is super valuable in helping you organize your thoughts about how to take the next step.

Kristin Crowe (OGK): (48:30)
And that’s it for this episode of Must Contain we’ll be back in two weeks with another great MOPs topic until then, remember an email isn’t life-saving surgery. Mistakes in MOPs are normal and okay, deep breath. This episode was produced by Kristin Crowe, Kristin Carideo, Ali Stoltzfus, Lindsay Walter, and Claudia Lopez. It was edited by Kristin Crowe, Theme music by Rusty Hall special thanks to Kevin Dieny, and that’s it for must contain I’m Kristin Crowe and we’ll see you in two weeks.


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