Co-founders Laura Chamberlain and Faye Neivens share their thoughts on the "inclusive, inspirational, and transformative” world of the Marketing Insight Series. The Series, now in its second year, is an exciting series of insight-led events, with talks from top industry speakers, skills workshops and student challenges.
Introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about your role and background…
FN: I’m currently on secondment as a Relationship Manager in our Corporate Relations team. I predominantly work across FMCG, retail and marketing externally, and internally I work with the marketing faculty to create opportunities for our current students – whether that be working with businesses locally or internationally, or with our alumni networks.
LC: I am an Associate Professor in the Marketing group, and Course Director of the MSc Marketing & Strategy – I teach across most of our programmes at WBS, including undergraduate, MSc, and the Distance Learning MBA. I’m also co-founder of the Marketing Insight Series!
What was your thinking behind setting up the Marketing Insight Series (MiS)?
LC: When I arrived at Warwick 18 months ago, I knew that I had a lot of industry connections and wanted to capitalise on that, so I floated the idea of setting up a series of events with Corporate Relations.
The ethos behind MiS is bridging academia and practice and bringing to life all of the things we do in the classroom; extending some of the ideas but also opening students’ eyes to any current debates in marketing. We get to cover the hot topics in the industry that we don’t always have time to cover in the classroom, so the series really is an extension of the learning experience, opening up ideas around what marketing is and what it also can be.
A lot of students automatically want to work in FMCG but there’s also a wealth of opportunities in business-to-business (B2B) marketing, so what we also wanted to do was showcase the depth and breadth of the marketing world.
FN: We also wanted to showcase the roles available within those organisations to help students realise that marketing is more than just branding and advertising, and that there’s a whole range of different areas they could potentially want to go into.
Who is able to attend the Marketing Insight Series? What would non-marketers get from attending?
LC: Any student or member of staff at Warwick, of any level. Students from all courses are welcome to attend, and because the topics are so fascinating, they’ll definitely take something from attending. It doesn’t matter what industry you want to work in moving forward, there will be topics covered that everybody should know about.
Students can find out about upcoming events on the Marketing Insight Series website.
FN: I think for our MBA students, they see it as an opportunity to see that marketing piece – to add it to their knowledge so that when they’re working with different people at senior levels, they’ll appreciate where that person is coming from.
With that in mind, it’s clear that it’s beneficial for not only those that have a passion for marketing but those that might be a little bit unsure and just want to know more.
LC: But for those that are passionate about marketing, it’s like absolute heaven!
What can students expect from a typical Marketing Insight Series event?
LC: The unexpected, at every turn! It can be chaotic, but in a good way, and what we try to do is encourage our speakers to talk around our ethos and what we’re trying to achieve, and they run with it!
We had amazing talks last year, on such a wide variety of topics, and all I ask is that whatever is presented makes us think. That’s what it’s all about, learning and thinking.
FN: I think what’s important with any of our Marketing Insight Series events is to remember that they work alongside the formal curriculum – they’re less formal, more relaxed, fun, and dynamic! It’s not your everyday lecture.
What sort of speakers have you got booked in this year, and what themes will they cover?
LC: The theme for this year is ‘The Future of Marketing’.
FN: We’ve already seen Proctor & Gamble, L’Oréal, and Virgin Holidays, and coming up we’ve got JLR, Emperor, Kraft Heinz and many more! A really exciting talk we’ve got coming up is from two of our MSc alumni who were with us a couple of years ago – one is currently working for Amazon, and one has set up a virtual reality company. They’re coming in to do a joint session around the transition from being a student to being young females in the business world, and the kind of resilience they’ve had to build.
Theme-wise, we’ve got a really wide range. Tom Stone from L’Oréal spoke about how to bring back a dead brand, Virgin Holidays talked about revolutionising their digital communication strategy, looking at customer centricity. JLR will present a live case study for us.
Is there a chance to network with these speakers?
FN: Yes, 100 per cent! To the point where there’s often a queue after the event. There’s always a formal Q&A session following the presentation, and then there will be a networking session where any other questions can be asked.
LC: The networking session also helps students to network with each other, and there are always some really interesting discussions going on about things that the speaker has said, and the students throw ideas around.
Does the Series support students in securing placements and jobs, and have you had any cases of this that you could share with us?
LC: We’re both really passionate about the employability piece, whether that be a placement year or graduate roles, and we’re always talking to our speakers to try and find opportunities for our students. Those opportunities might not be actual, physical placements, but they may be skill development opportunities that can help in that process, or they may be things like work experience, internships or job shadowing.
Last year we did have employers that gave our graduates placements and so we had a number of successes. But it is wider than that; I had an email recently from a student who had done a summer internship at a company in Paris and she said that all of the interns had been given a project around Search Engine Optimisation. Because she’d attended MiS, she’d had a head start on the other interns and been able to apply her learning. So it does help in a lot of ways, whether that’s directly or indirectly.
FN: I’m a big advocate for workplace learning. For me personally, my background is very much a non-traditional work-based learning one, and I want to share how much value I’ve got from doing on-the-job training. I think it’s really important to encourage this generation to get that work experience a lot earlier on because then they’ll do so well when they leave WBS – rather than just leaving with the Warwick name, they’ll identify with themselves and understand who they are.
Something Tom Stone (L’Oréal) said that I related to is that we spend so much of our time trying to shape ourselves into what we think recruiters want when actually recruiters just want you, and if they don’t, then that’s not the place for you. You need to realise what your strengths are, what your skills are and embody that.
Finally, can you sum up the Marketing Insights Series in three words?
FN: Just three?! Inclusive has got to be one of them.
LC: Can we have four? Disruptive!