If you're like most college students, you've probably sat in a class and asked yourself, "Am I ever going to use this material in life?" Or, more commonly, "This isn't even for my major. Why am I learning this?"

At the time, it may not seem like it. However, the future may hold a different story. If you're like me, then you've found yourself thinking like this. However, I'm here to tell you that not only are you going to use the course material you've learned, but you might have wished they had taught you more.

Marketing Courses: In the Classroom

If you are a marketing major, then chances are you've taken most, if not all, of the introductory business classes. These introductory courses are on management, economics, communications, business, statistics, and others similar. Unfortunately, as college students, if we find a class to be "useless" or even "mundane," we tend to dismiss the class as a whole.

However, the best thing to do is to take everything that is being taught in these classes and take it for what it is worth. More often than not, I find myself utilizing and applying the knowledge and skills that I have learned in these introductory marketing courses to real-world experiences. If there is one thing that I have learned from my time as a marketing major, it is that a degree in any form of business is versatile.

This goes without saying, but the field of business is so broad that even the distinct categories have some overlap. I've found myself crunching numbers like an accounting major, managing social media like a communications major, and analyzing budgets like an economics major. Based on the courses that I have taken, I would say that the marketing courses encompass many attributes of the business world. It is more than just getting consumers to buy products. These introductory classes do a great job of showing you different avenues in which a degree in marketing can be utilized.

As you delve deeper into your studies, you find yourself taking classes that are less generic and more tailored to the different aspects of marketing. Some of these classes include Social Media Marketing, Retailing, Marketing Fun and Profit, Consumer Behavior, and others. It is in these classes in which one gets a feel for the different things that they might be doing in their future career as a marketer.

Marketing: In the Real World

As marketers, our job essentially consists of developing and executing strategies to increase the awareness of a product, brand, or service. We analyze and monitor current trends, create advertisement campaigns, and formulate targeting strategies based on demographic information. Not only do we analyze the trends of current markets, but we also determine how those markets are going to change, and thus, find new ways to market to these new and emerging groups.

Before gaining the experience that I have now, I thought all I would be doing as a marketer was make advertisements. However, this only makes up a mere fraction of everything that is done in a marketing department.

The courses offered here at Saint Leo University do a wonderful job at setting the foundation for our future. However, life in a marketing department has a completely different feel than a classroom. In a classroom setting, we spend a good amount of time reading textbooks, taking notes, and listening to lectures. In the corporate world, the norm is reading emails, taking calls, and sitting in on meetings.

Marketing Internships: The Best of Both Worlds

While I do have other experience in the world of marketing, the bulk of my experience stems from an internship I procured with the marketing department at Saint Leo University during the fall semester of my senior year. During my time here, I have been exposed to many different aspects of marketing, including

  • Advertisements
  • Graphic design
  • Print media layouts
  • Marketing plans, and
  • Blog writing.

Having a marketing internship has been a great way to execute the skills that I have learned while at the same time getting taught some new concepts that I haven't been introduced to yet.

Marketing internships, or internships in general, are a great way to see the types of tasks you would be doing in your career without some of the pressure that comes with working in the corporate world. This is the time of self-preparation, fine-tuning your skills, honing your craft, and making connections. This is the time to secure your future. In a sense, internships are the classrooms of the real world.

Education Meets Experience

In a manner of speaking, the shift from an educational outlook of marketing to executing the concepts you've learned in an office setting is almost like a culture shock. Being in college for all of these years, one can get accustomed to a certain lifestyle that comes with this stage of life.

More often than not, college students find themselves in the pattern of turning in assignments late after days of procrastination, just hoping to get a passing grade.

In the corporate world, we find that there is a very narrow margin of error. Projects are expected to be completed on time, if not early, with no mistakes. However, this isn't to say that upon graduation, you are expected to know every aspect of marketing or know how to do every job that is required of the occupation. I have found this to be a common misconception about the corporate world.

While you are expected to know a certain amount of information about marketing, some things can either be relearned later or learned on the job. Even so, it is best to learn all that you can now so that when the time comes to find a career, you've set yourself apart from the competition.

Author bio: Malik Buckley was born in St. Petersburg, Fla. and raised in nearby Brandon. He is a graduate of Brandon High School. He has visited four countries, including Honduras, where his father and many of his family members are from. His career goal is to be the CEO of his own advertising agency. A fun fact about Malik is that he wears a size 16 shoe.