In this guest post, Dalal Nasser (main photo), graduate at ANZ, explains the challenges of starting a career in marketing in the COVID environment and the importance for employers to support the skill development of all employees…
I’ve always loved being creative—from writing to the arts—so marketing seemed like a natural fit in my final school years. I loved my university studies and now I’ve had the opportunity to apply and grow my skills, seeing great outcomes for both our customers and contributing to my team.
As a fresh ANZ graduate marketer in 2020, I was looking forward to meeting my new team. After school and university, I was excited to launch my new career, but my exciting plans to enter the workforce changed very quickly. Melbourne saw the toughest lockdowns in Australia and I spent just three weeks in the office in 2020.
The difficulties we all faced encouraged me to dig deeper and find a resilience I never knew I had. I knew I would face challenges starting my career, but 2020 threw more curveballs than anyone could have expected. While the challenges continue to arrive, I’m glad I’ve been able to work my way through them, grow and develop as a result.
The direction, support and leadership from my managers throughout the year was incredible. I always felt connected to my new team and didn’t miss out on opportunities that I thought I may have given the situation. Our managers provided great support whenever we were unsure and were willing to be vulnerable and admit when they were struggling with anything.
While it is vastly different working from home, it remains vital that the current generation of graduates are supported to develop our marketing skills for the future. The interruptions to traditional working practices has resulted in challenges for young marketers to learn, question, challenge and train on the job. But I was impressed with the ease at how as an organisation we were able to adapt to working remotely and not miss a beat. All work flowed seamlessly and the supportive work environment was able to be maintained.
It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day work and not recognise newly developed skills or gaps to build on. Having an employer who is actively seeking to develop and support my career progression is something I am incredibly thankful for and at ANZ, I’m fortunate to be supported by the Marketing Masters program. Designed to continue my growth and development, Marketing Masters has ensured my managers and I are able to track my progress and skill acquisition. Planning for my career’s next steps and looking at what skills I need to keep building is helping me shape my goals for the coming years.
When I see over 300 marketers involved in the Brand Academy training workshops, it is reassuring that ANZ is investing significant time and resources into developing our careers and to help us reach our full potential. Throughout the program, we have the opportunity to measure our skills and development and demonstrate the growth we have achieved as marketers.
Understanding theories and ideas is one part but creating a campaign, justifying your decisions, working with your agency/external partners and analysing its results can be thrilling, electrifying and terrifying all at the same time. Ensuring the next generation of marketers have these skills is vital for the industry because as technology and consumer preferences rapidly evolve so too do marketers if we are to be at the forefront of best and next practice.
The training and development opportunities provided by ANZ’s Marketing Masters and Brand Academy programs have helped me to map my skills and plan my future. While University helped me develop a great foundation for marketing as well as many soft skills that I use every day, it can only teach you so much compared to on the job learning. Today I get the opportunity to work with a diverse range of people – including our marketers across Australia, New Zealand and beyond, our agency partners and our customers. Being able to understand their thoughts and opinions is vital as it helps to produce customer centric campaigns and initiatives.
We use training from Go1 and LinkedIn Learning for a range of self-directed learning and application led virtual classroom workshops that hone our skills from discovery and insights to strategy and execution. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to continue building my technical marketing skills. It’s opened up my mind to greater possibilities in my role and the opportunities I will have not only across the bank or but throughout my marketing career.
I urge other marketing employers to invest and support the development of your young staff. Learning should never stop and technology allows us to learn in a collaborative environment and to ensure our activities are measured against meeting our customer needs. It has never been more important to actively ensure that the next generation of marketers are equipped with the best marketing skills.
Working with a supportive team, I see a great future for myself in the marketing industry. I didn’t think a bank would be where I wanted to work when I started university, but after learning about their graduate program I knew I had to apply. I never expected that joining the marketing team would provide incredible opportunities to continuously learn and work on projects that far exceed my expectations. I can’t wait to see what the next few years hold for my marketing career.