By Sam Banda Jnr
Marketing is among the most popular top jobs in Malawi. There are a number of reasons why many strive to enter this job sector.
There are many jobs for marketers, mostly in the private sector as compared to the civil service. For one to be an experienced marketer and earn a good package you need to undergo several stages.
Assistant Sales and Marketing Manager Chimwemwe Sambo says that the career has different positions, depending on the institutions you are working for.
"It all depends where you are working. In some companies you have Marketing Managers, others Products Marketing Managers, Head of Operations and Marketing, Head of Communication and Marketing, Head of Sales and Marketing, or Head of Corporate and Marketing Affairs," says Sambo.
Sambo says chartered marketers who are experienced and have the necessary qualifications generally take home a good package. This also depends on the company where one is working.
Some of the renowned companies which have top marketers in Malawi include Blantyre Newspapers Limited, NBS Bank, Zain, TNM, Chibuku Products Limited, Coca-Cola and Unilever.
While salaries differ with companies, Sambo says chartered marketers who are in top positions receive a basic salary of 500,000 Malawi Kwacha with some earning as much as 600,000 Malawi Kwacha.
"Some even go beyond that but for others K800, 000 or even 1 million Malawi Kwacha is the gross pay and not basic pay," she says.
Entry level salaries are mostly higher for graduates as compared to non-graduates. For a graduate at a top company the entry point is usually more than 100,000 Malawi Kwacha. In other companies the entry point may be lower than 100,000 Malawi Kwacha but with time one can get promoted and earn more.
For one to become a chartered marketer you have to undergo training. Once within a company, the career path usually moves from Sales Executive to Senior Sales Executive to Sales and Marketing Officer to Sales and Marketing Manager. In some companies the path starts with Customer Services Officer which is a lower level, before climbing to the top level where you may become Head of Marketing.
Sambo says a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration is the best qualification to expose you to marketing. However, she says you can move into the sector with a degree from any field.
"The first degree can give you a wider view of issues before you start studying marketing;
it also means you can be exempt from studying some subjects," she says.
She says with a degree you can cement it with a certificate, diploma or postgraduate degree in marketing to become a chartered marketer. This could also be followed up with an MBA.
You can however, study marketing straight from secondary school provided you have a Malawi School Certificate of Education.
There are several boards which offer exams in marketing but the renowned ones are the Chartered Institute of Marketers (CIM) and Institute of Chartered Marketers (ICM).
According to a syllabus prospectus from one of the private colleges in the commercial city of Blantyre, if you enroll for a CIM professional certificate you will learn subjects such as Marketing Essentials, Market Information and Research, Stakeholder Marketing and Assessing the Marketing Environment.
After the certificate you can move to a professional diploma which includes subjects such as Marketing Planning Process, Project Management for Marketing, Delivering Customer Value Through Marketing and Managing Marketing.
Then there is the last phase, known as a chartered postgraduate diploma, where you have subjects such as Emerging Themes, Analysis and Design, Market Leadership and Planning and Managing Corporate Reputation.
There are several private institutions offering marketing in Malawi. However, despite having both young men and women pursuing this career, the percentage of women to men holding top positions in this field is still low according, to one marketing lecturer. However, marketing is one of the fields which has accommodated more women into top positions compared to other careers.
University of Malawi – Polytechnic Continuing Education
Blantyre Business College
Various private colleges in Malawi’s three cities of Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre.