University of Twente Student Theses


The gap between marketing education and marketing practice in The Netherlands: a study of the competences that marketing practice requires

Leegsma, M. (2013) The gap between marketing education and marketing practice in The Netherlands: a study of the competences that marketing practice requires.

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Abstract:Objectives: Because the business world, and the marketing field especially, is continually changing and developing, it is important for universities to periodically assess what stakeholders, such as business practice, require for competences from business school graduates. Therefore, it is the objective of this thesis to gain insight in the marketing competences that marketing practice requires of recent business school graduates for filling marketing related positions. Attention will also be given to the possible trends marketing practice is currently seeing and which gaps they perceive between the competences they expected from the graduates they hire and what was actually delivered. Design: This thesis adopts an inductive and exploratory research design. More specifically, a qualitative research method will be used. This thesis is based on in-depth open interviews with 8 marketing managers of different types of business that are active in different types of sectors and environments. These interviews focus on the experience these marketing managers have with business school graduates. For marketing competences, this thesis focussed on specific knowledge areas and three separate skills-sets: marketing skills, technical skills and meta-skills. Since the University of Twente does not have a specific marketing program, these marketing competences were identified via scientific literature. Lastly, a paradigm shift in scientific marketing literature, called the service-centered dominant logic, was investigated. Results: This thesis found that skills, especially marketing skills and meta-skills, are generally regarded as the most important competences a graduate need. It is important for a graduate to be able to apply theory to practice, as well as possess certain generic meta-skills that for example enable you to work in a team or present your plans. However, certain conceptual knowledge of the marketing field is also vital and cannot be ignored, because this knowledge provides the graduate with background information in which to place marketing problems he or she might face. These results are largely in line with the previous research done abroad on this subject. On a separate note, personality was also viewed by the interviewees as a deciding faction, whether someone is hired or not. Think for example of the click between the person in question and the existing team. This social competence however was not part of the thesis design. Furthermore, certain aspects of the general paradigm shift, as it is explained in scientific literature, are most definitely present in the current marketing thought in practice, especially regarding the role of the good, the necessity for a more service oriented approach in the marketing lexicon, the changing role of the customer and the firm-customer interaction. This change in paradigm shift and the following trends that were also mentioned may require new knowledge and skills to be taught at marketing education: 1) Transparency; 2) New channels to communicate with customers; 3) Behavioural marketing; 4) Inbound marketing; 5) Multi/Omni channel marketing. Value: This thesis has gained more insight in the marketing competences that marketing practice require of business school graduates. Furthermore, it will show that aspects of the service-centered dominant logic are most definitely present in current marketing thought in practice. Therefore, this thesis has added to the existing body of literature. Furthermore, educational programs that have a large marketing focus have been provided with more insight in how to close the gap between their marketing programs and what that marketing practice is actually asking for. Specifically for the University of Twente this thesis has gained insight in how they can redesign their marketing curriculum.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration BSc (56834)
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