Basic Information

What is marketing?

When you hear the word “marketing,” you probably think of a variety of different images. Maybe TV commercials that interrupt your Thursday night sitcom or promotional emails you receive after placing an order at your favorite clothing store, or perhaps billboards lining the Boston highway––all of these examples are different manifestations of the marketing industry

More broadly, marketing refers to the actions a company takes to promote and sell its products to a target audience as well as its efforts to maintain a positive relationship with clients

As e-commerce increasingly replaces brick and mortar stores, online marketing (namely, through emails and social media) is gaining influence

What kind of marketing jobs are out there, and what do these roles entail?

  • Marketing manager or specialist: develops and executes marketing campaigns by analyzing industry and consumer trends; creates sales presentations/reports

  • Marketing analyst: analyze existing marketing campaigns; decide what products and/or services to sell  

  • Product manager: guide new product development from inception to shelf; increase profitability of products   

  • Social media manager: manage content and marketing campaigns (unpaid and paid) on social media accounts; optimize post times and content to maximize traffic

  • Web content writer: create posts and copy for website that will increase site traffic

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist: improve a product or company’s ranking in major search engines such as Google; integrate a few keywords into website, social media, and/or relevant article pages

  • Market research analyst: analyze market-wide trends and relevant competitors’ offerings and strategies

The pros and cons of these careers depend on your personal preferences, but here are some common components of marketing careers to consider:

  • Leadership of and collaboration with teams

  • Strong communication (verbal, written, and digital) with clients, competitors, and other team members  

  • Moderate to frequent travel

  • Versatile –– every industry entails some form of marketing

  • Flexible day-to-day structure and schedule/hours (especially in digital marketing) that commands creative and adaptive problem-solving


So, how do I get hired?

So, how do I land a marketing internship or full-time, post-grad job?

  1. Pick a path

    → OPTION 1: pursue a marketing role within a company

    → OPTION 2: join a marketing firm or agency which consults with different company clients to devise and execute marketing strategies  

  2. Learn about different companies and agencies

    → As a starting point, skim Vault’s 2018 rankings of the best advertising & marketing agencies and the best market research companies

  3. Explore job postings on Crimson Careers, Google, Indeed, and Linkedin & reach out to Harvard alumni in relevant careers via the Harvard alumni directory   


What does the recruiting timeline look like?

Thankfully, marketing doesn’t recruit as early out as some other industries (*cough, cough* consulting and finance), so if you’re interested in pursuing a potential summer 2019 internship or post-grad job, you’ve still got time!

Many companies are still accepting resumés and applications on their websites or via Crimson Careers

Rough timeline for summer internships:

  • January-February: submit applications

  • Late February-early March: interviews begin

    • 1-2 rounds, but each company has a slightly different procedure

  • April: companies decide on candidates

  • May: prepare for the job and/or decide on last-minute offers

  • Definitely check Crimson Careers to see which companies are still planning to conduct OCI this spring at Harvard

What should I expect in interviews?

First, you should definitely do some background research on the company and interviewer you’re interviewing with:

  • What differentiates the company from its competitors?

  • Does the company focus on a certain type of marketing?

Regarding interview questions, expect a combination of…

  • Case study questions: how to market a company’s products (e.g. “how would you market Anheuser-Busch beer to women?”)

  • Personal questions (“What are some of your hobbies?”, “What publications or media do you read?”)

  • “Why marketing?” “Why our firm/company/agency?”

→ Check out this great HubSpot guide of 14 specific questions as well as this more comprehensive 200-question guide.

I’m hooked! How can I learn more?

Investopedia general overview
USA today description of different marketing careers
LinkedIn personal perspective on a marketing career