How my time at Salford Business School prepares me for a career in Digital Marketing?


Welcome to my first blog post, I’m Sean, 34 and I’m studying for a Master’s in Digital Marketing at the University of Salford. This came about after a decision I made in early 2019 to take a leap and change my career, I originally did a Degree in Animation in the field of Digital Video Design and achieved a 2:1. However, I’ve spent most of my working life in retail where I have learnt a lot of transferable skills but never really found it fulfilling as a career.

In 2016 I managed to move into an admin job for a law firm where I learnt a lot of new skills and it was here where I was first introduced to Marketing. I helped the Marketing Manager with events and dabbled a little with the company’s social media and website which I enjoyed, however due to staff shortages a promised move into Marketing for the company never materialised. I decided then that it was time to make a change if I was ever going to move into Marketing.

Why did I choose Digital Marketing?

A few years ago, I was asked to make a website for a friend’s business, this was something I’d never done before but decided to take on the challenge as I’ve always been keen to learn new skills. As I had no experience of coding, I decided to rely on Apple’s iWeb for the technical side and concentrate on website’s design which I used Adobe Photoshop to create the graphics, a skill I learnt in my Degree.

After I finished the website, I was intrigued to learn more about the technical side of the website and decided to learn Adobe Dreamweaver which was a popular web development tool at the time. Whilst I was learning Dreamweaver, I found it to be quite similar to iWeb in the sense that I wasn’t doing much coding rather just adding elements and images. I decided I wanted to delve much further into the technical side and later learnt how to code in HTML and CSS from which I made a few more websites for small businesses. I have also furthered my knowledge by completing a course in Responsive Web Design through FreeCodeCamp, since then I have moved on to their JavaScript certification which is currently on hold whilst I complete my Masters.

It is from this love of Web Developing that I became more interested in the marketing of websites and how to become visible on search engines through search engine optimisation, this coupled with the bits of marketing I was doing in my job led me to look into courses to further my knowledge and gain new skills such as: Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Pay Per Click (PPC), Content Marketing, GoogleAnalytics and a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour to name a few, which I believe will complement the skills I already have and help me to gain a career within Digital Marketing.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

MSc in Digital Marketing

As my funds were limited given I’d have to give up work I kept my university search within the North West. I looked at the courses each university in the region offered and 2 courses stood out to me, MSc in Digital Marketing at the University of Salford and MSc in Digital Marketing at Liverpool John Moores University. The reasons I chose Salford over Liverpool was the opportunity to do an internship or placement as part of the course itself this would give me valuable work experience alongside my Masters. Salford also offered multiple start dates throughout the year something the other universities didn’t offer, this allowed me to start my course in November whereas at Liverpool I would have had to wait until September the following year.

Having grown up in Salford I know the area well and having visited the university at undergraduate level I can see a lot of investment has gone into the university as well as the surrounding areas, with the growth of Media City and with Manchester next door the university has great links to businesses. The course is also approved and accredited by The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and developed in consultation with industry partners, to make sure you’re equipped with knowledge that is needed to meet the demands of the industry.

The course is made up of 4 modules and an Industry Collaboration Project:

1. Online and Offline Consumer Behaviour

2. Digital Marketing Communications

3. Search and Social Media Marketing

4. Digital Marketing Analytics and Strategy

Industry Collaboration Project (ICP): A. Internship B. Placement C. Dissertation D. Entrepreneurship

So far I have completed modules 1 and 2 which have been very insightful, I’ve learnt a lot of theory and I’ve also put it into practice during module 2 where we were able to do a case study on Zipcar. I’m currently halfway through module 3 which is accredited by the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM). I am really enjoying this module as it has allowed me to create this website as well as the blog itself. The aim of this part of the module is to create an online personal brand and use SEO to improve ranking and awareness. After you have completed the 4 modules you can choose which ICP route to take which can help you gain industry experience, do further research into a real-world business problem or start your own business.

Either route is an excellent option to finish this course, the problem I find with most courses is there seems a disconnect from the end of studying and starting a career, whereas this course can not only provide you with a relevant Master’s Degree it can also gain you valuable experience and links within the industry.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

ICP and after I graduate

My original goal when starting this course was to progress through the modules and then onto an internship or placement with the hope of gaining employment within the company. Unfortunately due to the current Covid-19 pandemic this goal has had to be altered, I am now going to be completing this course by way of dissertation. Although this wasn’t my preferred option I feel I can still achieve a good outcome. I’m exploring areas in which to focus my research on in order to help me achieve my career goal of one day becoming a Digital Marketing Manager.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Leave a comment below if you liked my post or have any questions you’d like to ask me.

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