Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Fergus O'Connell from BioPharmachem Ireland to give some advice for people considering this job:


Fergus O'Connell

Quality Officer

BioPharmachem Ireland

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  Fergus O'Connell
A broad science background is very important. An ability to recognise small inconsistencies is equally important. For example do you recognise small discrepancies between different camera shots of the same scene in films and TV series?

An ability to question everything and think laterally is important. Also the ability to say 'no' (not everyone is comfortable doing this). Working in quality is not about being popular and definitely not about being a tyrant but one needs to be approachable, consistent and have good interpersonal skills.

Not all of your decisions are going to be popular but they need to be based on a sound rationale and you need to be able to support them. One also needs to be acutely aware of the fact that your opinion won't always be right.

One must always be open to being convinced of an alternative argument.

Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalists interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results, and prefer action to talking and discussing.
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A Day in the Life of a Marketing Manager

Do you have excellent written and communication skills? A creative mind? Confidence to sell ideas? Good planning and organisational skills? Determination and the ability to work well under pressure? Then a career in marketing could be for you.

We asked one of our marketing managers to run through a typical day.

Marketing managers, sometimes known as brand or account managers, plan all aspects of an organisation's marketing.

As the head of their department, they will research and analyse marketing trends; identify target markets; plan campaigns and develop strategies; manage a team of marketing executives and the budget, as well as monitoring and reporting on the success of campaigns. The job can demand long hours, especially in the lead up to a campaign launch, but the satisfaction of a happy client after a successful campaign is enough reward in itself.

My Working Day 

In the morning I'll spend the first hour or so checking my emails and actioning anything that's necessary.

Working at a global agency you constantly have to be aware of the time difference between you and each of your clients, so it can be important to respond more rapidly to some people than others. I'll then ring around any jobs I've been briefed on to get an update of any progress.

I'll usually receive one or two sign-offs every morning, so these will be next on my to-do list. This could be a proof to sign off and get to the printers, some copy from the copywriters or something along these lines. I'll then have a meeting mid-morning, usually with three or four offshore consultants, to get an update and make sure everyone is running to schedule.

Then I'll head off to the gym for an hour and grab some sushi on my way back to the office. In the afternoon I might have a meeting with a supplier, perhaps looking at a trade stand that's being built and checking the branding is exactly correct. I then usually have a meeting with an agency group, and will round off the afternoon by speaking to my team and ensuring everything is running smoothly. As a career, what I enjoy most about marketing is the diverse nature of the job. Working with many different stakeholders means you have contact with a number of different people at all levels.

I've also worked on some very exciting projects over the years. Whilst working in New Zealand recently, I worked on the America's Cup, which was funded in part by the New Zealand government, so we were essentially managing tax payers' money. Online is increasingly becoming an integral part of the job; as an agency you have to keep up with current technology.

One of the interesting aspects of online work is that the success of a specific campaign is measurable, so it can be really satisfying when something goes to plan. Marketing is notorious for its unpredictable hours, and when you're working with a global agency you are often required to stay late into the evening to have video conferences with people on the other side of the world.

Unfortunately that is just the nature of the profession; it's a reactive industry, and that can often put a lot of pressure on the team. If you're anything like me, you'll find that acts as a motivator!

Article by: Regan & Dean