How to Become a Marketing Manager: Scope, Salary & More

With some of the best salaries in the industry and never-ending challenges, marketing is an interesting career choice. Here’s your guide on how to become a marketing manager in India, by Abhishek Sareen, a marketing professional with over 16 years of experience.


1. Role of Marketing Manager in India

The role of a marketing manager is to generate demand for the brand’s product or service, and enable their sales team to realize orders. It could ideally start with checking the daily sales numbers, getting feedback from sales and distribution on the product, however the prime objective is the support the sales team in achieving their objective.

Here are some day-to-day responsibilities of a marketing manager:

  • Briefing the design team on the consumer research for the next season’s product requirement
  • Tracking the new product development progress
  • Getting information on likely moves by competition
  • Bench-marking the latest product introduction of branding in your category,
  • Creating a presentation to brief the top management about the future direction for your brand
  • Creating a brief for creative agency for new advertising promotions
  • Budgeting your marketing spends for future advertising campaigns, etc.

A marketing manager has a much longer term view of sales as compared to a sales team.

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In a well-organized company, the marketing department acts like the brain of an organization. The role of brand or marketing team can be very demanding, and at the same time exciting, too.

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Difference between Marketing, Brand & Sales Manager
1.2 Is Marketing a Good Career?
2.1 Subjects Taken
2.2 Academic Qualifications
2.3 Entrance Exams
2.4 License Required
2.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required
2.6 Cost of Tuition and Training
2.7 Competition
2.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Marketing Manager
2.9 Governing Bodies
3.1 Specializations/ Sub-Professions
3.2 Companies & Institutions that Employ Marketing Managers
3.3 Growth Prospects
3.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities
3.5 Salary Range
4.1 Top Universities in India
4.2 Top Universities in World
4.3 Famous Personalities
4.4 Useful Links

1.1 Difference between a Marketing Manager & Sales Manager

A sales manager’s key role is to oversee the entire sales process and drive revenue. This includes forecasting sales, building and managing distribution channels, generating leads and driving orders, ensuring the orders are fulfilled and ensuring payment terms are adhered to by the customer. They also track competition and communicate feedback to marketing and design teams.

A marketing manager’s role is more holistic. Their job deals with creating and evolving the product, defining the place and medium of customer engagement, the price of the product so as to compete in the market and how it is going to be positioned by hearing the customer’s voice, and finally promotion.

In a nut shell, a marketing manager provides all the required fire power to the sales team so that they can go out sell the product easily and gain market share and profitability. A marketing manager has a more long term view of the company’s value proposition and they treat the sales team as their customer. They are also required to coordinate with various internal departments like design, operations, finance, logistics and sales to ensure smooth functioning of the sales process.

A marketing manager’s role begins at the time of creation of the product, whereas a sales manager’s role begins after the product is created and is almost ready to be sold.

Read more here: Is Marketing and Sales the Same?

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1.2 Is Marketing a Good Career?


Marketing is a challenging career path, perfect for those who like to learn new things, and come up with creative solutions by analyzing the needs of the world. Along with decent salary packages, marketing jobs offer a lot of travel, both domestic and overseas. Moreover, doing market research often allows you to meet different people, learn about habits, culture, society and this career path is full of interesting experiences.

2. How to Become a Marketing Manager

2.1.1 Subjects Taken at School

You could be from any discipline like Science, Mathematics, Social Studies – management can act as an extension to any school or bachelor course.

2.1.2 Subjects Taken at Undergrad College

Law, Economics, Commerce are preferred but not mandatory. Engineering, Sciences, Psychology and even medicine are also well accepted for graduations for an MBA in marketing.

2.2.1 Academic Qualifications/ Undergraduate Degree Required

Any undergrad degree, preferably majoring in Psychology, Economics or Mass Comm.

Most undergraduate degrees are acceptable for pursuing a management program, from engineering to commerce to even medicine, as in order to move up the ladder, management knowledge it essential. More than a graduation degree, work experience is essential to really understand a corporate structure and function. One would only be able to relate to management lessons in MBA if you have prior work experience in a company.

In graduation I would highly recommend BA in Psychology, Economics or Literature. An MBA combined with such a Bachelor degree would become a great candidate for marketing jobs.

2.2.2 Post-Graduate Degree Requirements/ Options

MBA in Marketing

The best option to get into the marketing career path is to do an MBA in Marketing. Since MBA is a generic term, in India, most institutes offer degrees like PGDBM (Post Graduation Diploma in Business Management), PGBDA (Post Graduation Diploma in Business Administration) which are synonymous to MBA. In these you have the option to specialize in marketing.

It’s a good idea to research about different colleges to understand what degrees and specializations they offer. This will also help you get an idea of location preferences, so that you can decide where to apply (See Section 4.1). Many colleges have different entrance exams, so shortlisting where you’ll apply will help you prepare for exams accordingly (See 2.3).

2.3 Entrance Exams

CAT for MBA colleges in India; GMAT for international.

For top Indian MBA colleges like IIM’s, which recruit solely on the basis of merit, CAT entrance exam is required. A lot of other private Indian MBA colleges also accept CAT score for their shortlisting and entrance. There are other entrance tests like MAT, GMAT, Specific B-School Entrance exams like XAT, Symbiosis etc., which are also accepted by colleges across India. So you need to give multiple exams and apply to colleges accordingly.

Also check out: Is Executive MBA Worth It? MBA vs. Executive MBA

After clearing the exams, students go through a personal interview (PI) and group discussion (GD) rounds, which also carry certain amount of weightage for getting admission. Here various criteria like work experience, graduation degree and grades, personality, etc. are considered. The weightage for GD & PI depend from institute to institute and is generally not disclosed publically.

Management institutes try to create a diverse batch of students from different backgrounds, so that they can learn from each other within the batch, too. Thus, if you have unique profile, your chances of admittance are slightly higher, provided you have cleared the entrance cut-off.

For most international MBA programs you need to give GMAT. However, the course fee can be very expensive for the international MBA programs. Your willingness to pay the tuition fee, your relative GMAT score with respect to others applying for institute, your academic and professional profile along with the diversity that you bring in your batch, play are role in your selection. However, this selection criteria is kept under wraps to a great extent.

Also read: How to Get into Harvard Business School: Criteria & Application Tips

2.4 License Required


You don’t require any license to work as a marketing professional.

2.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required

Very helpful, but not necessary.

It is extremely essential to have prior experience such as sales, consumer research, or finance so that you can relate management concepts. However lot of companies prefer fresh management graduates also, so that they can induct them well into their corporate culture.

2.6 Cost of Tuition and Training

A full time MBA can cost anywhere from 8 to 50 lakhs, depending on the course and reputation of the institute. It’s comparatively an expensive course and scholarships are unheard of. This is because good management faculty, especially with industry experience, are in short supply and difficult to recruit.

2.7 Competition

The competition for marketing managers is very high. In the last few years, a lot of colleges have sprung up and have produced too many marketing managers, who have done some management course or the other. The best idea to make your resume stand out is to aim for the top colleges like IIM-A, B and C, which are in the top league. To get through them requires serious effort and acumen. Top companies always prefer to recruit the cream of students from these institutes for their management trainee programs.

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2.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Marketing Managers

24 years.

2.9 Governing Bodies


3. Professional Opportunities/ Career Growth for Marketing Managers

3.1 Specializations/ Sub-Professions

In most industries, marketing and sales are clubbed as a common departmental function. However, in companies that cater to end consumers (B2C), the marketing function is very distinct from sales. Broadly speaking, marketing can be further segmented into areas like:

  1. Brand Strategy
  2. Communication – Above the line (ATL) e.g. TV, Print, Radio and Below the line (BTL) Communication e.g. events, road shows etc.
  3. Consumer Research and Product Management
  4. Public Relations (PR) & Digital Marketing

In most marketing departments, you will find marketing managers taking up the above mentioned roles and specialize in one or more areas depending on the needs of an organization. It is recommended that a good marketing manager should have good understanding of the sales function before they move into marketing

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3.2 Companies & Institutions that Employ Marketing Managers

All major consumer products & services and FMCG companies have requirements for marketing managers. Marketing is a must have for all sectors. Every individual across industries is directly or indirectly involved in marketing, as it relates to delivering value to the end customer.

3.3 Growth Prospects

Marketing management has very good growth prospects, and everybody aspires for a management role. However being in management is not easy. As some say, it’s watching someone do a job worse than you. A lot of people in technical roles aspire to be in management, but sometimes don’t understand the challenges. Many people believe that just because one is good at their technical/functional job, they will be a good manager. On the contrary the opposite is generally true.

A large part of any manager’s role is to deal with people. And in case of marketing, one deals with a lot of people from varied backgrounds. This gives the marketing manager a very diverse exposure of the workings of a company, but also of various industries. And this makes marketers very well equipped to start their own company. Most often, CEOs of companies start their careers as marketing trainees.

3.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Yes definitely! Marketing people are highly inclined to become entrepreneurs as they have a very good understanding of the overall business, product strategy and engage constantly with multiple departments starting from product development to sales. Being in marketing is an excellent choice if you want to become an entrepreneur.

However, marketing management courses were actually designed to make you a corporate work horse. A majority of MBA aspirants do this management program to find a job in the corporate world. Very few people think of taking up entrepreneurship route after their MBA, as it’s an expensive course and one needs to recover their investments as quickly as possible.

Management education in reality, is not a real science. A majority of times you really don’t need to be an MBA to rise up in the management cadre. Management is just common-sense that you learn on the job. Having a management degree doesn’t make your good manager either, one learns management more on the job and through working with others.

3.5 Salary Range

₹4 to 12 lacs per annum in India for fresh graduates as of 2021; depending on university. For experienced professionals salaries can go as high as INR 30 to INR 80 lakhs per annum depending on field and prior experience.

4. Further Resources

4.1 Top Universities in India

  • IIM Ahmedabad
  • IIM Bangalore
  • IIM Calcutta
  • FMS Delhi
  • ISB Hyderabad

4.2 Top Universities in World

  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Harvard Business School
  • Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
  • London Business School
  • MIT Sloan School of Management

4.3 Famous Personalities

Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Lee Iacoca, Guy Kawasaki, Phill Knight, Nikesh Arora, Jack Welch and lots more.

4.4 Useful Links

Read next:

Marketing Career Path: Is Marketing a Good Career?

Extremely respectable and highly-paid, the marketing career path can seem exciting. But are you suited for it? From its pros and cons to life as a marketing manager, here’s all you need to know before you decide to take it up.

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