This is a question that I got asked in a job interview recently (although much more eloquently phrased to be less direct) and a question that I have been asking myself on and off for the last three years. And, honestly? There are arguments for yes and no.
In case you are new around here, I recently completed my degree in English Literature with English Language. In England, you apply to university at the beginning of your final year of sixth form, so effectively a whole year before you begin studying. And, when I made that decision all the way back in October 2015, English Literature was my passion.
But, in the year between this decision and my university start date, two things happened.
Number One: I got a new teacher and thrived in my English Language classes.
Number Two: I did work experience in a marketing department.
And both of these things made me doubt my English Literature degree decision.
The English Language element of this was easy to fix. As I said at the beginning of this post, I am graduating in an English Literature WITH English Language Degree, although I started out solely on an English Literature one. I changed this in my first year after some taster Language modules and it was 100% the right decision for me. This even lead me to winning the Waddington English Language prize at my university for the highest overall score in language modules, so I guess you could say that this really worked out for me.
I did think a few times that a degree based solely on English Language might have been a better option for me, but my university did not offer it and I was very happy with my university choice so I didn’t pursue this. In the end, I am pretty happy with my joint degree and it was nice to have variation between my modules!
The marketing side, though, is more of a problem.
See, I want to go into a career in marketing. And is my degree relevant to this? Yes. But it’s not specific, and this has led to many awkward conversations in job interviews because it could look like I didn’t make my mind up early enough.
However, that is not the case at all. Although I applied in October 2015, I could have easily changed my degree to marketing at any point, but I didn’t. Instead, I wanted something that would represent my true passion and give me a host of different career paths, because at the time I couldn’t imagine being limited to one.
Is this a major issue for a marketing career? Not at all. But, you have to know how to answer the question and, in my first few interviews, I didn’t hence the rejections.
When I am asked any variation of this question now, I say that I am confident in my degree decision. It may not be the most direct route into the career that I am hoping for, but many of the skills are transferable and relevant. And, I am planning on eventually doing a masters degree in marketing as well as doing professional marketing qualifications, so I am sure I can pick up the additional skills there.
And, that response has so far earned me smiles in the interview, leaving me thinking that it was the right answer.
So did I do the right degree?
Maybe not for my career, but definitely for me. And I think that’s what is most important.