m-Pact Career Blog

from Marketing Talent Network

Gas Prices, Commuting Distance and Job Search

Recently we have noticed a somewhat unsettling trend — the tendency for people involved in a job search to be extremely concerned about commuting distance given the increasing gas prices.   It’s not surprising.  Our minds are bombarded daily (sometimes hourly) with newscasts and talking heads announcing every increase in prices.  And naturally, everyone they interview moans about how they are being hurt by these increases.  I don’t like spending $4.00 a gallon anymore than anyone else.

However, as is so often the case, the reality is not nearly as bad as all of the hype.  Just out of curiosity, we did a few calculations to check the impact of both rising gas prices and increases in commuting distances.

We started with a base of a 32 mile round trip commute (the national average) and past gas prices of $3.00 a gallon.  We didn’t cheat by using a hybrid or sub-compact gas mileage as our base.  We used a gas mileage of 25 miles to the gallon.  We also included the most recent Federal Highway Administration’s estimates for per mile costs of repairs, maintenance, registration and taxes.  And again, we didn’t cheat by using a smaller lower cost vehicle.  We used the costs for an intermediate SUV — the third highest per mile average on their tables.  Then  we even added in the estimated per mile cost for depreciation.

The results?  For that base of 16 miles each way and $3.00 per gallon for gas, your estimated monthly cost of commuting is about $247.68.  And that includes additional per mile costs for an intermediate sized utility vehicle. 

Now, here is where it becomes interesting.  What happens to these costs when the price of gas at the pump goes up to $4.00 per gallon of gas?  (Oops, that’s already happened!)  That increases your monthly cost of commuting to $273.28.  Wait.  How can a 33% increase in gas prices result in only an 11% increase in commuting costs?  Because gas prices are only a portion of your total commuting costs.  And although it adds up, it adds up a lot less than you might think.

So, let’s carry this one step further.  What happens when you increase the distance of your commute?  For obvious reasons, the impact is greater.  The reason is that the mileage increase results in an increase in all of these per-mile-expenses.  But even then, you might be surprised.  Again, let’s not take it easy on ourselves.  Let’s increase that 32-mile average commute by a factor of — not 10% or 20% — a full 50% to 48 miles.  Even with that big of an increase, your total commuting costs raise to $409.92 per month.  This represents an increase of slightly over $135 per month.

Is that a lot?  It can be, especially if you are a family that is living right up to their means.  Is it more than I wish it was?  Absolutely!

Now, the bottom line question.  Is that $135 per month — $4.50 per day — worth turning down a job offer?  Probably not.  Especially not if this new position is a strong step forward in your career track.  And certainly not if you are currently unemployed and have no other solid prospects.

So, don’t let the talking heads get into your head.  Keep them out of your decision process.  It is your career.  It is your future.  If you are making a lifestyle decision that you simply don’t want to spend that much time commuting, then that is your decision to make.  But don’t let the constant blaring of the news on gas prices cause you to make the wrong economic decision regarding your employment future.



June 10, 2008 Posted by | Careers in Marketing, Marketing Job Market, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top 25 MBA Programs in 2008

Each June, www.MarketingTalentNetwork.com posts their annual rankings of top 25 MBA programs on the website.  The following is a list of top MBA programs from The Cambridge Group Executive Search firm.  These rankings are based on a variety of factors, but mainly on the feedback they receive from human resource management and marketing management in consumer products companies across the country.

  1. Harvard University
  2. University of Chicago
  3. Stanford University
  4. Dartmouth College / Tuck
  5. Columbia University
  6. Northwestern / Kellogg
  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology / Sloan
  8. University of California – Berkeley / Haas
  9. University of Pennsylvania / Wharton
  10. University of Michigan / Ross
  11. Yale University
  12. New York University / Stern
  13. University of Virginia / Darden
  14. Cornell University / Johnson
  15. Duke University / Fuqua
  16. University of California – Los Angeles / Anderson
  17. University of North Carolina / Kenan-Flagler
  18. Carnegie Mellon University / Tepper
  19. University of Southern California / Marshall
  20. Emory University / Goizeuta
  21. Georgetown University / McDonough
  22. University of Texas – Austin / McCombs
  23. Indiana University / Kelley
  24. Michigan State University / Broad
  25. University of Rochester / Simon

Some readers will almost invariably disagree with certain parts of this list, and there are a number of other lists — some of them with wide variations in where different schools are placed.  For example, while Business Week has Harvard listed as number 4, the Wall Street Journal has them listed as 14.  Perhaps the most radical difference on an overall MBA national rankings list is between the Princeton Review’s listing of Stanford University as #1 and the listing of that same school as #19 by the Wall Street Journal.

Different national MBA rankings that you might want to consider include:

Another consideration is the area of specialization in which you are interested.  For example, while Carnegie Mellon is only number 18 in overall MBA rankings (of the above lists, only the Wall Street Journal has them listed higher than 16), they are generally considered to have one of the top two or three MBA concentrations in e-Marketing/e-Commerce.  As another example, two of the top International MBA programs in the United States are Thunderbird and Broad (University of South Carolina), neither of which even make the top 25 rankings. 

Bottom line?  None of these rankings are perfect, and the value of each MBA program is to a certain extent “in-the-eye-of-the-beholder”.  But this list and others can serve as a guide for those considering an MBA for their future — and can provide those who already have an MBA with some indication of how much value some employers may place on that degree.


June 5, 2008 Posted by | Careers in Marketing, Marketing Job Market, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Brave New World of e-Marketing

Everyone in marketing understands the concept of trends – trying to stay on top of them, and most of all trying to anticipate them.  Not too many years ago, the hot trend in marketing positions was ethnic / diversity / multi-cultural marketing. That disciplinary area is still important, not only in terms of the number of positions available but also its overall impact on the profession.  And it continues to experience growth.

However, the new hot area for marketing career development is e-Marketing.  This is also frequently referenced as on-line marketing, Internet Marketing, or eCommerce.  Once considered a subset of Direct Response Marketing, e-Marketing is assuming a life of its own. The growth in this area allows for a wide range of differing talents and job preferences. These include:

  • Classical marketing roles such as strategic marketing, project management and client acquisition;
  • More technical roles such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), database management, technical web design, and web analytics;
  • Creative roles such as graphic arts and visual web design (the Internet version of packaging and “visual merchandising”); and
  • Advancing trend roles such as the use and integration of “social marketing” (MySpace, FaceBook, blogging, etc.), mobile marketing and the Internet, and exploring the use of video and podcasting on websites.

Why focus on this here and now?  There are a couple of reasons.


First, for candidates who are reshaping their career track, or contemplating doing so in the future, the world of eCommerce and electronic retailing is a growth area for you to consider. If you have the opportunity to build expertise and resume content in the eCommerce side of Integrated Marketing and/or Direct Response Marketing — or as a current Product/Brand/Marketing Manager or Director — it can be valuable to your long term career growth and stability. And, if you already have experience focused in the disciplines of Internet Marketing / On-Line Marketing, it is a point of leverage in advancing your career.


This is a dramatic change.  At one time, career moves into internet marketing (much as with B2B marketing) may have resulted in marketing professionals becoming “stuck” in that area with little room for promotion.  Now, however, the exponential growth in e-Business makes it relatively easy to believe that this may become one of those core areas of experience critical for advancing into higher level marketing and general management positions in a company.


Second, the technology and methodology of e-Marketing is already beginning to change the recruiting industry itself.  The use of blogs by recruiters is expanding as a way of communicating useful information and advice to both candidates and clients.  However, it is also a form of “social marketing” on the internet designed to reach new active candidates, establish relevant visibility to clients, and connect with other marketing professionals who are not yet actively involved in a job search. 



Podcasting is also being used in a more limited way as both a training tool and a social marketing medium.  Video is being explored as an additional means of training, for video resumes, and for on-line video interviews.  And at Marketing Talent Network (www.MarketingTalentNetwork.com), we are providing instant alerts of new marketing and e-marketing jobs and updates via mobile phones, PDAs and instant messaging.


So whether you are a marketing professional exploring new directions and options in their career track, or whether you are someone in the midst of a job search and you are noticing some new developments in recruiting – welcome to the brave new world of e-marketing.



May 11, 2008 Posted by | Careers in Marketing, Marketing Job Market | Leave a comment

The Housing Crisis and the Job Market

Shortly after 9-11, a number of people in the recruiting industry noticed an interesting trend in terms of changes related to the willingness of professionals to relocate.  Suddenly candidates were less willing to move if they were living close to family, and if the were open to relocation there was a strong preference to move close to where they had family ties.  Purely a lifestyle decision, and understandable given the circumstances.

During the past several months we have been noticing a new trend — this time based on financial decisions and brought on by the housing crisis.  Many candidates have lost equity in their homes — sometimes a lot of equity.  This makes it far more difficult for some of them to relocate to a new city.

From a hiring and careers perspective, this creates a variety of different dynamics:

  • People Less Willing to Move with Companies:  often a company makes a decision to relocate either their entire headquarters or just the marketing department to a new city.  This always raises the question of how many of the current marketing professionals for that company will relocate.  The percentages seem to be shrinking.  We are encountering more and more people who are looking for a new position because they do not want to make a move with their company, and more clients who are looking for good talent to fill the positions left vacant after this type of a move.
  • People less willing to move for a new job:  for the same reasons, more candidates want to focus search efforts to a commutable distance from where they currently live.  The biggest difficulty this presents is that it significantly limits the available positions appropriate for their background and this stage in their career.  Result?  A much longer job search, often not because there are less jobs on the market, but because of the narrow limits they have placed on that search. 
  • People who are surprised after they decide to relocate:  This is perhaps the worst of all scenarios.  Someone decides to relocate, accepts the new job, and then they are shocked at the housing market.  It is important that all professionals enter the job market at this time with their eyes wide open.  When it comes to such factors as the length of time it will take to sell your house or the amount of equity you will have from the sale, to be surprised in the early stages of your job search is one thing — to be surprised after you have already accepted a position in another city is something else entirely different. 

What do we suggest given this current set of circumstances?

  1. If you are a marketing professional who believes their company is going to move you, and you don’t want to go — don’t wait until the last minute to look for a job.  Start your job search at the first hint this this situatuon may be in the wind.  Because if you are unwilling to move, your search for a new position will be more difficult and take longer.
  2. If you are a marketing professional that is willing to move for a good career change — don’t wait until the last minute to start shopping your home.  Talk to some realtors.  Get a realistic appraisal and an estimate of how long it will take to sell your house.  Start taking action early.
  3. If you are a hiring manager or human resources manager in a firm that will be moving a group of professionals to another location, don’t blindly expect the best.  Talk to a reputable recruiter early about starting to help fill your gaps as that relocation takes place.  Because filling those positions will affect the efficiency with which that department handles their work, and it will also affect the attitude of those individuals who went ahead and made the move.

Bottom line, plan ahead and take action early.  And don’t take the entire burden on yourself.  Work with one or two good recruiters that specialize in the marketing field.



May 8, 2008 Posted by | Careers in Marketing, Marketing Job Market | Leave a comment