Ever since he took on a business management elective during high school, commerce graduate Christian Ford discovered he had a knack for marketing. At just 20 years of age, he’s already got a string of marketing experience under his belt and is determined to make it big in the industry, starting with his new role as marketing coordinator for iconic WA brand, Anchor Foods.
“Working for Anchor Foods is really exciting because it’s one of the only Australian fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies that is based in Perth, and wholly owned in Western Australia,” says Ford on his graduate position.
“What I’m hoping to learn from the role is branding. A brand with such heritage as Anchor Foods has achieved this through a strong brand presence and a unique way of positioning themselves. I’m hoping to understand what makes the brand tick.”
Though he’s only just surpassed his teen years, Ford seems an old hand in the marketing realm. He’s confident, approachable and clearly driven to learn. But Ford says it’s easy to be confident in something you’re good at, and suggests that once you find your passion, it’s a matter of nourishing your abilities and turning them into a career.
“I knew that marketing was for me, and I knew this by introducing myself to every aspect of business. Therefore, I quickly learnt that accounting and finance wasn’t for me. The sooner you can understand who you are and what makes you tick, the quicker you can turn this into a driver of success.”
Ford undertook a number of work placements during his studies to develop and strengthen his marketing skills, including interning for KPMG Australia, Bell Booth Advertising and Marketing, and Henry Oliver and Co. His most recent experience was working with Curtin and Woodside to market the services of Cisco’s Internet of Everything Innovation Centre.
“The experience [at Cisco] was nothing short of amazing,” says Ford. “During my time there I regularly worked with people from the Cisco Australia head office in Sydney, and with various other marketing consultants at the global head office in San Jose, America. I learnt so much in relation to marketing in a B2B environment, as well as the importance of upholding brand image and how to manage various internal and external stakeholders daily.”
Dr Michael Baird, a lecturer in the School of Marketing, says work experience helps marketing students stand out to potential employers.
“The marketing field is very competitive, and employers are looking for students with an edge, and work experience definitely provides that edge employers like. It further gives students a real perspective on the field outside of the textbook and theory of marketing.”
The Curtin Business School offer its students many workplace opportunities, such as its Strategic Marketing Blackboard site, which is where Ford saw the role advertised for Anchor Foods. He says his work experience has been invaluable to gaining employment and furthering his skill set.
“Gaining work experience is one of the core reasons why I was able to secure a graduate job prior to graduating from Curtin,” he says. “The courses you study are only half the picture. The other half comes from your ability to apply your knowledge and skills in a real life setting, and this can only come from work experience.”
While Ford is content in his role with Anchor Foods, he says his dream job would be to handle the motorsport sponsorship for an organisation involved in Formula 1.
“Ideally I would like to manage the sponsorship for a company like Shell or Tag Heuer, which will involve the logo placement on certain parts of the cars, merchandise and event management for corporate clients … that would be exciting.”
Judging by how far Ford’s already come in his career, the racetrack doesn’t seem too far from his reach.
Discover work experience opportunities available through a CBS Business Internship.