Chris Lewis

Currently I head up Marketing for NextiraOne in United Kingdom and Ireland. I run a team of nine marketers that includes solutions marketing, vendor & alliances, communications, public relations and a telemarketing team. My role is currently split into two, the first is managing my extremely busy and proactive team (described above) working closely with my Managing Director, our Board, the Senior Management Team, sales and business development leads, vendors, suppliers and partners in defining and executing business and marketing strategy in the UK. The second part of my role leading one of our corporate project streams for our CEO to unify the marketing teams and their activities across all 17 regions that NextiraOne operate, the end result will be the creation of one marketing organisation with a shared vision and strategy, plan and systems in order to drive productivity, efficiency, collaboration, impact and ROI of marketing within the NextiraOne group.

Most of the my roles since leaving Northampton have been internationally focused, I have been lucky enough to have travelled to over 60 countries around the world, working with different cultures and people from many types of backgrounds has its challenges, but is extremely interesting and enjoyable, I have met some amazing people including Nelson Mandela and several royals. Within marketing, no one day is ever the same and you get to work with many other parts of business solving issues and challenges – this keeps it interesting and rewarding when work you get involved in makes a real difference.

In terms of getting started in this career, I was lucky – as part of my course I was expected to do a year in industry, I worked for a great small manufacturer in Northampton who asked me to go back after my finals. I would recommend ensuring your LinkedIn profile is set up, that you register with as many online job sites as you can (setting up alerts) and send your CV to as many recruitment agencies specializing in marketing as you can – there are a lot and these can be found on the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) website. As for qualifications – if you are serious about a career in marketing then the CIM’s Certificate and Diploma courses should definitely be in your plan. I took this further and did a Masters in marketing too!

The University of Northampton has been the foundation my career has been built on. I started my career as a Marketing Executive not earning a lot of money, but I guess this was a great investment as the company funded my CIM and master’s, I then moved to a large corporate who invested a lot of time and money in my development and I was fast tracked to manage several large international teams. I have moved around within marketing in the IT and communications industry since, however it’s been important for me to show consistency in the moves and roles I have taken, I would always advise thinking carefully about the story your CV tells your next employers! I would love to start my own business in the next few years when my sons are old enough – I just need the killer idea!

I use what I learned at the University of Northampton every day on the job and in training courses I take part in and run, in interviews throughout my career I have been asked about my course and modules, and I still have my collection of course books I dip into if I need some content or guidance – so my studies at Northampton still make a difference. I was fortunate to have enjoyed Business Studies at sixth form, so taking this at university was a natural choice and has been relevant to my roles ever since, having an understanding of the whole company and its challenges, legislation, management techniques and report writing continue to support my role.

Regarding advice for undergraduates interested in this work – remember your CV, your social profiles (yes we will do our research on sites like LinkedIn) and your appearance in interviews are extremely important – they are in effect your Marketing tools…your brochure, your website and your uniform…if you can’t market yourself well why would I hire you? I would also do thorough research before interviews – you need to understand the business, its challenges, facts and figures and customers. I see so many people who don’t prepare properly and the interview is finished after 5 minutes. Work hard, over deliver, take every opportunity to learn, take time out to read up on your industry or role and be the one to volunteer for more responsibility and projects…it’s all about standing out from the crowd and showing initiative!

I loved the course at the University of Northampton. It was relevant and interesting, I met a lot of people I still see and drink with regularly (after 20 years) and I had the best four years of my life. I look back at my time in Northampton very fondly.