Alice Ter Haar, Senior Manager, EU Marketing at Deliveroo & UK Scholar Alumni gives you a cheeky insight to our industry recognised Scholarship Programme.
Would you like to open up a Pandora’s box and have only good things come out of it? How about find your purpose — the thing that sets your soul on fire? Does that sound like it could be for you? If the answer is yes, and you’ve been working for between five and 15 years in the marketing industry*, you should read on…
The Marketing Academy Scholarship is a free, part-time leadership programme that gives you the capacity to fundamentally transform your career and your attitude towards life. Over nine months, you are given access to free one-to-one coaching, talks and mentoring from some of the UK’s top marketing and business leaders, and places on residential boot camps that are like personal development and career therapy rolled into one. You get to share this experience with 29 other incredible individuals, each with their own fascinating stories and contribution. You will leave holding a special place in your heart for every one of your fellow scholars — you go on a journey together — and some will become lifelong friends.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a step back and think about what you want your future to look like professionally and personally. A chance to get to know yourself in such a way that you can uncover why you were put on this earth and what you have to give. It teaches you to be a better leader, and a better human being. It gives you clearer perspective on what’s important in life and helps you to understand how you can add value to it.
I probably sound a bit evangelical. That’s because I am. We joke that you end up drinking “personal development Kool Aid” and it’s true. You’re unlikely to look at life in quite the same way again. In my case, you might overdose on just how life-changing personal development can be and find yourself on a mission to sprinkle some of that fairy dust on anyone who’ll listen.
Applying isn’t for the faint-hearted… that’s because you have to really want to do “this”. “This” being a journey of self-discovery. Like I said, it’s akin to therapy — a much subtler form, granted — but it demands honest self-reflection. The process will ask challenging questions of you and will push you to do things that are outside your comfort zone. You’ll have to “get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.”
The thing about this Pandora’s box is that you don’t know what is going to come out of it. But didn’t I say that it would only be good things? There’s a bit of wisdom I heard on the first boot camp — yes, you will emerge with an encyclopaedic repertoire of inspiring quotes: “There are two important days in your life — the day you were born and the day you figure out why.” The Marketing Academy Scholarship will help you to figure out “the why you were born” part.
So, how does it do this? Firstly, there are the boot camps. These are countryside “away days” where inspirational industry leaders share their stories and insights. You take the three-day “Living Leader” course; an intense, immersive training in modern leadership and organisational skills. You come out of it inspired and with your “mask down”, talking over late-night beers about how you’re going to change the world. It ends with an appreciation circle, where you turn to the person next to you and say what you value about them. Trust me, it’s as beautiful as it is initially cringeworthy.
And then there’s the coaching. Good one-to-one coaching is not cheap (we’re talking £250+ per session). And you get nine months of it. For free. Your coach will be your personal confidante throughout this process. They will help you to dig deeper into your psychology and explore “why you are the way you are”. To continue the therapy analogy, they’re basically your life shrink!
Alongside this, you have regular mentoring and lectures from thought-provoking industry leaders. They’ll often help you to reflect on a specific problem or knotty conundrum that you’re dealing with. And the great thing is, once you’re connected to someone you meet on the scholarship, you stay so for the rest of your career. You join a network — an ecosystem — of other like-minded compatriots in the marketing sphere whom you will come across again as you continue your journey.
The first time that I applied for the scholarship, I wasn’t accepted. I was gutted. But you know what? Not getting on first time was still the best thing that ever happened to me — because it made me realise how much I wanted it. And so began my personal development journey and a chain of events that led me to apply again two years later — this time successfully. And I haven’t looked back since.
If I had to pinpoint the most important thing that I gained from The Marketing Academy Scholarship experience, I would say it is self-awareness. If knowledge is power, what greater gift can you receive than knowing yourself? When we truly know ourselves, we can try to be our best selves for as much of the time as possible. And that for me is what it’s all about.
If you are at a career crossroads and thinking, “I just want to carry on along the path of least resistance right now”, then this programme isn’t for you. However, if you think you could be ready for a money-can’t-buy springboard into your search for meaning and direction, then applying could be the best decision you ever make. You will be compelled to do things and push yourself in ways you only dreamed you were capable of.
I like to wonder sometimes — what would life look like if we each found out what we were meant to do with it?
If you’re ready to take the next step in self-awareness and career development, you can learn more and be nominated at The Marketing Academy’s website: https://themarketingacademy.org/uk/the-scholarship/
*The Scholarship has spaces for individuals who don’t have a ‘classic’ marketing background. So, if you’re someone with amazing entrepreneurial ability, a fascinating and unique story, or someone who has demonstrated exceptional potential as a natural marketer, you can apply too.