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Is international experience an advantage or a disadvantage for candidates?

International experience as a marketing professional is still optional — for now. However, we are rapidly moving into a world where international experience is not just an advantage for success, but a requirement.

Ten years ago, if you wanted to build a career path to CMO, you started with one functional area of marketing — such as direct marketing, brand or market research — and created a deep understanding in this discipline. Preferably, you had a track record of quantifiable success on both the client and agency side.

From here you broadened your expertise to become a strong marketing generalist and sprinkled in exceptional leadership skills.

But today the world is changing fast. To get to the same level today, you still need to build the successful path I just outlined, but you also need to add two key areas of expertise — international and online marketing.

Doing business in Europe is now as simple as working across town. All large enterprises have offices around the globe. This all brings new marketing, business and leadership challenges. If you don’t have experience in and excitement for international business, be prepared for a long future in middle management.

Think about it this way, imagine for a moment you’re the CEO of a Global 2000 company and you’re hiring a CMO. You have two exceptional candidates — one with international experience and one without. Who would you choose?

If you don’t have access to international experience with your current position, then you need to either find ways to supplement that experience through education or find a new position.

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