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Which department is most important?

I highly respect BEAM’s founder for many reasons, including: her diverse career explorations, generous views of others, and trailblazing nature. She is quite amazing -- I just happened to have come to gently disagree with her on this one, quite understandable view. 

About one year ago (when I was learning the same BEAM curriculum I now review) I went home and said I learned from BEAM’s founder, who majored and worked in marketing, that marketing is the most important part of business. My mom, who studied and worked in finance, frowned and said something along the lines of, “Finance is most important. Our world runs on money.”

Wait…so marketing isn’t the most important business department? That got me thinking.

Engineers could easily say, “We design the product. Without us there would be nothing to sell.”  Sales representatives might also pitch in: “We do the real work of closing the deal and making a product go somewhere.”

All these views are completely understandable. Many people are biased towards the significance of their own jobs -- their sympathies are why they took the job or obtained from working the job.

You might have heard of technology companies that start off with mainly engineers, who sometimes even boast that their product naturally stands out with minimal marketing on their part. Eventually, however, company maturity and expansion causes an increasing demand in other roles. As of two years ago (according to my Forbes magazine), Facebook, Airbnb, and LinkedIn all sought more non-technical positions than technical ones.

The conclusion? Given a full view of marketing, finance, sales, engineering, human resources, etc., we see that there is a reason businesses commonly invest in all these departments. Each department is a necessity -- interdependent on all the other departments -- for a business to function well.

Chase Robbins