What levels of education (if at all) do you feel is necessary for an Entry level CSM, Mid-Level CSM

Melissa Logothetis
Melissa Logothetis Member Posts: 22 Thought Leader
First Comment

Personally I feel that having my MBA has opened a new understanding to the drivers behind a customer's actions.  


  • Gabriel Fallas
    Gabriel Fallas Member Posts: 53 Expert
    First Comment
    edited April 2020

    Good question Melissa.

    I feel like now more than ever this topic is very fluid. I'm hesitant to say that any level of higher education is required, given that there can be a more than sufficient trade off via the depth and breadth of the candidates work experience. 

    However, if I'm honest, I do have a slight inclination to requiring a bachelor's degree, more for the symbolism of the degree than for the merit of the degree itself: a completed bachelor's degree demonstrates determination and commitment which are highly valued attributes. But again, experience can prove this as well. 

    As long as the candidate has a proven track record, evidence of continued professional development (courses, certifications, etc), I wouldn't see much reason behind a requiring a degree, unless you're aiming to hire a technical CSM.

  • Marijn Verdult
    Marijn Verdult Member Posts: 33 Thought Leader
    First Comment
    edited May 2020

    I do go back and forth on this and I have also learned this has a lot to do with location/culture - I'm from the Netherlands.

    Having a Masters in Physics I don't believe for a second that a degree makes me a better CSM than the next person. Sometimes highly educated people even over-analyse and complicate things too much (guilty); one of my best colleagues ever had no degree at all and he killed me in every aspect of the job. 

    However, a degree does show some determination and commitment as @Gabriel Fallas mentions, and of course, a level of "intelligence". If you can and do test/challenge these two things successfully, I believe there shouldn't be a need for a necessarily level of education. 

  • Gabriel Fallas
    Gabriel Fallas Member Posts: 53 Expert
    First Comment
    edited May 2020

    I absolutely agree that there's a heavy cultural component that has to be accounted for. For example, Eastern culture place a much higher value on education than experience; it's near impossible to get a Sr. Management role in South Korea, for example, without a Masters degree.

  • Jeffrey Nadeau
    Jeffrey Nadeau Member Posts: 28 Thought Leader
    First Anniversary
    edited May 2020

    I think it depends on the level of experience you need for a CSM. When I was hiring for a more senior role, I did not care where the person went to school, I was focused on their level of experience as a professional. 

    I typically have looked for people with CSM experience or industry knowledge because it's harder to teach someone the job and the industry at the same time. Helps if they know one or the other or ideally know both. 

    I would be fine hiring someone without a college degree. Would be something I would ask about in the interview to learn more about their decision to not go to college. In that case, I would look for them to have some CS experience at some level to show they have learned a skill and can bring something to the team. 

  • Scott Hopper
    Scott Hopper Member Posts: 70 Expert
    First Comment
    edited May 2020

    @Melissa Logothetis I think the make of the individual is important more important than the degree.  My guess, the product and the organization  would make a difference in the value of an MBA.  Given the rapid advance that can happen to a Director or VP level in earlier stage companies,  I certainly can see value in the management and the quant side of an MBA in CS.  As far as  I understand the ideal makeup of a CSM :

    1. its the blocking and tackling and organizational side of software consulting 
    2. ,its change and project management 
    3.  the resourcefulness and  sales and presentation skills of System or Sales Engineer
    4. lastly its the empathy and diligence of a support person, but not the support person

    While not all CSM's work in software oriented products. But for those that do, I think it helps to have spent some time at a company that is in the software business whether support, professional services, product, development or sales. To understand the rhythm and challenges of the market.  


  • Joshua Maberry
    Joshua Maberry Member Posts: 8 Seeker
    edited May 2020

    One of my best CSM's was a bartender before joining my org, with no college under his belt.  He came in as the right culture fit, knows how to talk to all types of customers, and has the drive to learn.  For a CSM I think the most important thing is culture fit and personal drive to succeed, but when you start getting into the senior roles their is a need for education standards because the expectation is that they are able to hit the ground running with minimal training/oversight.