Innovation and technological advancement are at the forefront of marketing, meaning any skilled marketer must stay on their toes. But does staying up-to-date means more schooling?
If you’re considering an MBA in marketing, you need the whole picture. While this degree can provide valuable skills that can enhance your career, it is not a guarantee of success. Explore an honest overview of MBAs for marketers and see if it will be the right fit for you.
What Does an MBA in Marketing Look Like?
An MBA in marketing is a Master of Business Administration degree specializing in marketing. This is not the same as a master’s degree in marketing. The master’s in marketing is usually a one-year program and introduces newer professionals to intermediate topics. You may find peers who are recent bachelor’s graduates or those with little practical experience.
However, an MBA in marketing takes studies to a heightened, more advanced level. Coursework will typically last two years or more. You may find students with some years of experience or professionals looking to switch careers to marketing.
Courses may cover a bird’s eye view of core subjects, like marketing on a global scale or accounting and finance. Other classes could zoom in on more philosophical aspects, such as ethical decision-making and core leadership abilities. MBA professionals often land executive positions, so having stellar communications skills is crucial. Your courses may also explore emerging technologies and data-harvesting tools to evaluate the efficacy of marketing campaigns.
Potentially, an MBA could hone in on one marketing genre, such as sports marketing or e-commerce. As with most degrees above undergraduate, small classes and specializations promise a closer look at your studies with a mentoring faculty.
What Are the Potential Drawbacks of an MBA?
While the prospect of exploring the intricacies of marketing is enticing, an MBA in marketing is not a skeleton key to success. Before moving forward, you should consider cost, time, and experience.
First, pursuing this degree can mean skyrocketing admissions fees and added student debt, especially if you just finished your undergrad and are waiting for a full-time job. Depending on your chosen school, assistantships, scholarships, and funding opportunities may be available, but they are highly competitive.
Sit down with your financial documents and draft a three-year plan that takes you through school and one year after graduation. Will you be able to sustain yourself in a healthy way with admissions bills, textbooks, and the cost of living?
Secondly, pursuing an MBA will take time. A typical student will earn their degree in two years, but if you are balancing a family or job alongside your studies, this may be on a longer timetable. Again, evaluate your responsibilities at least three years from now to evaluate if additional schooling is the right choice.
An MBA may also limit your ability to gain practical experience. If you have a bachelor’s in marketing, many entry-level jobs are available. Experience is necessary for many positions and postponing this valuable hands-on time may be doing you a disservice.
What Benefits May Flourish With an MBA?
On another level, an MBA in marketing expands your network. Even in online schools, you work alongside students, faculty, business leaders and alums that can propel you into a dream position. Campus business centers may offer aid in securing internships as well.
Whether you are already at a marketing job or still in undergraduate classes, seek ways to start building these networks now. Admissions offices will look for leadership and experience, so plan team-building activities or invite speakers to your school. Your connections with peers and faculty will showcase your drive and initiative in your application.
A degree also opens another world of knowledge. Your more advanced studies will cover innovations in the industry and delve deeper into topics like organizational behavior or information systems. While online courses and reading industry articles can take you far, directly working with a professor and mentor figure is an indispensable experience.
Other crucial courses on leadership and communication can prepare you for the rigors of executive positions in marketing. These soft skills are just as vital as any technological or advertising know-how.
Once you’ve secured your MBA, you could find your wallet a little heavier. MBA holders are more likely to work in executive positions and Glassdoor estimates the average U.S. salary as $142,524 for MBA marketing. Your options extend well beyond marketing manager too. Graduates found success in these roles and more:
Market research analyst
Virtual reality consultant
User experience expert
Email marketing manager
The admissions process for an MBA in marketing will resemble any graduate degree. Your school will typically require some work experience, a bachelor’s degree and a GMAT exam score.
Are There Alternative Options Besides Degrees?
If you’re wavering behind options, there are other ways to strengthen your skill set without a degree. Online business schools like Digital Marketing Institute offer week, month or quarter-long classes that end with an accredited certification.
You could also explore free or affordable online courses through companies like Udemy, Hubspot, Google and Facebook. Listing these certificates on your resume shows your drive and attention to these various industry niches.
You can continue to hone your skills in your everyday life too. Seek out advice or mentorships from old professors and colleagues. Attend conferences or seminars from industry professionals. Try to read seven articles a week from thought leaders. Learning a little every day could mean the same progress as a degree.
Consider All Your Options
With careful consideration and planning, you can decide if an MBA in marketing suits you. While it would provide advanced and specialized knowledge, some may need more experience-building opportunities. Whichever path you travel, you can be confident that you gave the proper attention and time to your bright future.
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