Although the MBA in general is one of the most popular postgraduate degrees available because graduates can apply it toward multiple fields, an MBA in marketing may be even more valuable. According to PayScale, employees with an MBA in marketing see a 108 percent increase between their starting and mid-career salaries. And online programs have made the degree more accessible than ever. Read on to learn about the different types of programs and benefits of an online MBA in marketing.
Milestone Map: The Marketer’s Path
Not all MBA students come from the same background or go on to achieve the same career goals after graduating. Here’s just one example of how an MBA can act as a cornerstone accomplishment in a marketing professional’s life.
Scores highly in statistics, runs school’s spirit store
Majors in marketing, minors in a foreign language
Gets feet wet as an advertising sales agent
Completes online MBA in marketing
New credentials lead to marketing manager role at Internet retailer
Gives inspiring brand strategy speech at major conference
What It’s Like to Earn a Marketing MBA Online
There are many benefits to online education, the most obvious being convenience and flexibility. For many MBA students, the flexibility online MBA programs allow is simply desirable, but for mid-career professionals who cannot take time off work to further their educations, it may be essential. Online MBA programs are also great for people who are not in the business sector but want to switch careers without first leaving their current position. In that sense, getting an MBA online is cost effective because students not only cut down on transportation costs, but can also continue working while studying.
While students may have to log into their classes at specific times for live discussions, many other formats used in online MBA programs allow students to log in whenever it is convenient for them. Along with live discussions, simulations and projects, online courses often utilize asynchronous forums, where students can discuss the course and complete assignments. Recorded lectures are another common format used in online education.
One benefit of business school is the numerous networking opportunities, so prospective online students might be skeptical about their ability to connect with new and interesting people. Luckily, business schools with online MBA programs tend to understand their students’ needs for networking opportunities and have devised ways to connect peers. For instance, some universities have residency requirements that bring students together in person for events before or during their MBA studies. Such events may involve an introduction to the online MBA curriculum, intensive for-credit courses or team projects with classmates. Other programs spend time fostering strong social media communities and student organizations. Further, live video discussions, team projects and simulations in the curriculum allow students to connect with peers and educators in a manner similar to a traditional classroom experience.
Online MBA Program Tracks
Prospective marketing students may choose to get their MBAs at various points in their lives and careers, so it’s no surprise that online business schools offer different types of MBA programs to fit the needs of their students. By picking programs that align with their level of work experience and availability, students set themselves up to complete their program while balancing work and personal commitments. There are three common online program options: executive, full-time, and part-time.
Executive (1 - 2 years)
Often, it’s not possible for people to give up two years of earnings to go back to school. However, the MBA in marketing credential can benefit upper-management professionals looking for a promotion by helping them branch out to a new career area and further improve their leadership skills.
Prospective students caught in between the need for job security and the desire to advance in their company are perfect candidates for executive online MBAs in marketing because executive MBAs are flexible by design and are often sponsored (at least partially) by companies. Earning one online adds another level of convenience. If frequent travel is part of a prospective marketing student’s life, an on-campus MBA program probably won’t work. Online study circumvents this problem by allowing students to log into classes when and wherever works best for them.
Full time (1 - 2 years)
A full-time MBA may be ideal for students who have just finished their undergraduate degrees or for professionals who are looking to make a career change and don’t mind taking time off work to go to school. Typically, full-time students can get an MBA in marketing in two years. During that time, there may be a few months — often between the first and second year of study — when students can get marketing internships. The opportunity to intern at a marketing company may appeal to those who aren’t already in the field.
Part Time (2-5 years)
Getting an online MBA in marketing through a part-time program is best for students with relevant work experience who want to stay at their company but seek a higher-paying position. Although part-time students generally do not do a marketing internship, they instead get to practice their new skills in their current position. Thus, a part-time online program offers significant flexibility. However, it’s important that part-time marketing students be self-disciplined and have strong time management skills.
Typical MBA Marketing Courses
Not all curricula are the same, but certain courses and skills are commonly found in quality online marketing MBA programs:
Many programs begin by giving students a general overview of business practices in marketing. Marketing management courses, which include lessons on pricing, promotion and distribution, often serve as the foundation for learning how to operate market-driven organizations.
Marketing research courses are designed to help students understand consumer behavior and use that information to make decisions. Students may learn how to effectively utilize focus groups, samples and questionnaires. They should also gain skills in analyzing research results and secondary source data.
These classes can be highly theoretical studies of sociological, environmental and psychological influences on consumer decisions and may explore the practical implications of consumer behavior as it relates to marketing.
Digital Marketing and Advertising
Digital marketing courses allow students to learn about and implement marketing strategies related to social networks, mobile apps, email and other digital platforms. These courses can be hands-on, and students should be prepared to make profiles on various social media sites in order to complete projects.
Advertising and Promotion
Advertising and promotion courses give students the skills needed to formulate promotional advertising and sales strategies. Such skills include setting objectives, creating budgets, finding target audiences and selecting the right media for projects. Topics such as ad effectiveness, scheduling, creative strategy development and communication theory may be covered.
Tips for Selecting a Marketing MBA College
Choosing the right business school isn’t always easy. To narrow down their options, students should think about what qualities are most important to them in an online marketing MBA program. Here are some things to consider when comparing online business schools:
Decide which program type works best for you, and eliminate programs from your list that don’t align with your professional and personal goals.
Make sure you meet GPA and other requirements, such as work experience or GMAT scores.
Check the school’s accreditation.
Visit the schools you are interested in. If that’s not possible, get in touch with the admissions office and ask to be connected with students in the program.
Ask about what services are available to online students. For instance, will you be able to access career counselors?
Research the financial aid options offered by the program and school.
Compare the cost of tuition with your own budget, and determine if it is reasonable.
Why Accreditation Matters for Marketing MBAs
When sorting through business schools with online marketing MBA programs, students should determine whether schools are accredited and, if so, by which bodies. Accreditation is an optional, ongoing process that schools or programs undergo to both prove they are quality educational institutions and remain eligible for federal financial aid. Unaccredited institutions often make employers nervous, so they may be less likely to hire students who graduate from programs lacking accreditation.
Online marketing MBA programs are often accredited by the same organizations as other MBA concentrations within a business school. Visit our primary MBA page for a deeper look at online MBA accreditation.
How to Plan for an Online MBA in Marketing
Keeping track of the tasks they need to complete before their MBA program start date can help students prepare themselves for their online MBA in marketing. Prospective students can make a schedule of important dates to make sure they fulfill the program’s requirements and don’t miss key deadlines. Below is an example schedule for a prospective marketing student.
Time Before Program Start Date
Step 1 Earn bachelor’s degree
2 years, 3 months
Step 2 Gain entry-level work experience in marketing-related field
Step 3 Take GMAT
Step 4 Submit applications
11 months for first round of admissions 8 months for second round of admissions
Prospective students can give themselves a leg up by preparing for their MBA education as early as high school. They should continue preparing by taking certain classes and developing skills throughout their undergraduate education and career.
Start your own business in high school, even if it’s just mowing lawns or washing dogs. You’ll show that you have entrepreneurial drive and can sell a product or service to a specific audience.
Take a theater or improv class. Thinking on your feet is an important part of marketing.
Learn how to code or take an online design class. You never know when you’re going to have to jump in with some design tweaks.
Get related work experience. While some MBA programs highly recommend it, others require it.
Career Possibilities with an Online MBA in Marketing
Most marketing jobs only require a bachelor’s degree, but applicants with higher credentials are more likely to get hired for managerial positions. The following are a few higher-level marketing positions that students can vie for upon completing their online MBA in marketing.
Marketing managers are usually in charge of finding marketing opportunities and organizing campaigns for those opportunities. Marketing managers need strong organizational skills to oversee whole projects and effectively enlist employees to brainstorm ideas.
Advertising managers are similar to marketing managers in that they devise and oversee projects, but these managers focus specifically on the advertising aspect of a marketing campaign. They monitor projects and analyze their results, tracking trends to help the company maximize profits.
Sales managers set their sights on the internal functions of a company’s sales team, setting targets and making sure staff hit them. They also are charged with finding new clients and keeping them, thus broadening demand for the company’s products.
Market Research Analyst
Market research analysts go through reams of data to figure out what products the market wants, which consumers would buy them, and how much they would pay. Market research analysts must be able to go through information and accurately assess it to increase company profits.
Public Relations Manager
Public relations managers can be found in numerous industries, where they are in charge of creating and maintaining a positive image of a company. They execute campaigns to make the public aware of their company, and they work to ensure that public opinion is favorable.
Marketing careers generally don’t require certification, but certain types of careers can still benefit from the extra distinction certification provides.
Marketing Research Analysis
Professional Researcher Certification This certification, offered through the Marketing Research Association, is available to market research analysts. Analysts who wish to become certified must be part of a professional organization, have three years of relevant work experience and pass an exam.
Public Relations Management
Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) By passing an exam on strategy, best practices and ethics in the field, public relations specialists can become accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The PRSA recommends that professionals have five years of work experience before applying.
Related Online Graduate Programs
If an MBA in marketing sounds interesting, prospective students should consider some related MBA programs.
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