A Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most popular graduate degrees and for good reason. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that degree holders have an average starting salary of $110K and are more likely to land management positions. To ensure MBA students are well-rounded professionals, most programs are broad in focus compared to other business oriented degrees — think a master’s in finance or accounting. However, MBA programs still offer specializations, and one of the most prized is marketing.
An MBA in marketing equips students to develop strong relationships between producers and consumers. Courses in digital business strategy, customer relationship management, and business analytics give students advanced training in building brand loyalty and strategy. The result? Graduates become experts at explaining what organizations do to consumers and how they can benefit from being a customer. What’s more, degree holders gain the ability to analyze competitors and market trends which provides valuable insight for lasting marketing campaigns.
Many students seek the advanced training of a degree because consumers are more discerning than ever. In addition, the rise of industry disruptors means markets are becoming increasingly competitive. Knowing how to develop trust between consumers and a brand while ensuring the brand’s success makes degree holders integral assets for businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits. In other words, degree holders become leaders who pave the path to stronger marketing philosophies.
What Can I Expect from an Online MBA in Marketing Program?
The Master of Business Administration degree, or MBA, is the most popular graduate degree that students pursue in the United States. Nearly 190,000 MBAs were awarded in 2013-2014, more than a quarter of all master’s degrees conferred in that year.
Students enrolling in an online MBA in marketing program can expect to receive the same quality education as they would through on-campus classes. Many working professionals prefer to earn their MBA online, as it allows them to complete coursework on their own time if they have other work or family-related commitments that would prevent them from attending classes full-time on campus.
MBA programs are designed to prepare students for executive roles in corporate work environments. Many MBA students select a specialization to help direct the focus of their studies, and marketing is one of the most popular – 14.2 percent of female MBA students and 6.3 percent of male MBA students earned a marketing specialization in 2015-2016.
Concentrations Offered for an Online MBA in Marketing
|CONCENTRATION||DESCRIPTION||POSSIBLE CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR|
|Marketing Communications||This concentration focuses on teaching you how integration enhances marketing strategies. Topics covered include understanding how consumers process information and how to position and develop brands.||Marketing Manager, Promotions Manager, Management Consultant|
|Public Relations||This concentration within the MBA in marketing degree focuses on public relations aspects of marketing.||Marketing Manager, Public Relations Manager, Promotions Manager|
Curriculum for an Online MBA in Marketing
While specific courses will vary by program, school and your chosen area of concentration, you can expect to build upon the foundational knowledge you gained in undergraduate business programs by learning about more advanced marketing concepts related to marketing and advertising, public relations and management. Some of the courses you expect to take include:
Accounting and Finance
Business Law and Ethics
Buyer Behavior Theory
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online MBA in Marketing?
The length of your online MBA in marketing program is going to vary based on school and program type, but in general, you can expect to complete it between 18 months to 2 years if taking courses full time. If taking courses part time, it can take between 2-3 years to finish your degree.
Accreditation for Online MBA in Marketing Degrees
Looking for an accredited program is an important consideration when searching for an online MBA in marketing degree program. Accreditation is important because it means the coursework and program meets minimum standards of quality as outlined by industry groups, institutions or government agencies.
For online MBA in marketing programs, look for those accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or regionally accreditation.
Employment Outlook for MBA in Marketing Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
While a bachelor’s degree in marketing will help you obtain entry-level marketing jobs, to advance to management or executive levels, an MBA is necessary for gaining additional high-paying job opportunities.
In addition to steady employment, MBA graduates with a marketing specialization enjoy high earning potential and strong career salary growth. Salary expectations, however, vary by individual specialization fields. Check out the expected salaries below for six upper-level marketing positions at different levels of experience. All six occupations listed in the table below reported a career salary growth rate of 23 percent at minimum.
Average Salary of Upper-Level Marketing Positions
Geography can also impact your salary as a marketing manager. Below is a map of the annual mean wage of marketing managers nationwide.
Marketing Managers Annual Mean Wages by State
Figures in US Dollars per year
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Students who earn an MBA in marketing qualify for dozens of top-level executive positions at many companies. Individual eligibility will depend on different factors, such as company size and your chosen city or state of employment. Here are four of the most common careers for individuals with an MBA in marketing.
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers||Managers who work in marketing, advertising and promotions develop and oversee marketing campaigns that are designed to promote specific goods and services. They also help generate a buzz among consumers. The marketing campaigns they develop and oversee many include promotional giveaways, consumer surveys, billboards, banners and other forms of print, digital and web-based media. These managers often collaborate with graphic designers, artists, sales reps, finance personnel and members of other company departments.||$129,380 per year||10%|
|Market Research Analysts||Market research analysts complete the necessary research and analysis that help shape marketing campaigns. They look at factors such as sales trends, competitor rates and market activity and demographic-related factors of consumers, such as age, location of residence and socioeconomic background. These professionals then analyze the data they find and present their findings to other members of the marketing team to help inform their campaigns.||$63,230 per year||23%|
|Sales Managers||Sales managers can work at private companies, nonprofits and other large organizations. Their job is mainly to oversee sales personnel. They develop goals and objectives for their sales teams and measure performance through extensive data analysis and evaluation. Sales managers can also sometimes create training programs for their sales teams and other professional development opportunities.||$121,060 per year||7%|
|Top Executives||Top executives typically refer to the C-suite of an organization, individuals who manage departments or branches of a particular organization. Typically, a top executive with an MBA in marketing might work as a marketing director or creative director. They review sales reports, manage employees and perform other tasks to ensure department goals are met.||$104,700 per year||8%|
Making professional connections and expanding your network is crucial to your success in the marketing field. Professional organizations offer an easy entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career. They provide valuable resources for soon-to-be MBA graduates entering the job market. Many of them have job boards, provide online trainings and host networking events. The United States has several prominent organizations established specifically for marking professionals, and they are listed below.
American Marketing Association: Founded in 1953, the AMA provides advocacy and professional development opportunities for members of the marketing industry. Their website provides a host of valuable resources on branding, engagement, customer metrics and other important areas of marketing.
American Academy of Forensic Sciences: This society represents more than 6,000 marketing professionals in the United States and receives support from about 3,500 firms. Members of the Society of Marketing Professionals (SMPS) are sent invitations to networking events, receive a complimentary journal subscription and gain access to career leads as well as the society’s online marketing center, which provides a compendium of information.
Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization: SEMPO is a nonprofit organization devoted to the niche industry of SEO marketing. They host a wide range of in-person and online events throughout the year.
Financing Your Online MBA in Marketing
While online degrees in general tend to be less expensive, many students still need financial aid to help them achieve their goal of an MBA degree. For students seeking financial aid, a logical first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which provides you with important information about grants, scholarships and other financial aid options available through the U.S. government. Private grants and other scholarships are also widely available for students enrolling in MBA degree programs, and oftentimes, individual schools have their own scholarships available, so be sure to investigate them and see if you qualify. Below is a list of resources to help you get started.
IMA Memorial Education Fund
Graduate or undergraduate students enrolled in an MBA program.
Dan M. Reichard Jr. Scholarship
Eligibility: 3.0 GPA, enrolled in an MBA program and interested in a career in the public transportation industry.