Marketing represents one of the central functions in business management, business administration, and business operations. The marketing side of business encompasses a broad range of activities related to the development of products and services, and to decisions concerning the pricing, placement, and promotion of those products and services in order to reach consumers, improve sales, and optimize sales. Because it is so integral to effective business administration, marketing is a core area of study in the general MBA curriculum, which typically includes one introductory course in the subject as well as one or more upper-level courses in areas like strategic marketing, global marketing, and digital marketing. In addition, there are MBA programs that offer a marketing concentration for students who want to develop a deeper understanding of marketing strategies, familiarize themselves with specific aspects of marketing, and prepare for careers on the marketing side of business management and leadership. These programs are often referred to as MBA in marketing degree programs.
An MBA in marketing program is a general Master of Business Administration degree program that includes an optional specialization in marketing. Students in these programs complete the general MBA curriculum, including coursework in accounting, business administration technologies, economics, finance, human resource management, operations planning, and organizational leadership, as well as in the principles of marketing and marketing management. Students who opt for a concentration in marketing then enroll in a designated cluster of courses that address advanced topics in the specialization. These courses may cover subjects such a brand management, consumer behavior, digital marketing strategies, and/or market research methods, and some marketing concentrations offer courses in specific applications of marketing in fields like hospitality, healthcare, technology, and/or service industries.
Online MBA in marketing programs utilize online instructional platforms to deliver all or most of the core and specialized MBA coursework, and provide students with the same training as traditional, campus-based MBA in marketing programs. Students in online programs view lectures and other interactive course materials using a secure Internet connection. They log on to a learning management system (LMS) to access course materials, contact and interact with instructors, and participate in discussion forums and other activities. An online MBA in marketing may be a particularly appealing options for students who are working full-time, and for students who cannot or would prefer not to relocate or commute to a college campus for classes.
There are several designations for MBA programs with a marketing specialization. These include:
OnlineEducation.com classifies programs based on several criteria, and researches online MBA programs to identify programs that provide a well-defined marketing specialization. Online MBA programs listed on the site must be offered by a business school or department that is accredited by one of three bodies: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). These programs must be offered by a non-profit, regionally accredited college or university. In addition, programs must offer all or most of their instruction online. Programs that require students to attend more than two on-campus sessions per year are not considered fully online and thus are not listed on the site.
Students in an online MBA in marketing program complete the same core curriculum as students in a general MBA program, including classes that address topics in accounting, business technologies, finance, personnel and project management, and organizational communication and leadership. However, instead of choosing from a range of electives in general and specialized business subjects, students in an MBA in marketing program enroll in a designated track or cluster of classes that comprise the marketing specialization. In these intermediate-level and advanced classes, students typically learn about conducting and utilizing market research, deploying big data systems to track and tailor advertising campaigns, using the Internet as a marketing platform, and other functions that are part of business marketing and marketing management. Most MBA programs conclude with a capstone project in which students apply what they have learned to an analysis of a real-world business problem. Students who opt for a marketing specialization typically complete a capstone project that focuses on an area of marketing.
While the core MBA curriculum is relatively consistent across a broad range of programs, the marketing curriculum can vary in its focus. Some programs emphasize global marketing strategies, while other emphasize marketing in the digital realm. There are also MBA in marketing programs that are designed to address regional needs for marketing managers in a particular sector of the economy, such as hospitality and casino management. Prospective applicants should examine the details of programs carefully to determine the types of courses offered as part of a marketing specialization. The table below provides an overview of some of courses that are typically but not always offered in the marketing portion of an MBA in marketing program.
|Consumer Behavior & Marketing||An examination of the processes by which consumers make purchasing decisions, including the relationship of brand management to customer satisfaction, the connections between pricing and value, and the impact of social and cultural forces on consumer decision-making.|
|Customer Equity Management||Managing a companys customer base as an asset that has current and future value, using data mining technologies to quantify the value of various consumer demographics, and developing strategies to retain customers.|
|Data Mining for Marketing||An overview of big data computer systems and business intelligence software solutions that assist in the planning, development, implementation, assessment, and optimization of brand management and marketing strategies.|
|International Marketing||An overview of the opportunities and challenges that exist in the realm of global business, and an examination of various strategies for marketing across cultures and across national borders.|
|Digital Marketing||How the Internet, web-based commerce, and digital communications has changed and continues to change the field of marketing, and strategies for leveraging online assets to assist in marketing strategies.|
|Market Research & Brand Management||The use of quantitative and qualitative research methods to measure brand performance, consumer perception, and other factors that have long- and short-term impacts on the value of products, services, and brands.|
As with other MBA programs with and without specializations, online MBA in marketing programs require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While a bachelor’s degree in business is not typically required, some programs do have a list of undergraduate prerequisites that applicants must complete as a condition of admission to the program. These may include college-level courses in mathematics, statistics, economics, and/or business. Some online MBA programs require the submission of GMAT test scores, while others do not. In addition, applicants may be asked to furnish two or more letters of recommendation and/or a short personal goals statement. Some program provide applicants with one or more questions to be answer in essay format as part of the admissions process, and there are also program that have a minimum cumulative GPA that may be required or preferred for admission. These criteria vary by program, so potential applicants should examine the specific requirements of each program they intend to apply to.
All of the programs listed in this section offer online MBA degree programs with a clear specialization or concentration in marketing. However, there are several variations in how online programs are formatted that may be important to consider, especially for students who have significant professional or personal commitments outside of school. The three primary considerations in terms of online program formats are: the method of online instruction (synchronous vs. asynchronous); enrollment options (part-time vs. full-time); and whether the program is 100% online or requires students to attend a limited number of campus-based sessions. Each of these format variations can impact a student’s experiences in an online MBA program, and affect the relative convenience and flexibility of that program. For a more detailed look at these factors, see our Online MBA Degree Programs page.