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Is an MBA in Marketing Right for You?

Bethany Garner

Bethany Garner - BusinessBecause

Bethany Garner is a writer at BusinessBecause.com

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Although an MBA is a generalist management degree, many business schools give students the option to delve deeper into a subject of their choice through MBA specializations.

The MBA Marketing specialization is one popular path. It’s designed for professionals with a few years’ experience who want to develop their leadership abilities and general business knowledge, while honing the skills they need for long-term success in marketing.

So, is an MBA in marketing right for you?

Who is an MBA in Marketing for?

MBA in Marketing programs are aimed at professionals with around two to five years of work experience, who want to accelerate or launch a career in marketing.

Some applicants might already work in marketing, but this type of program is also suitable for professionals who want to pivot from another function. Although these programs have a strong focus on marketing, you’ll also develop management skills and study a wide range of other business topics.

If marketing is your dream career, you may also be considering a Master in Marketing. These programs tend to be one year in length, while an MBA typically lasts for two years, and allow students to take a deep dive into a specific marketing niche.

Master in Marketing programs are generally aimed at pre-experience or early career students, with less work experience than MBA students typically have.

Popular MBA in Marketing programs

United States

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is one of the best-known schools for marketing in the United States. It’s also ranked the number one school for marketing by US News.

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Through the marketing major, two-year MBA students get the chance to take electives including customer analytics, social media marketing, advertising strategy, and strategic brand management.

Kellogg also offers hands-on experiences in marketing, such as an annual live analysis of Super Bowl ads and their effectiveness.

Other US programs ranked highly for marketing include Wharton, Stanford, Duke Fuqua, and Chicago Booth.

Europe

The MBA program at Esade Business School is the best in Europe for marketing according to QS. Esade MBA students can tailor the program to their interest in marketing through electives like brand strategy and market analytics in the era of big data.

Other highly-regarded European programs include SDA Bocconi in Italy, Spain’s IESE, and HEC Pari s.

Asia

In Asia, Singapore’s Nanyang Business School is home to the highest-ranked MBA marketing specialization, according to QS. The school’s marketing management track hones in on the tech side or marketing, through modules including digital marketing and neuromarketing and consumer neuroscience.

HKUST Business School and CEIBS also offer top-ranked MBA marketing specializations.

Online or Part-time MBA

Some Online MBA and Part-time MBA programs also allow you to specialize in marketing, or choose multiple marketing electives.

The Online MBA offered by Kelley School of Business in Indiana gives students the opportunity to specialize in marketing by completing 12 electives in the field, for example.

Other Online MBAs that allow you to specialize in marketing include the program at Kenan Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, and Birmingham Business School in the UK.

Schools offering part-time MBAs with a marketing specialization include NYU Stern in the US, and Imperial College Business School in the UK.

MBA Marketing syllabus

In an MBA with marketing specialization, you’ll get the chance to study a broad range of business topics—like finance, strategy, operations, and organizational behavior—alongside a set of marketing courses selected by you.

Marketing courses vary from program to program, but here are some topics you’re likely to encounter:

  • Brand management
  • Social media marketing
  • Digital marketing
  • Customer analytics
  • Behavioral marketing science
  • Market research and analytics
  • Business-to-business marketing
  • Luxury marketing
  • Consumer behavior

Many MBA marketing specializations also expose students to practical learning experiences such as study trips, internships, or real-world marketing projects.

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At the University of Indiana’s Kelley School of Business, for instance, students can connect with marketing recruiters on-campus to learn more about the function and find internship opportunities.

That’s exactly what Jennifer Agnew did during her MBA at Kelley. After meeting recruiters from healthcare giant Abbott during a careers event, she landed an internship in the company’s marketing division.

“I loved my time as an intern,” she recalls. “I joined Abbott’s nutrition division as a marketing intern, where they were exploring innovations in products for endurance athletes.” Jennifer returned to Abbott full-time after graduating.

MBA Marketing jobs & salary prospects

An MBA in Marketing can open up a broad array of career opportunities in diverse industries. Grads go into roles including:

  • Marketing manager
  • Advertising manager
  • Promotions manager
  • Market research analyst
  • Brand manager
  • Chief marketing officer

One MBA grad pursuing a marketing career is Mayra Hurtado. After graduating from the full-time MBA program at Nanyang Business School in Singapore, Mayra pivoted careers from finance to joining Adidas as assistant manager in the trade marketing team.

Her career allowed her to oversee projects from start to finish in a way that her previous role as an analyst didn’t.

“In marketing, we take different data points from different sources and ten build a bigger picture—that’s what makes it a good fit for me,” she reflects.

Salaries for MBA jobs in marketing tend to be high. According to data from Glassdoor, advertising managers in the US can expect to earn a salary around the US$70k mark, while marketing managers can take home US$102k.

At c-suite level, salaries can climb even higher. A chief marketing officer in the US can earn upwards of US$175k.

MBA in Marketing cost & ROI

The cost of your MBA in Marketing will vary depending on where you choose to study, but most programs represent a significant investment.

The Kellogg MBA, for instance, costs just over $213k for two years of study, according to the BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report 2021. This is just below the average cost of a top-ranked US program which is US$217k.

If you choose a program in Europe, you can expect to pay less. At Esade, the full-time MBA—which can be studied over 12, 15, or 18 months—costs around US$85k. Two-year MBA programs cost more, with the average tuition fees for a high-ranked program in the region sitting at US$130k, according to BusinessBecause.

But don’t let these high costs deter you. Whichever program you decide is your best fit, the vast majority offer scholarship opportunities that can help you pay for the program. In some cases, you might be eligible for more than one scholarship.

MBA Return on Investment Calculator

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Thanks to the lucrative salaries you can expect after graduating from an MBA in Marketing, you’ll likely see a strong financial return on your investment.

But financial rewards aren’t the only reason to study—you’ll also leave your program with life-long connections, strong leadership abilities, and a better understanding of the broader business world that will serve you well as your career progresses.

MBA Marketing admission requirements

To earn a spot in an MBA with marketing specialization, you’ll usually need:

You’ll also need to submit a personal statement— outlining what you want to get out of the program—your resume, undergraduate transcripts, and answers to one or more essay questions assigned by the school.

If the school thinks you’re a good fit for the program based on this application, you will get invited for an interview, which may be conducted in-person or via video call.

Think you’re ready to apply for an MBA in Marketing? If you’re looking for more guidance on beginning your application, download our Complete Full-Time MBA Application Guide.

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Bethany Garner

Bethany Garner - BusinessBecause

Bethany Garner is an experienced writer at BusinessBecause.com, where she’s credited with more than 200 articles covering everything from entrepreneurial stories to mental health at work.

She also oversees the BusinessBecause Applicant Question, which poses important admission questions to experts in the field, and regularly hosts webinars on various aspects of the business school experience.

Prior to joining BusinessBecause, Bethany honed her skills as a freelance writer, tackling a wide array of topics from petcare to car maintenance.

Bethany holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

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