Is a Master's in Marketing or an MBA Better?
From higher earning potential to more job opportunities, there are many reasons why a master’s degree is a path to career advancement. While many master’s degrees, including the often sought Master of Business Administration (MBA), can open the door to greater career possibilities, a Master’s in Marketing degree program offers unique benefits to many working professionals.
Take Walker Matzko, for example. Overly stressed by his work at a concierge medical practice, Matzko needed to make an industry change. He decided to pursue an MBA but quickly realized the program was not going to prepare him for the type of career he would enjoy. So, Matzko decided to choose a marketing master’s instead. He knew he wanted to develop his marketability, and that a marketing master’s could help him gain highly desired job skills—skills like data analysis and social media.
Before he had even graduated with his marketing master’s, Matzko was hired into his first marketing role. Right away, he was able to put his classroom education into practice in the marketplace. And the future is bright for his professional prospects in the years to come.
Matzko’s story highlights some of the benefits of a Master’s in Marketing degree. While an MBA program will be the right fit for some professionals, many others will find that a master’s in marketing better suits their interests, personalities, and career aspirations.
MBA vs. Master’s in Marketing Prerequisites
Admissions standards vary from program to program and institution to institution, but in general, a Master of Business Administration degree program will look for candidates who have four to five years of work experience before they apply for the program. Prospective students will also need to take the GMAT or GRE exams, which tend to require months of test preparation in order to achieve a desirable score.
On the other hand, a master’s in marketing program is likely to have a lower barrier for entry, making it a strong option for individuals who are interested in a career change or are early in their professional journeys. The online Master of Arts in Marketing at Emerson College, for example, does not require a GMAT or GRE or a set amount of work experience. Instead, prospective students provide letters of recommendation as well as an essay that describes their professional goals, which empowers the college to tailor the degree program specifically for the student from their earliest points of contact.
MBA vs. Master’s in Marketing Coursework
While some MBA programs offer specializations in marketing, much of the curriculum for an MBA program will focus on business. For example, a standard MBA with a marketing emphasis degree plan will include courses in:
- Finance and Accounting
- Leadership and Organizational Behavior
- Operations and Supply Chain Management
- Business Ethics
For individuals who are primarily interested in business leadership or strategy and want to pursue marketing as an avenue to exercise those skills, an MBA with a marketing emphasis may be the best fit. But for those professionals who are interested in focusing on marketing work, who enjoy collaborative approaches to innovative marketing projects, or who are interested in a career change into marketing, a master’s in marketing is likely to be a better option.
In a master’s in marketing program, coursework delves into more specifics of marketing, including tools and relevant certifications. Here are some of the types of classes included in the curriculum for the online Master of Arts in Marketing at Emerson College:
- Digital Marketing and Campaigns
- Digital Storytelling and Branding
- Online Customer Behavior
- Web Analytics
- Social Media and Voice of the Customer (VOC) Analytics
Emerson’s online MA in Marketing includes integrated use of powerful technologies, with high-demand certifications built into the curriculum, such as:
- Google Analytics
Professional Outcomes for an MBA vs. Master’s in Marketing
While there is some overlap between the potential careers for MBA graduates and master’s in marketing graduates, many MBA graduates pursue managerial roles such as brand manager or marketing manager. Master’s in Marketing graduates may be interested in positions that are creative, collaborative, and emphasize innovative developments in the field of marketing such as new data analytics applications and improving customer relationship management.
Consider some of the job titles that may be available to master’s in marketing graduates, along with brief job descriptions and average salaries.
Market Research Analyst
One of the fastest growing career fields in the marketplace today, the job of market research analyst is a great fit for the master’s in marketing graduate who is especially interested in data, trend projection, and analysis. Market research analysts study consumer and customer data to build and communicate marketing strategies that are likely to lead to positive outcomes for their companies or clients.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for a market research analyst was $63,920 in May 2021. The BLS projects that jobs for market research analysts will increase by 22 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than the average for all occupations of 8 percent. This makes market research analyst a great career path for individuals who hope to leverage a master’s in marketing degree into a career change or new opportunity.
Social Media Manager
Social media managers direct the overall social media presence of a company or organization. They ensure that the company is using social media to interact with the public in positive ways that align with the company’s goals. While they may, at times, be responsible for writing copy or designing posts, social media managers are often responsible for analyzing data related to the organization’s social media in order to make data-driven decisions about the organization’s online presence.
The Robert Half 2022 Salary Guide lists the 50th percentile salary for a social media manager at $67,500. While the BLS does not specifically make projections regarding the job outlook for social media managers, they list a projected growth rate of 10 percent for marketing managers between 2020 and 2030. That represents 31,800 new jobs over a period of ten years.
Digital strategists coordinate digital mediums such as websites, social media, and email marketing systems to empower their companies to reach various goals. They may analyze customer or user data, design campaigns and projects, and report on marketing efforts using data-driven insights. Master’s in Marketing graduates who enjoy search engine optimization, studying and trying new digital tools, and leveraging creative marketing to drive organizational value may find that a digital strategist role is well suited for them.
The Robert Half 2022 Salary Guide lists the 50th percentile salary for digital strategists at $92,250. While the BLS does not specifically make projections regarding the job outlook for digital strategists, they report positive projected growth for both marketing managers and market research analysts, two positions that intersect with that of the digital strategist. So it is reasonable to conclude, especially in light of ongoing web development and a cultural emphasis on digital media, that the role of the digital strategist will continue to grow in its relevance, creating more job openings for aspiring digital strategists.
Shape the Future of Marketing with an Online Master of Arts in Marketing from Emerson College
Do you want to be a part of designing and reaching company goals by understanding and appealing to target consumers? Are you interested in the latest technology and tools that are elevating the potential of modern marketing higher than ever before?
If so, the online Master of Arts in Marketing at Emerson College could be just the degree program for you. Offered 100% online, and taking as little as 15 months, the marketing master’s online provides students with the in-depth industry knowledge they need to excel in the modern marketing field. The program has no GRE or GMAT requirement.
In addition to core coursework in areas like digital storytelling, online customer behavior, and web analytics, the online master’s in marketing offers students a choice of specializations, further enabling students to shape the degree according to their career goals and aspirations. The specializations are also offered as stand-alone graduate certificate programs.
Those specializations/graduate certificates are:
- Content Strategy: Develop and deploy effective, strategically crafted content that resonates and empathizes with diverse audiences.
- Marketing Analytics: Employ descriptive, predictive, and campaign measurement analytics for a range of strategic applications.
- Social Media & Digital Public Relations: Amplify PR and social media efforts through in-depth understanding and application of communication and media theories, modern tools, and technologies.
Additionally, online master’s in marketing students at Emerson College earn certifications in Google Analytics, Brandwatch, Hootsuite, and HubSpot. Earning these certifications not only provides students with real-world skills in the field of marketing, but they enhance their resumés and job prospects by showing potential employers that the student really understands the world of marketing today.
If you want to elevate your current marketing career or change industries and join the field of marketing, the online Master of Arts in Marketing at Emerson College can help you do just that.