With marketing jobs growing 9% faster than the national average and the average median pay $124,850 per year for a mid-level marketing manager, a degree in marketing is a smart idea. You can succeed in marketing with a bachelor’s degree in several fields, but a marketing degree makes it easier to land an entry-level job and rise in your field faster. There are several reasons why an undergraduate marketing degree is a good idea and why a graduate degree is even better.
College degrees leading to careers in marketing.
College majors that lead to careers in marketing include majors in business management, marketing, advertising, journalism and English. The latter three – advertising, journalism and English – are usually preferred for jobs in marketing communications and advertising.
Marketing communications, advertising, and public relations rely heavily on strong written and oral communication skills. An English major completes courses in creative and business writing, and literature. These prepare students for writing articles, press releases, marketing copy, advertising copy, radio and video scripts, website copy, and a wide range of materials that fall under the umbrella of marketing communications.
Marketing and business majors prepare students better for careers in business intelligence, analytics, and management. Students completing a marketing major typically take both quantitative and qualitative coursework. They learn how to analyze a potential market, segment customers, write marketing plans, develop budgets, and analyze data.
Lastly, business administration majors may learn more about the managerial side of the business world. In addition to courses on the rudiments of marketing, they also learn how to manage people, processes, and budgets.
There’s no one best major leading to a marketing office near you. Marketing is an interesting discipline in that there’s room for both creative types in the design and marcom office as well as the analytical types in the business intelligence and analytics office. Depending on your passions and natural gifts, you can follow either path to a successful marketing career.
Pros and cons of an undergraduate degree in marketing.
There are several pros and cons of obtaining an undergraduate degree in marketing.
Strong foundational knowledge of most major areas of marketing.
Greater flexibility during your job search to pursue jobs in creative or quantitative marketing disciplines.
Good credentials to get your foot in the door in a marketing department.
Potential for higher starting salary.
Limited to marketing and sales-related careers post graduation.
Blends both creative and analytical coursework, so unless you’re good at both, you’ll put in a lot of work in some classes.
You may still need a graduate degree for some of the higher-paying jobs.
There are many marketing majors out there, so competition is fierce for entry-level jobs.
One thing to note: if you’re not into teamwork, you may be surprised to learn that marketing majors spend a lot of time in group projects. Many courses try to mimic the atmosphere in the corporate world of collaborative work with group projects. It’s good preparation for your future career, where a solo effort is rarely the case, but can be frustrating for people used to succeeding on their own.
Related: Does a College Degree Still Matter?
Standing out from the crowd.
Because many universities offer marketing undergraduate majors, you’ll need to do some extra work to stand out from the crowd. Internships and work experience during college are a great way to add practical skills as well as credentials to your resume.
Seek marketing internships with companies in your chosen specialty area of marketing. For example, if you want to go into internet marketing, look for an internship with an agency that offers internet marketing services. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and do menial tasks such as online research and number crunching. This is how you learn every aspect of the business.
Graduate degrees in marketing.
What if you didn’t major in marketing in college? You don’t need to return for an undergraduate degree in order to enter the marketing field. A graduate degree in marketing or an MBA may be a faster track and offer more career possibilities.
Graduate degrees in marketing range from the highly specialized and well-recognized Master of Science in Interactive Marketing from New York University to MBA programs at the Wharton School and other fine graduate schools nationwide. Marketing graduate degrees can offer a broad marketing perspective or specialize in one area such as internet marketing, journalism, or public relations.
An MBA will take you far in any business discipline, including marketing. The MBA degree includes courses in management, marketing, finance, and accounting. Marketing majors with an MBA often go into the lucrative world of consulting, working for major consulting organizations on large-scale corporate projects. But you’ll also find marketing majors with MBAs working at startups, local companies, and teaching marketing at universities.
Marketing majors have choices.
Getting a marketing degree in college is a great idea if you’re serious about a career in marketing, advertising, sales, public relations, or any of the many sub-specialties in marketing. Even if you miss out on a marketing undergraduate degree, a graduate program offers the knowledge and credentials you need to rise in your career. With so many options to choose from, a degree in marketing is a good idea.