Do I Need an MBA for Marketing?

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By Stephen Gaffney

Reviewed by Krystal Covington, MBA

Published on August 23, 2021

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Just 10 years ago, if you asked whether you needed an MBA to pursue a career in marketing, the answer from many employers would have been "no." Recently, however, the marketing landscape has changed, and many top employers only seek job candidates with MBAs.

Although an MBA in marketing isn't always a requirement, it can help you land a coveted marketing role. Marketing professionals are in high demand; however, lucrative jobs are competitive. Anything you do to gain an advantage over other job candidates, including earning an MBA, can help your chances.

Why Get an MBA in Marketing?

Marketing is a broad field with two primary segments: business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). Both business segments use an extensive amount of marketing automation tools for lead generation. As such, all types of organizations want marketers with strong technical skills.

Job candidates with the right technical marketing skills and experience are in greater demand. In McKinley Marketing Partners' 2019 Marketing Hiring Trends Report, digital marketing was the most desired skill. Additionally, 44% of hiring managers reported not being able to find qualified candidates. Digital marketing involves digital advertising as well as content strategizing, creation, and curation.

Accredited MBA programs that offer a concentration in marketing can teach you the technical marketing skills you need to qualify for lucrative jobs.

Most MBA in marketing programs offer coursework in the following areas:

  • Communications
  • Research
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Marketing Automation
  • Advertising
  • Strategy Development
  • Product Marketing
  • Economics
  • Global Marketing
  • Analytics
  • Branding
  • Social Media
  • Segmentation

MBA in marketing programs may focus on a particular industry segment or type of marketing, such as packaged goods, product marketing, entertainment marketing, brand management, marketing analytics, or sports marketing. Choose a program that best aligns with your career goals.

An MBA in marketing can help you advance professionally. But is it worth the investment of time and money? Decide for yourself by reviewing the pros and cons listed below.

Pros of Getting an MBA in Marketing

Pros

Marketing was listed as one of the top master's programs for job candidates for businesses in Asia Pacific, Europe, and the United States, according to a 2019 hiring trends survey. An MBA in marketing can help offset some of the required work experience that employers are looking for when hiring entry-level management positions. Average salaries are significantly higher for marketers with MBAs than those without. According to PayScale, as of August 2021, MBA-holders earned an average annual salary of $102,000. In contrast, bachelor's degree-holders made an average annual salary of $64,000. MBA-holders are much more likely to work in executive-level positions. An MBA in marketing can help you build valuable relationships with students, faculty, business leaders, and alumni. Many business school alumni work in high-ranking marketing positions around the world. MBA marketing programs often help students find great internships through on-campus recruiting programs. Internships are among the best ways to get your foot in the door in the marketing field. There are a variety of both online and traditional MBA programs that offer a concentration in marketing, including many of the top business schools. Your chance of receiving a promotion may improve if you earn an MBA in marketing. This degree can also help you earn consideration for an executive-level position. You can learn the skills needed to succeed in a variety of business fields by pursuing an MBA in marketing. These include project and product management skills and an increased familiarity with economics. Great leadership skills are critical to becoming an effective marketer. Most MBA programs teach leadership as a core function of the discipline.

Cons of Getting an MBA in Marketing

Cons

An MBA is not required for many entry-level marketing positions. However, most employers prefer MBA-holders for advanced and executive-level positions. If you already have several years of marketing experience in your desired industry, you may find the coursework of an MBA marketing program less valuable. MBAs may not be as helpful in traditional B2C environments or other industries as they are in tech, e-commerce, and healthcare. You may need to invest a significant amount of time and money to pursue an MBA in marketing. You may be better off entering the workforce with a bachelor's degree if you're not sure if you want a career in marketing. By joining the workforce first, you can get a few years of experience under your belt before making the commitment to attend graduate school.

Alternatives to Getting an MBA in Marketing

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting an MBA in Marketing

true Is an MBA good for marketing?

An MBA is great for marketing. Although demand is high, so is the competition. An MBA can provide you with the technical marketing skills and experience you need to stand out from other job candidates.

true Is it worth getting an MBA in marketing?

You can enter the field of marketing with only a bachelor's degree. However, an MBA can offer more opportunities to land a job with a high-profile company and help you climb the corporate ladder more quickly. If you have the time and financial resources, an MBA can be worthwhile.

true How can I get into marketing without an MBA?

To enter marketing without an MBA, you need a bachelor's degree in marketing or a similar field like communications, business, economics, project management, organizational leadership, or entrepreneurship.

Reviewed by:

Krystal Covington, MBA, is a business growth strategist with 15 years of experience in marketing and public relations. Her company, Go Lead Consulting, provides clients with foundational tools to build new client and customer relationships.

Covington founded Women of Denver, one of the largest privately held membership organizations in Denver, Colorado. Her program helps women increase their business acumen, sharpen leadership skills, and connect with other high-achieving women. Covington received her MBA from Western Governors University in 2012.

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An MBA can open the door to many high-paying jobs in the business field. Learn about the best MBA jobs in 2021, from accountant to product marketing manager. Learn about the benefits of an early-career MBA program and find out if it's right for you. While you don't need an MBA to be a consultant, this degree can provide advantages. Learn how a consultant degree can help your career.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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