This guide is all about getting an MBA in digital marketing. It includes a digital marketing MBA overview, options for an online MBA in digital marketing, and potential career paths.
Marketing is constantly evolving. The days of only utilizing traditional marketing mediums and channels, such as print, radio, direct mailers, phone, and billboards, are long gone. Today, digital marketing involves various digital media, including social, paid ads, content, and SEO.
As a result, more and more professionals are investing in digital marketing strategies for their businesses, which means the demand for digital marketers and specialists is higher than ever before.
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So what do you need to do to become one of those highly knowledgeable professionals? Although you can read articles, eBooks, how-to guides, and even watch YouTube videos on the various elements of digital marketing, if you want to stand out to your clients or at your current job, then consider earning an MBA in digital marketing.
If you are thinking about a career in digital marketing, this article is for you. Here is a complete guide on an MBA in digital marketing, where to get one, and what to expect.
What is an MBA in Digital Marketing?
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) in digital marketing is a 2 to 5-year post-undergrad program that educates aspiring marketers on blending business-focused skills and innovative ideas surrounding modern marketing strategies. This degree is designed to help you adopt a strategic business mindset to succeed in the digital marketing world.
By mastering the nuts and bolts of this complex field and knowing how to implement them, you will position yourself to gain a competitive edge in the digital marketing industry. From individuals looking to gain a competitive edge from the pool of job-hunting candidates to employees looking to incorporate the knowledge learned to achieve their clients’ business objectives, this is a well sought-after degree that can be utilized in many different ways.
With a higher education in digital marketing, you can pursue such roles as:
- Brand manager
- Business development manager
- Digital marketing manager
- Email marketing manager
- Market research director
- Business strategist
- Marketing program director
- Public relations specialist
- SEO manager
- Social media manager
With many reputable universities offering MBA programs, finding one that fits your specific needs is more convenient than ever.
Online Digital Marketing MBA Programs
A traditional MBA program can be difficult for those without flexible schedules as classes are typically held during the day. If you are a student who is constantly on the go, working full time, or have a family or children of your own, the good news is that you can still earn that MBA in digital marketing. Many institutions and programs today offer MBA programs 100 percent online. And as technology continues to advance, an online MBA in digital marketing is just as reputable as earning the degree in a traditional on-campus classroom setting.
Online versus offline digital marketing MBA programs
Not sure if an online or offline course is right for you? Here are some of the primary differences between the two:
- Location: From coffee shops or lunch breaks at the local cafe, online courses allow you the flexibility and convenience to learn from anywhere and any time. For some, this is a blessing; for others, this could mean constant interruptions and distractions, making it difficult to study. Offline courses require you to visit or travel to campus at a specific place, day, and time. This offers less convenience but lets you shut off outside distractions and zero in on the lecture or course material.
- Instructors: With many instructors submitting lectures and assignments online, you may not always receive responses in real-time, but you get to learn at your pace. Traditional classroom instruction is often best for students who prefer or learn best with face-to-face interactions.
- Course Work: Online courses put a lot of the learning in your hands to do independently. Without sitting in a classroom, you are left to review lectures, submit written assignments, take tests/exams, and do research independently as your time allows. Offline courses will enable you to rely more on your professor and the students around you for collaborative group work and projects, asking questions, and engaging in and participating in other interactive activities.
- Internet: Enrolling in and participating in an online program means students need a reliable and relatively high-speed internet connection. Offline programs are usually in well-maintained buildings, and the lectures themselves are live, which makes having a solid internet or network connection less of a concern.
- Note Taking: This one certainly has to do with the type of student taking the courses. Online courses usually consist of pre-recorded lectures that allow you to pause, rewind, or revisit at a later time. This makes it easier to note-take at a comfortable pace that will enable you to absorb the material fully. Offline courses and lectures require students to keep up with note-taking as the course content and material are discussed. In some cases, the instructor may record live classroom sessions. Be sure to ask this question before beginning a course.
- Costs and Expenses: Depending on the program, online programs are often more cost-effective than traditional in-classroom courses. This is often because expenses are removed from online programs, such as coursework materials and lab fees. Again, this point greatly depends on the program type, institution, and other factors.
Since not every institution with MBA programs offers them online, you may have to research to find one suitable to you and your needs. Some institutions are strictly offline, while others are online or hybrid.
Here is a list of the top five MBA Marketing programs online and offline to give you a head start.
MBA in Digital Marketing Program Overview
It can be overwhelming, intimidating, and even a little scary to think about pursuing a new career path. Whenever beginning a new chapter in your life, we think, ‘What should I expect?’
Although each program and institution differs, here are some things to think through before tackling your next higher education degree.
To receive your MBA, you must fulfill the coursework requirements from some of the foundational areas, including the following:
- operations management
- organizational behavior
- economic statistics/operations
From there you can focus your specialization in digital marketing by contributing the additional workload of course requirements from the field.
In the first year (or two semesters) of the program, you can expect to fulfill your core requirements from the foundational areas mentioned above. After completing these requirements, it can typically take up to a year or two to finish the remaining digital marketing requirements. Of course, this depends on the student’s pace and how many courses they complete within that time frame.
Digital marketing MBA internships and fieldwork
Most MBA programs are an excellent opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in the field before starting their careers. These programs typically require internships, fieldwork, group projects, and so on from their students to graduate.
Usually held between the first and second semester of the MBA program, students will need to complete some sort of fieldwork or internship. Though these are required to receive a degree, their requirements vary from school to school. Some of the benefits that come with these internships include:
- First-hand perspective of roles and responsibilities
- Gain work experience
- Build skills from exposure to work profile
- Potentially convert an internship into a pre-placement offer
- Potential income (depending on the position/company)
Admissions Process and What to Expect
So what exactly does an admissions committee look for? The admissions process can vary from institution to institution, but here are several key elements most admissions committees watch for:
- Academic ability: While not all institutions decide whether or not to admit a student based on test scores, they ensure you have the academic mindset to succeed in their programs.
- Relevant work experience: Institutions look for relevant interests or experience related to your desired area of study (in this case, digital marketing). So if you’ve got it, show it!
- Focused career path: There are many opportunities to show some creativity and plead your case on your MBA application. Institutions are interested in students who can explain what they want from the program and how they will utilize those skills in the future.
- Reasons for selecting the MBA program: Most institutions assume that you have sent multiple applications to other programs. So, be sure they know why you are pursuing their program.
The admissions process
Depending on the program and institution you are applying for, here are the common steps in the process:
Step 1: Initial application review
First, the committee usually does a quick initial review to determine if your application meets the criteria for setting up an interview. Though not all programs use an interview process, it’s still very popular at most schools.
Step 2: The interview
If you are selected for an interview, here is your chance to shine and explain why you want to be in their program, what this degree means to you, your career aspirations, and why you deserve a spot in the program over others.
Step 3: The decision
The committee will then decide to accept, waitlist, or reject your application. You will receive an email or a letter in the mail with this decision.
Cost, Financial Aid, and Scholarships
The average tuition for a two-year MBA program can land between $20,000 and $100,000. The cost of an MBA in digital marketing varies. For example, here are several examples of factors that can vary with costs:
- The tuition for the particular program or institution
- Whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student
- Whether you are enrolling in an online or offline program
Considering all of this, you can get an idea of what to spend (without financial aid or scholarships).
This could sound like a huge financial setback for most students trying to get a head start in their digital marketing careers. That’s why it is important to look into all financial assistance services, as these could drastically reduce your final tuition balance.
What are some examples of financial assistance to look into, you ask? Let’s take a look:
School-based scholarships and grants: The majority of institutions offer scholarships or grants that you can apply for, some of which you may not have to pay back. This is based on the student’s financial needs and whether or not other scholarships are awarded.
Assistantships and work-study: Many students can sign up or apply for work-study to work on campus to contribute to their tuition.
Third-party or private scholarships: Similar to institution-offered scholarships, plenty of outside organizations offer different forms of financial assistance. This may require you to do some homework, but if it can save you a significant portion of tuition, then it’s worth the extra time and effort.
Company sponsorship: If you already work full time for a company or large corporation, ask your Human Resources department about tuition reimbursement programs.
Federal student aid: Many federal loans benefit students. Though most have to be paid back, they are a great way to give the student some financial breathing room.
With the vast digital marketing field upon us today, the sky’s the limit regarding finding higher or continuing education degrees or program options. What can you do with an MBA in digital marketing when looking ahead at your career? Here is a look at the different types of roles and positions:
- Corporate branding – A management position that involves understanding a corporate’s brand mission, tone and style, and creative elements and ensuring all communications and creative content meets branding guidelines before any form of distribution.
- Business development manager – Another management position that involves working with sales and marketing to strategize how to bring in new business for the company.
- Digital marketing manager – A leadership position that oversees all digital marketing activities for a company, including paid advertising, content marketing, social media marketing, website and SEO, and more.
- Email marketing manager – Strategizing, creating, managing, and analyzing all internal and external email communications.
- Market research director – Performing marketing research related to performing competitive analyses, developing and releasing a new product or service, and understanding buyer behavior.
- Business strategist – Like business development, a business strategist will leverage data to inform and improve business strategies.
- Marketing program director – A management position that involves overseeing and managing all individual marketing programs and activities. Depending on the size of an organization, this position is a level up from a digital marketer.
- Public relations specialist – A role that involves working with and communicating with external media on company news and events and is often responsible for protecting a company’s overall image or brand.
- SEO manager – An often internal position that involves overseeing all SEO-related activities involving the company’s website and content creation efforts. It also involves tracking SEO performance and rankings.
- Social media manager – Creating, publishing, researching, managing, and monitoring all company social media activities and platforms.
An MBA in digital marketing will certainly give you an advantage over competitors who don’t have one. It also gives you a little ammo when it’s time to negotiate salary during your annual performance review.
MBA in Digital Marketing FAQs
A master of business administration (MBA) in digital marketing is a 2-5 year program that introduces you to all the strategies, techniques, and processes to set you up for success in the business part of the digital marketing world.
An MBA in digital marketing positions you to gain a competitive edge in the industry. This is a well sought-after degree and can be utilized differently.
The application process for every institution and program looks different. Most of them require completing an application, providing letters of recommendation, proof of secondary education enrollment or completion and academic performance, a personal essay, and an interview (if selected).
Absolutely. Though not every school offers an online program, many do!
To obtain your MBA in Digital Marketing, you must fulfill the coursework requirements from some foundational areas such as finance, marketing, accounting, operations management, organizational behavior, economic statistics/operations, ethics, and more. From there, you can focus your specialization in digital marketing by contributing the additional workload of course requirements from the field.
Most institutions and programs require an internship or work experience in the field.
The cost of an MBA in digital marketing will vary depending on several factors. For example, the school you’re attending, whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student, if you’re enrolling in an online or offline program, among many other factors, all heavily change your overall costs. Considering all of this, the average tuition (without financial aid or scholarships) for a two-year MBA program can range between $40,000 and $100,000.
Some careers that you could pursue with an MBA in digital marketing include brand manager, business development manager, business strategist, digital marketing manager, email marketing manager, market research director, marketing program director, public relations specialist, SEO manager, and social media manager.