Business Administration

Earning a Marketing MBA Online: What You Need to Know

Earning a Marketing MBA Online: What You Need to Know
Some colleges and universities have launched marketing MBA programs online that are as rigorous as their on-campus programs and produce similar results. Image from Unsplash
Christa Terry profile
Christa Terry June 9, 2020

An MBA in Marketing can lead to career opportunities and boost your lifetime earning potential. You don't need to attend an on-campus program to earn this degree. Plenty of excellent universities now offer it online.

MBA/Business Programs You Should Consider

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Businesses worldwide spend billions of dollars every year on marketing to reach and grow their target audiences. It’s not an easy job; marketing positions at the executive level are high stakes, with correspondingly high levels of stress. That’s because modern marketing is more results-driven than ever. Marketing managers and advertising executives who fail to produce don’t accrue much seniority. Marketing managers are in such high demand in part because turnover rates are so high in this field.

But before you can get hired and fired, you need to break in. Earning a marketing MBA is one way to do that. These degrees don’t just look good on resumes. They also give marketers the skills and knowledge they need to translate business goals into marketing campaigns that deliver in a measurable way.

Some colleges and universities have launched marketing MBA programs online that are as rigorous as their on-campus programs and produce similar results. Many of these programs take as long to complete as traditional MBA in Marketing programs and cost about the same amount. So, why do some students choose to study online? In a word, flexibility.

In this article about earning a marketing MBA online, we cover:

  • Why do some students pursue marketing MBAs online?
  • Are online marketing MBA programs very different from on-campus programs?
  • What kinds of courses will I take when pursuing a marketing MBA online?
  • Which schools have the best online MBA in Marketing programs?
  • How long does it take to earn a marketing MBA online?
  • Are online marketing MBA programs less expensive?
  • What can I do with a marketing MBA?
  • How will earning a marketing MBA online affect my earning potential?
  • What else do I need to know about earning a marketing MBA online?

Why do some students pursue marketing MBAs online?

Earning an MBA can lead to career advancement opportunities and a boost in income, but finding the right program isn’t easy—especially for prospective students who can’t take time off from work or don’t live near a well-regarded business school. Online marketing MBA programs offer a degree of flexibility that some students need. They also provide faraway students the opportunity to enroll in a higher-quality college or university than they might otherwise be able to attend.

Additionally, distance learners don’t have to worry about spending time and money traveling to and from campus. If they choose a self-directed online business education program, they don’t even have to schedule their lives around live classes.

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Are online marketing MBA programs very different from on-campus programs?

Marketing MBA programs are more likely to differ from school to school than they are to differ between formats. Online MBA in marketing programs are typically offered through a college or university’s school of business. As do on-campus students, distance learners pursuing marketing MBAs online take core courses in business and marketing and can choose from various concentration options and electives. Students in both types of programs must meet experiential learning requirements, including internships, residencies, and consulting projects. On-campus and online marketing MBA programs at the best colleges and universities typically have active alumni networks and robust post-graduation support.

What kinds of courses will I take when pursuing a marketing MBA online?

Different schools approach these graduate programs differently. The marketing MBA curriculum at one school might be primarily comprised of core business courses like managerial economics, international business, data analysis, human resources management, and business management plus a few concentration courses like:

  • Brand Management
  • Consumer Behavior and Marketing
  • International Marketing
  • Product Development
  • Promotions Management
  • Services Marketing

At another school, students pursuing a marketing MBA online might take a handful of core business courses and spend the rest of their time in marketing courses like:

  • Advanced Marketing Analytics
  • Advertising and Promotion
  • Applied AI in Marketing
  • Customer Journey Analytics
  • Demand Management for Value Chains
  • Global Marketing Management
  • Marketing Tech Products and Services
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Multicultural Markets & Urban Development
  • Pharmaceutical Marketing Research
  • Product Innovation
  • Sales Management

In both types of programs, MBA students are typically required to complete internships or practicum experiences that allow them to tackle marketing challenges in a real-world setting. Sometimes these hands-on learning experiences let students explore interests like social media marketing, business analytics, marketing research, or project management. Many MBA students who choose a marketing specialization will also have to complete a capstone project.

Your passions and your field of interest can help you identify the online MBA in Marketing programs that do the most to support your career ambitions.

Which schools have the best online MBA in Marketing programs?

When you search for the best marketing MBA programs, you’ll find many lists of top-tier marketing degrees offered by prestigious business schools. Very few of them, however, are offered online. That isn’t to say you can’t earn a marketing MBA online at a highly-ranked college or university. There are strong marketing MBA degree programs for distance learners at the following schools:

It’s worth noting that in terms of flexibility, the above programs can look quite different. Student’s who pursue Drexel University’s marketing MBA online enjoy a higher level of flexibility than students in other online master’s programs because the school offers a variety of pacing and coursework customization options. What all the above programs have in common, however, is that they provide students the same high-quality classes, hands-on learning experiences, and professional development opportunities students in on-campus programs expect.

How long does it take to earn a marketing MBA online?

The answer to this question depends on which program you choose. Online marketing MBA programs come in many ‘flavors,’ from full-time MBAs to part-time MBAs to accelerated MBAs to self-directed MBAs. Some students pursuing a marketing MBA online choose programs designed for distance learners but follow a traditional MBA format. These typically take about two years to complete.

It’s possible to earn a marketing MBA online more quickly in a 16- or 18-month accelerated program or one-year executive MBA in marketing program. There are also part-time and self-paced MBA in Marketing programs that can take three years or even longer to complete.

Are online marketing MBA programs less expensive?

Some people initially look into online degree programs at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels because they assume higher education programs for distance learners are less expensive. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case. It’s not unusual now for colleges and universities to charge students the same in-state and out-of-state tuition rates, whether they study on campus or online. Some schools actually charge online students more in total tuition because they require those students to pay technology fees.

At the top business schools, pursuing a marketing MBA online will mean paying anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 or more per credit hour. The good news is that distance learners typically have access to the same financial aid and scholarship programs available to students on campus.

What can I do with a marketing MBA?

There are many career opportunities for business professionals who study marketing online in MBA programs. Companies across industries need skilled marketers with business savvy and leadership chops to help guide their efforts to reach consumers and other audiences. The result is a wealth of opportunity for marketing MBA graduates, both in the United States and in international markets.

After earning a marketing MBA online, you can step into roles like:

  • Advertising Manager
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Global Marketing Manager
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Marketing Communications Director
  • Marketing Director
  • Marketing Manager
  • Media Planner
  • Public Relations Director
  • Product Marketing Manager
  • Promotion Manager
  • Vice President of Marketing

You’ll also be able to work in various industries, from retail and entertainment to information technology and pharmaceutical manufacturing. You might even start your own business offering specialty marketing services or short-term consulting.

Clearly, an MBA in Marketing is a versatile degree, but it can offer you even more in terms of career flexibility than other marketing master’s degrees. With a Master of Science in Marketing, you can step into management and executive roles in advertising. You’ll be qualified for those roles when you have a marketing MBA, but you’ll also be able to transition into a variety of positions in business, whether in general management or business administration.

How will earning a marketing MBA online affect my earning potential?

The average salary earned by marketing MBA holders is about $91,000, and marketing is one of the highest-paying MBA concentrations.

Still, your lifetime earning potential will depend on several factors. For example, school rankings matter. You’re more likely to be a top earner if you graduate from a program at a highly ranked school. You’ll probably earn more if you work for a large, multinational company than you will working for a small start-up. You’ll also pull a higher paycheck working in consulting, financial services, technology, and retail.

That said, MBAs across the board typically pay off in terms of ROI. Your earning potential after completing a marketing MBA in an online program will definitely be higher than if you stuck with a bachelor’s degree or pursued a Master of Science instead.

What else do I need to know about earning a marketing MBA online?

Plenty of colleges and universities have put their marketing MBA programs online. However, if you’re trying to find the right program, you shouldn’t limit your school search results to those institutions only. There are online MBA programs at some top schools that don’t specifically offer a marketing concentration but are very customizable. At the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor‘s Stephen M. Ross School of Business—which arguably has one of the best marketing MBA programs—students can choose 18 credits worth of elective classes and essentially create their own concentrations. Students who want to pursue a career in marketing or marketing management can take classes like Advertising Management, Strategic Marketing Planning, and Advanced Competitive Analysis.

You should also keep in mind that the best online marketing MBA for you might not be one of those at a top school. That’s because your circumstances should drive your choice of university. The best program for you might be the most affordable one or the most flexible one, or the one that you can complete in the least amount of time, or even the one with faculty members with connections to your field of interest. Where you get your MBA matters—up to a point. Graduating from a top-tier program can increase your earning potential and make you more attractive to potential employers. Still, if top-tier MBA programs are out of reach, you shouldn’t hesitate to explore all the options available to you.

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