For professionals seeking managerial positions, a master's degree in marketing can mean a five- or six-figure income, especially for executive-level jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers promising 2016-2026 growth projections for marketing degree jobs, with a 10% projection for marketing managers and 8% for top executives, including those in marketing.
No degree guarantees specific employment outcomes, but earning an MBA can improve marketing career opportunities. Read on for more information about the benefits of an MBA, including salary comparisons, an expert interview, and professional licensure options.
What Can You Do With an Online MBA in Marketing
In the tables below, take a look at three top marketing job titles and explore related information, including average salaries, typical workplace settings, and detailed job duty descriptions.
|Marketing Managers||Average Salary: $145,620|
||Marketing managers research, design, and implement marketing campaigns for print, digital, and broadcast mediums while coordinating with creative and sales teams. They analyze marketing data, plan future marketing strategies, and create budgets for marketing campaigns. They may also manage teams of other marketing professionals.|
|Marketing Communications Director||Average Salary: $81,000|
A marketing communications director oversees an organization's marketing and communications activities, leading the marketing department to attain company goals. They review marketing reports and materials, research customer purchasing patterns, and develop targeted marketing campaigns.
These directors typically work closely with a team of marketing specialists, communicate information across multiple departments, and assist with training efforts and issue resolution. The marketing communications director typically reports to a vice president of marketing.
|Chief Marketing Officer||Average Salary: $171,000|
||Chief marketing executives develop and carry out the vision of a company's marketing and sales departments. Responsibilities vary depending by organization, but common duties include general management activities, consultation with other top executives, and strategic analysis and planning. They lay out concrete goals, provide direction for marketing department staff, assess new hires, and develop quantitative analysis measures to review progress and find areas in need of innovation.|
Learn More About MBA Marketing Degrees
Marketing Pay Comparison
An MBA in marketing salary differs from that of a bachelor's in marketing, though other variables may apply, including where you work, your amount of experience, and the title you hold. The following chart illustrates the difference in median pay between bachelor's degree holders and master's degree holders in sample marketing jobs.
|Degree||Job||Average Job Salary|
|Bachelor of Arts in Marketing||Marketing Coordinator||$43,305|
Source: PayScale, 2019
Interview With a Marketing Expert
Molly Koernke is the director of marketing and brand management at USAA, a fortune 100 company based in San Antonio, Texas. Her team leads all marketing for USAA's portfolio of investment and annuities products, helping to facilitate financial security for service members and their families.
Before joining USAA, Molly worked as a marketing leader at prominent technology companies, including Dell. She holds a master's degree in business administration from Michigan State University and a bachelor's degree from Wake Forest University.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in marketing? Is it something that has always interested you?
I fell in love with marketing at a young age without even really understanding its full meaning. At age ten, I grew tired of the boring and unoriginal roadside stand my grandparents used to sell the cherries from their northern Michigan farm. After talking with a few of their customers, I quickly discovered they, too, were interested in something different. I founded "Molly's Market" three days later. Besides being the only cute grandchild running the show on the block, I set myself apart by talking to people and getting to know their families and stories.
I also kept things fun by painting colorful designs on the traditionally green, pint-sized cherry baskets and by playing my mom's awesome mixtapes on the cassette player whenever someone came by. I'd even hop on my bike and deliver cherries to locals who lived within a safe distance once I knew their purchase schedules. The little details went a long way, and I soon became the busiest market in town.
Fast forward to eleven years later: I graduated from undergrad and was lured into what seemed like an exciting opportunity in public relations. After a very short stint at a PR agency, I realized I didn't just want to write about the action; I wanted to be the action and never fill out timesheets again. Luckily, the love of Molly's Market brought me back to where I needed to be. I accepted an entry-level marketing position at a boutique consulting firm and learned a lot over the next couple of years.
Eventually, I was ready for more. I knew I'd have to bide my time and keep climbing the ladder if I stayed on the current path. I networked with some alumni from my undergrad and learned that many of them had bigger titles and a lot more responsibility without having that many more years of experience. The only real difference was they had their MBAs, and I didn't. After venting about it for the hundredth time, a good friend told me, "Molly, you'll never find a pearl on the seashore." So, with that, I got my MBA.
What was the job search like after graduating with your MBA?
I was 26 years old when I graduated with my MBA from Michigan State University. I won't lie; I had to work harder to get a full-time offer than some of my classmates with many more years of experience. It's important to not get frustrated throughout the job search process, though, as you only need one offer. Another great lesson I learned along the way is that if you're willing to move geographically, your career options increase exponentially. Never limit your search to one city or state if you're able to move.
Thanks to a former beau who was headed to Texas, I started looking at the Lone Star State for post-MBA career options. I made a list of companies I admired with track records for hiring and valuing MBAs. I soon snagged two offers at amazing Texas-based companies. I couldn't have gone wrong with either option, but obviously I picked the offer located in the city with better breakfast tacos. My first post-MBA role was at Dell as the brand manager over Latitude and Vostro laptop brands in their small business division.
How can students set themselves apart from fellow MBA and marketing graduates?
The first place you can set yourself apart is your resume. Make sure it's well written and reviewed by at least a few different people. You may even want to invest in a professional resume editor, if your budget allows. LinkedIn profiles are a must these days. If I'm hiring, the first place I look after reviewing someone's resume is his or her LinkedIn profile. Also, it should go without saying, but if you're on social media, be sure your brand stays positive and productive.
The interview process is another area where you can stand out. Most of my MBA interviews were some form of the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method. You can easily set yourself apart for these types of interviews. Start by writing down 5-10 work-related stories and know them inside out. Knowing the little details helps when you're asked follow-up questions. While interviewing for full-time job offers, I practiced how I'd use my 5-10 stories for various forms of STAR-type questions whenever I had a free moment in the car, walking to class, at home on the couch, etc. The more comfortable you get with these stories, the easier the interviews will be.
Also, remember that an interview is a two-way street. Feel free to make it a conversation and ask the interviewer questions throughout the interview as well. You don't have to wait until the end to ask a question.
You also don't have to have a specific background to succeed. It's more important to show up strong whenever you interview and have a good story to tell. Lots of my classmates had unique backgrounds. For example, one was a news reporter for many years before the program, and another was a football coach at a small college. Despite very different backgrounds, they both ended up with great offers after graduation.
I found that when I talked about Molly's Market in some of my interviews, people got to know a bit about the real me. And clearly, I had a solid work ethic if I worked on a farm growing up. Being able to tie your unique background to why you decided to get an MBA makes for a marketable story.
How has earning your MBA advanced your marketing career path?
I owe everything I have today to my MBA, as it opened up doors that never would have been available without it. It would have taken me many years to get to the role I had at Dell right out of the MBA program. I was the same person after my MBA, but companies had a different level of confidence in the amount of responsibility I could handle.
What are some of the most rewarding aspects of working in marketing? And some of the most challenging aspects?
One of the most rewarding aspects of marketing is that I get to care for a living. I get to care about what my customers want (and don't want). I get to care about my team. I get to care about the results. I get to care about what's happening now and what should happen next. I get to care about doing something exciting and new. It's a nice feeling to wake up every day and get to care about so many things.
There's also never a dull moment in marketing as change is constant, which is good for someone who is easily bored. While others may bring opinions to the table, great marketers bring solid data and research. I get to feel confident whenever something goes into market because I know I made the right decision with the best information I had on hand. And if it doesn't work exactly how it should, it's not the end of the world, as great marketing teams fail fast, learn fast, and change even faster.
Today's marketers face a tremendous amount of pressure, which can be a challenge to some. We're pressured to drive results, to do more, to innovate, and to understand and manage the increasingly complex digital customer journey, just to name a few. Staying positive and focusing on the little wins always helps overcome this pressure.
Another challenge is that not everyone in your organization will understand or appreciate marketing. At one point in my career, my sales leader asked me when the next big marketing campaign was coming out -- two weeks after we had launched the next big marketing campaign. But by over-communicating to your key partners and being confident in the work you're doing, you'll remember why marketing is the best place in any organization to work.
What advice would you give to students considering pursuing an MBA and a career in marketing?
An MBA is not for everyone. Do your homework and pick the best program for you. If you pursue an MBA, soak in every moment of the program. You won't remember the deadlines or the late nights, but you'll remember the little wins, the relationships you've built, and the tough problems you solved. Ninety-five percent of your success in your post-MBA career will be how well you can influence others and how effectively you can solve for tough problems. The rest is just icing on the cake.
My advice to marketers is to fall in love with the financial side of marketing. Too often, I see young professionals drawn to the creative side alone. The beautiful thing about getting your MBA and wanting a career in marketing is that you're a unique combination. You'll appreciate the art of marketing and know how to effectively use both skill sets.
What Certifications and Licenses are Needed for a Career in Marketing?
Marketing requires a diverse set of skills, like handling budgets and creating brochures. Careers may require professional licenses to prove professionals are up to date on the latest trends and techniques, particularly in digital media. Professional licensure is typically obtained outside the standard online MBA in marketing program, but since companies value highly trained workers, the cost of earning a professional license is frequently eligible for reimbursement through corporate employee education programs.