If you’ve landed on this page, it is likely that you’ve read other stories about why a Master’s degree is too expensive or not worth your time. I certainly read those articles – it seems they’re all over the Internet these days. Today, I’m not going to talk about the disadvantages, expense, or any of those negative aspects that some people find in an MBA or business Master’s. Today’s article is all about why a business Master’s, and specifically my Master’s in Marketing, is worth every bit of the time, money, and effort.
Pursuing a Master’s isn’t saying you don’t know enough – it’s saying “I want to know more.” Never. Stop. Learning.
1. Figure Out What Works, Not What’s Popular
I’ve worked in aspects of marketing in my career already. In my first marketing department job, I quickly learned how often people market by emotion or trends. This can come in the form of “Let’s make a video that goes viral,” or it can come from chasing the latest trends in design or social media platform. In an effort to grow business or to seem at the top of their game, some business people chase their latest whims.
This might sound like fun, but it’s a trap. Marketing can be fun, cool, or hip – but it should be based on good research and data, too. Does your audience even watch viral videos? Do you have the resources to manage that new social media platform? Are the shifting tides of marketing going to change your business?
A Master’s program does an fantastic job of showing ALL of the types of marketing methods you can pursue as a marketer, and it also shows WHY you might pursue each of them. This way, you can make solid decisions on how much money and time to spend on social media platforms, personal selling, coupons, your website, etc. Making good business decisions is part of the marketer’s role, not just making creative or cool advertisements. A Master’s degree will help you formulate better strategies and methods.
For example, every course presents case studies – such as those from the Harvard Business Review – that show what worked (and didn’t) by companies large and small. These cases provide incredible insight into missed opportunities and cautionary tales for your own business or career.
2. Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone
In a Master’s business program, you’re going to be faced with a lot of new things: new colleagues, groups, new business concepts, writing, MATH… the list goes on and on. My strength has always come from my areas such as organizational skills, my analytical brain, and visual communications. My Master’s in Marketing challenges me every week to figure out how to tackle items far less familiar to me – like statistics, pricing products/services, or profit margins. Knowing more about the full scope of business goals helps me create more effective marketing programs, and that requires learning news things.
Don’t get stuck in your rut of knowledge. You wouldn’t just buy a newspaper ad because you did that 30 years ago, would you? The more you know and try, the better you can optimize your return on investment and get your message out there.
3. New Tools in Your Toolbox
A Master’s program is a great chance to experiment with new tools – whether it be a new marketing platform, the latest SEO tools, online project management software, or data analysis plug-ins for Excel. In the time I’ve been my program, I’ve already learned more than I ever expected with tools previously unknown to me. The next time a client asks for an SEO audit, I have several new tools that I’ve tried thanks to a Digital Marketing course; I also have a faster way to generate analytics charts in Excel.
Your toolbox will get bigger – so dive in and discover what your cohort and professors use for different tasks. It’s a great way to uncover new ways to get your work done and share ideas on methods.
4. Becoming Well-Rounded to Manage Others Better
Perhaps the most important aspect of an MBA or MS business program is the leadership training. While nearly every program allows for flexibility in course loads, there’s always a class or project opportunity to expand your management skills. What works best to lead others or persuade? Can you manage someone well without understanding what they do?
My courses have a mix of marketers, supply-chain specialists, entrepreneurs, finance folks, and other specialists. Being paired up to research and create with people at the top of their fields, you’re bound to learn a lot about different perspectives, including ones you may never have been exposed to. I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to about the supply chain, for example, but it helps me speak to these folks more effectively when necessary.
Just Do It
So, while I toil away between client engagements with joint probabilities and consumer behavior research, I know that I’m part of an experience that sets me apart more than any book reading could provide. Life is short – reach for the stars. While you’re waiting, I’ll soon have an MSM at the end of my name.