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MS in Marketing vs. a Marketing MBA — What’s the Difference?

Monday, November 26, 2018

Students discuss the value of a Marketing Masters.

If you have been considering a graduate studies degree in marketing to help you find your dream job, you are not alone. Forbes listed an MBA with a marketing concentration as one of the Best Master’s Degrees for Jobs. Before deciding on a marketing masters program, learn about your options.

This blog will explain the difference between an MS in Marketing and an MBA with a concentration in marketing and how both can benefit your individual goals.

First, determine what you want to do with the degree.

If you are new to marketing and are not sure what different marketers do, start with research. Discover which marketing careers you would be interested in and that will help guide your graduate program selection.  

An MS in Marketing will open some doors in brand management, marketing consulting, marketing research/analytics, business development, or other marketing professions. However, an MS in Marketing takes a deeper dive approach that could help prepare graduates for roles in specific marketing functions. On the other hand,an MBA with a concentration in marketing can be a valuable resource for roles that are less specialized in marketing, and more focused on business functions across the board.

Next, consider a specialized or foundational curriculum.

An MS in Marketing has a specialized marketing curriculum. Students are  focused on marketing-specific courses.

Examples of topics that are typically covered in an MS in Marketing degree include:

  • Marketing analysis
  • Marketing research
  • Product development
  • Social media marketing
  • Pricing strategy and analysis

Students also have more freedom to take courses from an array of marketing-focused electives, immersion courses, and/or even take part in marketing consulting projects.

Conversely, an MBA with a concentration in marketing tends to be more of a business foundation degree in nature and has less specialization. This, again, ties back to what you ultimately want to use your degree for.

Examples of topics that are typically covered in an MBA include:

  • Accounting
  • Management and leadership
  • Economics
  • Information systems
  • Marketing (when you pick a concentration in marketing you are given the option to take some marketing electives.)

At Purdue, our students who choose an MBA with specialization in marketing must take 10 marketing electives. We have four tracks within the marketing program: industrial marketing, consumer marketing, marketing research, and consulting. That way, you can pick the track you’re most interested in and obtain applicable knowledge and skills. 

Do you have a degree in marketing? 
If you already have an undergraduate degree in marketing and want to escalate and expand what you have already learned, it may make sense to look into an MS in Marketing degree. If you are relatively new to marketing and other business functions but want to greatly enhance your overall business acumen, an MBA with a marketing concentration might be the right choice for you. 

Are you eager to enter or return to the workforce?

A Full-Time MBA program requires two years of study. If total cost, opportunity cost, and lost wages during your time in a graduate program are a concern for you, then the MS Marketing program may be your best option. Completion of our MS Marketing program only requires eleven months of study. This saves a year of tuition, housing, and other expenses, while also putting you in position to seek out full-time employment jobs sooner.

Lastly, do you have experience?

If you do not have work experience, you may want to pick an MS in Marketing as MBA programs typically require some degree of relevant work experience.

Once you figure out what different marketers do and which careers appeal to you, you can pick the right marketing masters to fit your career goals. Here at Purdue Krannert, we offer both an MS in Marketing (ranked #3 by and MBA (annually ranked among the best in the nation for ROI) with a marketing concentration.

 We describe the difference between our two programs here. If you are still not sure which one is right for you, go ahead and meet with us. We would love to help you find the right program for you.