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An MBA in marketing can be a strategic choice for those aiming to amplify their job prospects and stand out in the competitive marketplace. These programs prepare students for high-demand roles, including marketing managers, who earn an average salary of $158,280 — over three times the median salary for all occupations in the United States.

Full-time students can complete their MBA in two years, while part-time students may take three to four years, depending on their schedule. With the average cost of these programs at $19,749 for the 2020-2021 academic year, investing in an MBA in marketing elevates your career trajectory and offers a significant return on investment by providing you with the skills and knowledge to be a leader in this field.

How to Choose an MBA in Marketing Program

Choose your area of study

While marketing is already a niche field, you can further tailor your education to your career goals by choosing an area of study, often called a specialization.

Options will vary depending on the institution, but popular specializations include digital marketing, for those interested in online advertising and social media campaigns; brand management, ideal for students wanting to build and maintain solid brand representation; and marketing analytics, suited for students with a knack for data analysis and insights.

Speaking with faculty advisors, attending informational sessions, and researching potential career paths can be helpful when you’re making this decision. It’s important to remember that your best fit will be the option that aligns with your interests and the market’s demand — ensuring both personal satisfaction and professional success.

Research schools and programs

Once you’ve decided on your specialization, you can begin researching schools and programs to help you meet your professional goals. Consider guiding your research with these questions:

  • Does the program offer a specialization in my area of interest?
  • What are the faculty’s credentials?
  • How does the program integrate real-world marketing projects?
  • What are the career outcomes for graduates?
  • Is the program accredited?

You can find this information on program websites by attending open houses and speaking with admissions counselors. These resources offer comprehensive insights into the program’s offerings and overall quality, helping you make an educated decision.

Prepare for tests and applications

Now that you have a shortlist of MBA programs, preparation becomes critical for a successful application.

Start by enrolling in a test prep program for the GRE or GMAT, as a strong score can significantly bolster your application. Also, write a compelling personal statement highlighting your achievements, goals, and why you’re an excellent fit for the program.

Securing solid letters of recommendation from professionals or academics who can vouch for your capabilities and work ethic is essential. Lastly, make sure your academic transcripts and resume are updated and accurately reflect your qualifications and experiences.

Select your program

When acceptance letters arrive, you may have a big decision to make. Fortunately, you can simplify this decision by revisiting your initial research criteria – including specialization offerings, faculty expertise, and career services. Consider practical aspects, such as the total cost of attendance and available financial aid, scholarships, and assistantships. Reflecting on these factors will guide you toward the program that meets your educational needs and professional goals.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Financing your MBA without accruing significant debt may seem impossible, but it is more doable than you think.

Prioritize scholarships and grants first, as these don’t require repayment and are awarded based on merit or need. Assistantships can also be helpful for graduate students, as they often offer tuition waivers or stipends in exchange for research or teaching duties. Federal loans should be considered next to bridge financial gaps, offering lower interest rates and flexible repayment plans.

Don’t hesitate to ask your employer about tuition reimbursement programs; many organizations support employees pursuing further education, especially if the MBA aligns with the company’s goals.

The Top 50 MBA in Marketing Degree Programs

Best MBA in Marketing Degree Programs

UPenn Wharton School

Northwestern Kellogg School of Management

Duke Fuqua School of Business

University of California, Los Angeles

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Carnegie Mellon University

Georgetown University

UF Warrington College of Business

Temple University

University of Virginia

University of California, Berkeley

University of South Carolina

Emory University

University of San Francisco

The University of Texas at Austin

Indiana University

University of Minnesota

Drexel University

University of Utah

Oklahoma State University

Chapman University

Rice University

Pepperdine University

TCU Neeley

Villanova University

FSU College of Business

Northeastern University

Baylor University

The University of Iowa

Columbia Business School

University of Chicago

Marquette University

North Carolina State University

NYU Stern

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How we rank schools

This list features some of the best MBA in marketing degree programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. The programs on our list are accredited by agencies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), both reputable organizations that assess business programs for educational excellence and a commitment to quality education.

We evaluated each school’s program on admission, retention, and graduation rates as well as tuition, faculty, reputation, and the resources provided for on-campus students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of MBA in marketing degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect From an MBA in Marketing Program?

An MBA in marketing offers an all-encompassing curriculum designed to provide students with advanced skills in market research, branding, consumer behavior, sales, and digital marketing strategies. This specialized program delves into the intricacies of market analysis, strategic planning, and the latest marketing tools and technologies, preparing graduates for leadership roles in marketing, advertising, and product management.

Full-time students usually complete the program in two years, while part-time students take three to four years, depending on their schedules and course load.

Beyond marketing-specific courses, MBA students also engage in general business management studies — including finance, operations, and human resources, to develop a well-rounded understanding of how marketing fits within the broader business context. Additional requirements often include internships, capstone projects, and collaboration on real-world case studies, depending on the program.

Potential courses you’ll take in an MBA in marketing program

  • Brand Management: In this course, students learn about the importance of branding, brand equity, and brand positioning in the marketplace. It covers strategies for building, managing, and sustaining a brand — including dealing with brand crises, rebranding, and measuring brand performance to ensure long-term brand success.
  • Digital Marketing Strategies: Increasingly important in today’s digitally-dominant world, this course covers search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing. Students gain hands-on experience developing and implementing digital marketing campaigns, analyzing data to optimize strategies, and understanding the digital customer experience.
  • Consumer Behavior: This course explores the psychological, social, and cultural factors influencing consumers’ decisions. Students learn about consumer decision-making processes, the role of perception in marketing, and strategies for influencing consumer behavior, providing a foundation for creating effective marketing campaigns.
  • Marketing Analytics: In this course, students are introduced to analytical tools and techniques to gather and interpret data to make informed marketing decisions. They learn how to use data analytics for market segmentation, targeting, and positioning, as well as for measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, providing them with the skills to drive data-driven marketing campaigns.

MBA in Marketing Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an MBA in marketing degree program?

To apply for an MBA in marketing, research programs to find those that best suit your career goals. Then, prepare your application, which typically includes the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Relevant work experience, two to five years is often preferable
  • A personal statement outlining your professional aspirations and how the MBA will help you achieve them
  • Letters of recommendation (many programs request two or three)
  • GMAT or GRE scores
  • Official academic transcripts

Given the competitive nature of admissions, it’s crucial to speak with an admissions counselor. They can provide valuable insights into the application process, specific program requirements, and tips to strengthen your application.

How much does an MBA in marketing degree cost?

The cost of these degrees can vary significantly by institution. The average graduate tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year was $19,749. However, you’ll want to prepare for additional costs beyond tuition — including books, supplies, accommodation, and living expenses. Depending on the school, library and activity fees may also be involved, which can add up over time.

Financial aid and scholarships are available at many institutions to help mitigate these costs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a financial aid counselor at your school to discover your opportunities and how to apply.

How long does it take to earn an MBA in marketing degree?

Earning this degree typically takes two years for full-time students, while part-time students may take three to four years, depending on their course load.

Part-time enrollment allows students to balance their studies with a full-time job or family responsibilities, making it a preferred option for many. However, this flexibility extends the typical completion time, as students take fewer courses each semester.

The total number of required credits also influences the duration, with programs requiring more credits taking longer to complete.

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