Home Media SCU Leavey Blog How Is a Master’s in Marketing Different From a Marketing MBA?

How Is a Master’s in Marketing Different From a Marketing MBA?

22 Oct
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Both marketing master’s degrees and marketing MBAs focus on the field of marketing: efforts companies take to promote and sell services and/or goods to customers.1 If you’re considering which of these two advanced degrees would be best for you and your career, it’s important to know their differences.

Read on to learn how marketing MBAs differ from marketing master’s degrees and why an online marketing MBA could be the best choice for you—and your career goals.

The Marketing Master’s Degree

Marketing master’s degrees focus primarily on learning the ins and outs of today’s marketing industry including the latest data-driven tactics and strategies that attract customers, boost sales and brand reputation, and increase profits.

Today’s marketing industry is heavily informed, and influenced, by a variety of data—not guesses. Gone are the tech-free days of guessing which marketing materials resonated with consumers and drove quarterly sales. Also gone are the days of putting out more of those same materials in the hopes of drumming up repeat sales.

Modern marketing degrees reflect this trend of data over gut instincts and intuition. Marketing master’s students now learn a variety of practical skills and subjects, driven by the science of marketing, including:

  • Consumer trends
  • Marketing data analysis and application
  • The "marketing mix," or four Ps—product, price, place, and promotion1
  • Marketing communications
  • Marketing strategy
  • Brand management

Marketing master’s degrees differ from MBA’s and marketing MBAs in that they do not focus typically on the management and administration side of running businesses like MBAs do. They are considered a good fit for prospective students who have limited work experience, and who want to focus on the traditional aspects of marketing, chiefly the practical, not theoretical, side of the industry.

MBAs: An Overview

For those with four to five years of work experience who are seeking to lead both small or large businesses, manage teams, understand a company’s accounting and financials, and solidly open the door to C-suites and C-level positions, MBAs are an ideal match.

MBA’s come with a ton of positives. They are highly sought after by recruiters, feature impressive statistics, and teach the following core subjects that can help individuals run any type of business:2

  • Management
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Business law3

MBAs are also market resilient. According to recent news from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), MBA salaries and hiring levels are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2021; Starting median salaries are calculated to hit an impressive $115,000 for degree-holders this year.2

Launched as recognized degrees in the early 1900s,4 the popularity of MBAs has grown over the last century. As a result, MBAs have added more options for students to choose from. Today’s MBAs now have a variety of focuses and concentrations for students to pursue, including data science, finance, innovative leadership, entrepreneurship, and marketing.

The Marketing MBA

Marketing MBAs are specialized MBA degrees that deliver leadership and management skills tailored to today’s evolving marketing industry. Key marketing MBA courses include:

  • Product innovation
  • Integrated marketing communications
  • Social media marketing
  • Tech marketing

Why Marketing MBAs Matter

With the rise of MBAs, specialty degrees have emerged as a first choice for those interested in gaining MBA skills for a field they are passionate about and have a good deal of previous work experience in. This specialty degree appeals to students who are interested in attaining a Chief Marketing Officer position, or a lead marketing role, that requires a wealth of knowledge in business operations, accounting, leadership, and management.

Marketing MBAs are a great fit for prospective students who have at least two years of professional marketing experience and who have proven academic strengths in marketing, communications, and/or similar fields. Prior leadership experience is not always a requirement of admission.

In general, marketing MBAs come with a number of benefits shared by traditional MBAs:

  • In-demand soft skills and hard skills
  • Increased lifetime earnings5
  • Influential alumni networks
  • Career-boosting connections

Not all marketing MBAs are created equal. Higher-ranked, highly-reputable, accredited MBA’s lead to better financial outcomes in the long run which has an added bonus of offsetting degree costs and earning more over a lifetime of employment.5 Therefore, it’s important to choose a top-ranked marketing MBA program from a leading university that has a proven track record when selected where to earn your advanced degree. Top programs provide:

  1. Career support and career coaching
  2. An influential alumni network of business leaders
  3. Access and connections to key industry partnerships
  4. Immersive learning experiences taught by expert faculty with field experience
  5. Courses that deliver applicable skills and knowledge, from day one
  6. A flexible format that supports continuous career momentum

Choosing the Right Online Marketing MBA

Great online marketing MBA programs have all the key factors of top in-person MBAs but also allow students additional flexibility to learn at their own pace, achieve a better work-life-school balance, and maintain positive career momentum in a current role and work full time.6

Other benefits of stellar online marketing MBA programs include:

  • No need to relocate
  • Lower degree costs
  • A degree as respected as an in-person degree
  • Opportunities to interact with a global cohort, global faculty
  • Fewer credit requirements to graduation6

Earning a top-ranked, accredited, online degree like the #12 Best Online Marketing MBA from a reputable school, including Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business, which has critical ties to neighboring innovation hub, Silicon Valley, is an important step to advancing your career—from the moment you start your degree.

Advance Your Career With the Silicon Valley Online MBA.

Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business is proud to offer an Online MBA program that puts the best of Silicon Valley at your fingertips and prepares you to thrive in innovative organizations everywhere. Learn more about our faculty of accomplished business leaders, and explore some of the exciting networking opportunities available to online students at SCU.


1. Retrieved on October 21, 2021, from investopedia.com/terms/m/marketing.asp
2. Retrieved on October 21, 2021, from gmac.com/market-intelligence-and-research/market-research/corporate-recruiters-survey
3. Retrieved on October 21, 2021, from investopedia.com/terms/m/mba.asp
4. Retrieved on October 21, 2021, from mba.today/guide/mba-history
5. Retrieved on October 21, 2021, from poetsandquants.com/2021/05/05/lifetime-earnings-of-mbas/
6. Retrieved on October 21, 2021, from poetsandquants.com/2020/11/09/the-best-online-mba-programs-of-2021/2/