This spring the Manderson Graduate School of Business began offering a new online master’s degree in marketing with a specialization in marketing analytics. The program is one of several online degrees offered and follows similar curricula as to the on-campus analytics graduate programs.
Arthur Allaway, professor of marketing and coordinator of the Masters of Science in Marketing program, said students will take a general marketing class for about half of the 30-hour program. Online students watch lectures from on-campus professors and are tested on the same material as on-campus students. The program’s flexible coursework primarily targets full-time workers who want to earn a specialization in the growing field of analytics.
“We just launched, but we’ve already had probably 15 people that said they want to do this,” he said. “Because marketing big data is relatively new and these positions are being created like crazy, and a lot of times it’s a mid-manager or a rising young person in a company who says, ‘I’d rather do that, and if I can get that set of skills, then I will double my salary.’”
The marketing analytics specialization of the new online graduate degree includes programming and data mining courses focused on Statistical Analysis System software, which is used by most Fortune 500 companies. Several programs within the graduate school, such as applied statistics and operations management, also use the SAS software.
“We give students hands-on experience with what we call real world data,” said Cali Davis, a statistics clinical instructor and coordinator for the master’s applied statistics program. “The data is not clean. It’s not nice and neat. It’s not like what you would see in a textbook. It’s more like what you would get on the first project you get from a company.”
By working with big data, Davis said students have the opportunity to explore and modify the information, and then they can present it to the company to help make business decisions. She said most students upon graduation receive jobs slightly above entry-level at places like Chase Bank, Protective Life, Disney, dunnhumby, Medicaid, Procter & Gamble Co. and more.
The new online program, like others, has the potential to attract both full-time workers and current on-campus students who need to complete their degree online because of a new job offer.
John Mittenthal, associate professor of operations management and coordinator of the master’s operations management program, said the online operations management program has 44 students, which is far more than the eight students in the on-campus program.
“A lot of people in online programs are concerned about what does it say on the diploma,” he said. “Well here, it is a degree in marketing, or it’s a degree in operations management. We have made a very concerted effort to make sure that the online and the on campus experience is as close to identical as we can make it.”
In the future, Allaway said he hopes they can offer a University Scholars option for students interested in the master’s in marketing program. But for now, he applauds the faculty for making the program the best.
“Most of these schools, the people that teach statistics are dry,” he said. “They are very busy with other things. If you ask about [our teachers], they have time, are always there, get back to you, have office hours and are warm. That’s why this thing works.”