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Topic: Career/Training

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Ms In Advertising Vs. Ms In Marketing

Posted by Anonymous on 125 Points
Alright, so I'm in a bit of dilemma here. I'm 26 and evaluating whether or not I want to go back to school. I know that I want to continue to live in Texas, and have narrowed down programs that I'd like to apply for, but don't know which would be of more value to me.

To preface this I have a BA in Communications and have worked in ad sales (first print, then TV, now online) for a little close to 5 years. With my experience I feel that a MA in Advertising would be a little boring and a waste of time, as I feel I've learned a lot on the job from working in the business already. The only reason I would potentially get it is to go work for an ad agency...but I work with agencies on a daily basis. I don't know if I would be happy working for one.

What makes the MA in Marketing attractive to me is the quantitative and research aspect of the degree, which I currently lack. This is turn would make me much more marketable to somebody in a marketing dept. at a Fortune 500...but I don't want to be mired down in data all day. I would like some creative aspect and freedom in my job.

I'm also toying around with the idea of getting dual degree MBA/MA degree in either as well, as both universities offer such. They are both the top 2 research institutions in the state and their graduates are recruited heavily after graduation.

So there in lies the rub. What advice would you give? I'm open to any and all suggestions.


  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Member
    Flip a coin: best of three.

    Draw straws.

    Pick names from a hat.

    Whatever you choose to do, the decision must be yours. No one here can tell you what to do because none of us know you, know what you're good at, or how you're likely to perform in any given career.

    Although you have choices, decisions to make, avenues to explore, and options to investigate what you do have is a dilemma because there is little that's mutually disagreeable about your possible routes of study.

    Your final decision might become easier if your re-engineer the desired outcome: in an ideal world, where do you want to be, career-wise, and what, specifically, do you aspire to be doing 3 to 4 years from now?

    Once you've figured that out and assessed the things you'll need to do to make a goal a reality, your choice of study options ought to become a little clearer.
  • Posted by Moriarty on Member

    Firstly I agree with Gary: what do you want in 3-5 years' time? You say that you weren't happy with agencies - what makes you think being in a Fortune 500 company will be any different?

    Work out what you truly want (and sleep on it!). As to doing a Masters - of any description - research is not the preserve of universities. If it interests you, research it. You won't be hindered by what your professor thinks about the subject either. (Oh, dear! There I go again ... )

    Understanding data has been a big deal for me in recent years - not its manipulation but its provenance. It is this aspect that ties it into marketing, because marketing is about what motivates people. If you are motivated, why not set up your own business? You have some experience.

    How many clicks could you buy on Google to set up yourself in business for the cost of your university training? Which would teach you more? If my father is anything to go by, universities don't like getting things wrong. Marketing is accepting that you almost always get it wrong - and learn from it!

    Even if this is the wrong thing for you to do, at least it will have opened that dimension in this argument.

    Moriarty xx

    For my twopennyworth, buy a copy of Rosser Reeves' "Reality In Advertising" (1961). Digest that and you will have a very different viewpoint on how commercial advertising works. It is now 50 years since it was published and practically nobody uses it. Use it and you put yourself in the top ten of advertisers/marketers in one step.
  • Posted on Author
    Gary & Moriarty,

    Thanks for the candid responses. I'd say in 3-5 yrs I'd like to be in a management role.

    I'd be happy with being able to direct digital strategy on the client side, but I could also be happy working for an agency directing brands on how best to spend their dollars and through what channels in the digital space.

    Thought I have experience, it's just not financially viable for me to strike it on my own just quite yet.

    I'll narrow it down...just thought I'd through out this questions to others like yourself.

  • Posted by Moriarty on Member

    Thanks for the prompt response - if you look through the questions, it is actually not that common to get responses of any kind.

    Now bear in mind that I know nothing of what your financial position is. However you say "not financially viable" to start up on your own ... yet you are considering a massive outlay on education.

    Now one statistic (which I can't back up I lost the link in a computer crash, sorry). Did you know that a businesses' profits are *inversely* proportional to the number of MBAs they employ?

    I have set up several small businesses with my bare hands, some with my ex, some on my own. Start small and let it grow. It takes courage to be an entrepreneur, it ain't that scary though.


  • Posted by Peter (henna gaijin) on Member
    I am with the others that info about where you want to be in a few years is very important. You say management - in which I case I would lean toward an MBA program over a masters in either advertising or marketing. The more general business education (including finance, economics, etc., along with marketing) would pay off once you start moving from being a contributor to a manager. If you must choose between marketing and advertising, I'd go marketing as it is a more broad subject.

    But the question should also be asked - can you get there without getting the degree? For example, can you become a manager in your ad sales group? There is a definite cost in time and money to getting the degree - and it is only worth spending if you can move your career forward after you get the degree.

    Also keep in mind how your company reacts to your schooling. Will your schedule be flexible so you can work while studying, or do you have to quit and go to school full time? Do they help with tuition costs (some companies do)? If you keep working, do they give you any sort of advancement when you get the degree (most companies don't)? On this last question, if you get a degree and have these added skills, but the company doesn't do anything, means you will likely have to jump ship to get some benefit from the new degree. Unfortunately all too common.
  • Posted on Author
    Hey Peter,

    Yes, I could become a manager if I stuck around, but that could take years. My sales organization is fairly small (12-15 spread out around the country) with the sales headquarters in NYC....I live in TX.

    If I got into grad school, I'd quit my full time job and go to school full time. I'd be okay with that, as I'd like to move more into a brand management/marketing role within a fortune 500 or large media agency.

    With my career only being in ad sales, I've kind of narrowed down my options as far as shifting career paths without going back to school. Though what I'm in is highly niche and specialized, it's very high stress and pressure to hit budgets quarter after quarter, year after year...I'm ready for a new adventure.

  • Posted by Moriarty on Member

    "it's very high stress and pressure to hit budgets quarter after quarter, year after year...I'm ready for a new adventure."

    again: will it be any different in a Fortune 500 company? You may find yourself poorer - and slap bang back where you started. You might not even be earning as much.

    You are in a niche. That spells gold dust to me. You know its ins and outs. Is there no leverage in this on your own account. Work 20 hrs a week and bring in as much as you get now.

    You make your own rules too. It's up to you.

  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    Knowing just what you've said, and what I infer from it, I'm with Peter: An MBA might be your best bet. It sets you up to do a range of things, including advertising and marketing ... plus management.

    That doesn't mean you can't achieve your objectives with other degrees, or none. It just means that if you're going to invest the time, money and emotional energy getting more formal education, you might as well have the broadest, best recognized business degree out there.

    And try to get into the best B-School you can.
  • Posted by peg on Accepted
    I'm going to depart from the other advice, as well-meaning as it is.

    In a corporation, CEOs want proof that their marketing spend provides good ROI. So, they want marketers who have analytics and metrics in their blood. Creativity, intelligence and leadership may add to the package, but money is the only language that counts.

    As a marketer, you may feel that marketing is also about people (consumers); but don't expect a CEO to share that view. It's numbers all the way.

    So, if your goal is to build a promising marketing career, let your studies favor what CEOs want: analytics. By the way, this is also what recruiters will be looking for.

    Good luck to you!

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