A few weeks back I was asked the question “How does the IMC compare to an MBA program and which one do you think is better?” So I thought I would share my response to those out there that still may be evaluating which masters level program is right for them.
MBA programs will give you a broad understanding of all areas of business. They tend to have a heavy focus in accounting and finance with just a few high level overview courses in marketing. If you plan on going into a general business career and plan on being in the administration, accounting or finance areas – then an MBA is likely right for you. However, if you plan on focusing in marketing, an MBA will leave you short. As one person indicated “I have an MBA and while that gives me the ability to think through business processes and strategy, it didn’t make me a great marketer.”
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)
IMC is completely focused on marketing. You will have a well-rounded degree that covers every aspect of marketing, including all of the traditional marketing approaches (PR, direct marketing, promotions, media analysis, market research etc) as well as all emerging media (mobile marketing, social media marketing, web metrics/seo etc). You will also be able to get specific in the areas of marketing that you would like to specialize or create focus in (health care marketing, sports marketing, cause marketing, multicultural marketing). For those that are really interested in the creative side, you can even choose courses in creative concepts, storytelling, interactive media, and visual information design.
You have the ability to really strengthen your competitiveness for your career goals. You will be competitive and stand out against MBAs that are applying for a marketing position.
So why the IMC program at West Virginia University?
There are certainly not as many IMC programs to choose from as there are MBA programs. So here are a few things that I think make the IMC program at WVU strong:
- The program is constantly progressing to include new courses as the field changes and grows. Political marketing, internal brand communications and entrepreneurship are just a few of the new courses being added at the time of this post.
- The professors bring real-life experience. These professors are not stuck in the classroom teaching only textbook material. While we all understand the importance of basic concepts that are taught in textbooks, they can’t compare to the real life situations that occur only on the job. The grounded concepts provided by the textbooks coupled with the experience of years in the field (of some pretty stellar brand names) is something you won’t find everywhere.
- The flexibility. Life is busy, we are all juggling multiple things between families, jobs and courses. The ability to take a masters program online and fit it into your own schedule is a huge advantage. This program also has a lot of dialogue with classmates and professors on a weekly basis giving you the same interactions that you would have in the classroom setting.
- Credibility. Seeing that this program was offered from an accredited university and not just an online program was important to me. I wanted to know that my Masters Degree would always be viewed as an advantage and did not come from an online program that ceased to exist some day.
So there you have it – why I think the IMC is a far stronger program than an MBA for those looking to focus on a marketing career.