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Should I minor in Marketing or take more business classes that interest me?

I am currently a 3rd year Psychology major who plans to attain an M.B.A. after graduation. I am wondering if I should take a minor in marketing vs. taking other business classes I am more interested in as my elective classes and how it affects my application in any M.B.A. program (whether at my school any other school) or career. Because if I should instead take other business classes that I am more interested I would sacrifice the minor as I do not have time to fit everything in before graduation. How will either way affect my application to business school and my future careers #career #higher-education #college #business #marketing #university


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Steven’s Answer

Hi Anthony — I'd strongly recommend that you focus on courses that interest. Although you may believe that you're interested in Marketing today, my guess is that your career (and interests while pursuing your MBA) may took you on more circuitous routes than your originally imagined.

Separately, even if you end up pursuing marketing more deeply, both in your future MBA program and beyond, you'll be a much better marketer if you have a broader context through which you view the world. As others have pointed out, Marketing ultimately touches on a number of different disciplines and, at its best, ends up cutting across a lof of different functions inside of businesses. You'll benefit from a deeper understanding of business, more generally.

Thank you so much I'll keep that in mind! Anthony S.

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Savita’s Answer

As a Psychology major interested in pursuing an MBA I would definitely recommend doing a minor in business with courses focused on core accounting or finance classes. This will both help you in your MBA as well as give you experience with the numerical side of business. Market core classes are taught in an MBA program and you could specialize in Marketing there.

Savita recommends the following next steps:

Find an internship in business role that requires psychology base such as Human Resources, Compliance, Communications etc.

Thank you so much I chose not to minor and instead am applying to HR and business internships to help me with my background into getting into business. Anthony S.

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Will’s Answer

I'm passing along an answer from my colleague:

"Psychology + Marketing: can lead to careers in marketing, having a good read of how people absorb information helps you craft marketing strategies for any company. You will need to understand Business and product also to be a good marketer, this is where an MBA will also help.

In tech companies, with an under-grad you could start as an Associate or Marketing associate, and work your way up to lead the marketing function a few years down the line. Marketing also has different specializations - Brand Management, Communications, Event marketing (look up Google's Job section for marketing roles, it'll give you a good clue of what they look for in a marketing grad). MBA is an expensive degree, so its best if you go to a top college, that increases your chances of getting a job that'll help you pay back all tuition costs in a compressed time. For MBA you could also narrow your focus on taking Business related courses such as Finance, Statistics. These will improve your understanding of the field and apply what you learnt in undergrad in your MBA.

Good luck!"

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Jeff’s Answer

This is a great question! I'm really impressed with your forward-thinking. I honestly think you should focus on what you're interested in. If that track is other business courses, I would recommend continuing to pursue and enroll in those. If you're still not sure exactly what you want to do with your career within business, it may be helpful to explore some other areas of business or marketing, that you're less familiar with. Another option, although probably less feasible at this stage in your college career, would be to explore internships and practicums in areas of business that you think you're interested in. It's very difficult to tell what a day in the life is like, unless you're actually doing it. You may find your dream job or you may find that it's not what you thought, and don't enjoy it, like you imagined.

As far as the minor goes, it really depends on a couple different factors:

1) Are you planning or targeting a top 20 business school? If so, your GPA and GMAT scores may be more of a factor, than what your coursework or minor is.

2) I know you're planning on pursuing an MBA - Do you have a specific career track that you're planning on following, like: Management Consulting or Strategy Consulting? If you have a specific track that you're looking to follow, it may be easier to provide you with some solid advice.

Overall, I've found that if I have a goal in mind, ex: "This is what I want to do, or this is where I want to be" - I can then build a plan on how to get there. I think that's really the key. To figure out what the end-game is. Once you have that, the rest is just figuring out a plan of attack to get you there.

I'm more than happy to chat with you 1:1, if you have any further questions or want to discuss in greater detail.

I hope this helps!

Thank you for the offer apologies on getting back months later. I'm still looking at graduate schools some top twenty and others are not I'm also thinking about concentrating in entrepreneurship and innovation or having a concentration with something in the biotech industry as that is the industry I would like to work in. Anthony S.

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Samuel’s Answer

Hey Anthony,

First off, are you wanting to specialize in Marketing for your MBA? If not, then I really think you should just do business courses that interest you. Like John said, you will get marketing training in any MBA program; no matter what you specialize in or just do a general one. I got my bachelors in Business Administration: International Business and got marketing training. My job now is in Marketing, actually. LOL
Anyways, do what interests you because down the line you want to be prepared and ready to do what you love.

I love cultures/diversity and business, so I did my bachelors in business and am finishing up my graduate degree in Global Studies. Fin what you love/what strikes a chord in you and then find how those skills can resolve a need in the world, then do it.

Wishing you the best,
Samuel

Thanks Samuel for responding! I'm actually interested in entrepreneurship especially in medical research, but I am wondering in minoring in marketing will make a huge impact on my resume for any upcoming jobs and strengthen my background in business. I am actually wondering if minoring or any other minoring courses between the two will make a bigger impact on my resume. Thank you for taking your time to respond! Anthony S.

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Brian’s Answer

My recommendation would be to take other courses that interest you in order to explore other areas. I think most people in believe in retrospect that they would have been better off taking their time in college to explore the subjects/industries that REALLY interest them.

While it is cliché - "finding your passion" will help you in your career. This doesn't mean you should strive to be a Rockstar but rather - identify the industries that you find interesting and match jobs in that industry to your skillset.


Thank you even though it's a little hard to do that now I am trying to get all the experience I can in what I want to do! Anthony S.

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Jen’s Answer

You should take ALL courses that interest you - - not the ones you feel like you HAVE to take.

I am a Marketer and feel like a Marketing minor would be a "throw away" minor - - it's too general. I'm more likely to hire someone in Marketing that has a Communications or Writing minor. Marketing becomes valuable as Major or when you get out in the world, roll-up your sleeves and get the experience on the job.

Thank you I have never thought about it that way thank you for showing me a new point of view. Anthony S.

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Lisa Bond’s Answer

Hi Anthony,
You've received a lot of good advice. I would recommend you to minor in Marketing and understand Marketing theory. However, the best advice I can offer to you is to get an internship in Marketing. That would provide you with experience in the field, which also makes your resume look good for grad school.

Thank you so much! Anthony S.

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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Anthony,

I would recommend taking the general classes over a specific minor. Your bachelors program is an opportunity to really explore what is out there, what you are interested in. Graduate programs are good for digger deeper into areas that interest you. You will find that you will not jump around subjects in a masters program as much.

Gloria

Thank you so much! Yes its true that my bachelors program is a great opportunity to explore despite running out of time before I graduate I think I am able to form what I'm really interested in as a career. Anthony S.

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Michelle’s Answer

Hey Anthony--

MBA grad here. You've gotten some good answers. If you're seeking an MBA, I honestly think either a marketing minor or general business classes are fine (though you may want to look at the specific programs you're interested in and see if there's a stated preference). You will submit a full transcript with your application: you don't need to have minored for your prospective MBA school to know your course background.

If I were you, I'd take a general business curriculum: introductory economics, accounting, finance, statistics, marketing, and business strategy or operations if you can. Or just take what interests you. Do the best you can in those classes and keep your notes. The psychology-to-marketing career path is common but not the only way you can translate your schooling in psychology into a business career. Stay open to all the possibilities!

Thank you so much! I've only been able to take 2 business classes in the time until now and I'm not completely sure if I'll have room to take more as I have other major classes to complete as well. Anthony S.

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Erin’s Answer

Marketing would make your resume diverse, and could open you up to larger interests. And there is a lot of Psychology used in Marketing. You are enhancing your knowledge across the board.

Thank you! Having marketing in my resume is indeed a plus, but I'm currently contemplating if I am really into it as a minor or not. Anthony S.

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Patricia’s Answer

Following your interests in business classes could open up new opportunities you were not even aware of for your future. Business and Marketing (especially Digital Marketing) is opening up all the time. Talk to your advisors and get their feedback as well.

If you were going to explore anything new I would recommend Data Analytics. You don't necessarily need to be the one creating the business reporting scripts and running the reports but a working knowledge of the fundamentals can only help. I have worked with fresh out of college Data Scientists that are very siloed in their knowledge of running reports and by learning more about what they do (and their vernacular) I was able to build a bridge to convey my needs in terms that they recognized. You have to be a good cross functional collaborator and knowing more about your fellow team members can only help.

Marketing Courses are something that your future employers may pay for you to attend, in order to keep up on the latest trends. A few years ago sections of my company went through Mini Marketing MBA courses at Rutgers to expose us to the latest trends in Digital Marketing. It was very helpful for me to have real world work experiences to reference with the instructors/lecturers.

Another recent example of learning new aspects of Digital Marketing for me was part of a company sponsored leadership course that featured a guest speaker. Along with being very experienced in the Digital Marketing world he is a jazz musician.

He was able to take the 7 principles of Jazz and use it as a metaphor for Agile in Digital Marketing. I was so struck by the unique message delivery and lessons that I shared the materials with my team to help them in working more Agile in their day to day work. His name is Alan Schulman and he has some interesting videos on YouTube you can check out .

Thank you that is very interesting to know that I can still learn through programs with a company! Also thank you for the referral as well I'll look into him if I can. I am wondering how a minor in marketing will impact my resume more than a course or certificate. I will sure talk to my advisors after the break too! Anthony S.

Check him out on LinkedIn too. He has a great history in Marketing and may be able to give you some good insights. Patricia Mulligan

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Jacob’s Answer

Hi Anthony,

I would like to echo some of the responses above. In my opinion, it is much more beneficial to take classes that interest you, especially if they are still business-related classes, assuming your intention to obtain an MBA. During the interview process for the MBA program, you can explain that, in lieu of a Marketing minor, you took different business classes that were more interesting and relevant for you, and explain what was learned by taking those classes. The importance of having a passion about what you are learning cannot be understated.

Wishing you the best of luck in your future endeavors,

Jake

Thank you for responding! Even though I take those classes that are more interesting it won't be as huge of impact on my resume as a minor in marketing would for any type of business management jobs though. Anthony S.

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John’s Answer

Marketing is for if you would be interested in doing sales and how to market a business. Core business courses teach you all the basics about running a business. I would stick with the core MBA program which you will get a little marketing training. You can also pick the marketing up on your own, reading, internet, seeing how sales people do it, etc. Of course if your goal is to be in Sales then adding marketing minor would be beneficial.

Thank you! I am actually hoping to do entrepreneurship and running a business in any M.B.A. program I was wondering if having a minor in marketing will solidify my chances in my career too. Anthony S.

If you plan on running a business then best to take more business classes. Marketing can come later and you won't need a minor. John Oller

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chris’s Answer

Hello Anthony:

As a marketing professional, Marketing and Psychology are an excellent paring and would get noticed on your resume. A sharp interviewer will be intrigued by your knowledge of psychology coupled with marketing and how it can be applied for the job at hand. I can see it opening doors for promotions and get you on corporate projects and committees.

From a more personal growth perspective, marketing as a discipline will introduce you to new skills and concepts. But most important, marketing will teach you how to sell yourself and your ideas. The business world has a lot of smart people with great viewpoints, but not many who can sell them.


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Grace’s Answer

*This answer combines input from a group of marketers with more than 40 years’ experience - all currently working at a global tech company. We hope you find it helpful and wish you the best in all of your endeavors.*

Great question!

For a bit of context, all of us are working marketers and we all have non-traditional backgrounds in terms of what we studied in college-- only 1 of 7 has a minor in the field (marketing). None of us attended business school.

From our perspective, the most important thing you can do is your research / due diligence. Think about the career you want, finalize your shortlist of MBA programs, and think about what those schools prioritize in applicants. Are they open to people with a non-traditional background or do they prize relevant coursework in their applicant resumes? Would the marketing coursework help you in the field you're interested in? In our experience, admissions officers are very open to you reaching out to them and asking these questions, and it even gives you a reason to start building a relationship with someone on the decision committee! Your current school counselor or career advice office may also be able to provide more specific input based on the schools you are targeting.

Overall, we think that there is a balancing act and direct knowledge of the schools and field you're targeting should inform this decision.

That aside, we wanted to emphasize a few points:
1. Learning on the job is key, especially in marketing. Think about internships that will give you hands-on experience, which is also important to business schools. If you have some real-life experience, you may be able to de-emphasize your coursework and take some classes just because you're passionate about the topics.
2. In our experience, some of the undergrad courses that weren't directly related to marketing have had the biggest impact on our work in marketing. For example, behavioral economics classes like sociology and psych can inform your marketing strategies and provided a well-rounded foundation for a marketing career.
3. In general, it's a good rule of thumb to explore what you're interested in because you'll likely learn the most in those courses, and your passion for the topic will sustain you overtime. If after researching fields and particular schools you decide that it's most important to take the marketing coursework, consider auditing the courses you're passionate about instead of taking them for a grade/credit. This way you can still engage with topics that you're interested.

Hope this is helpful!


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