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What's the best major for marketing?

What's the best undergrad major for someone who wants to be in a marketing managerial position eventually, whilst simultaneously having a plan B? Marketing, finance, or other?

I've heard that marketing is not the major that it used to be, and most people advice me to align with the marketing path, but with an entirely different business degree since marketing is 'useless' and doesn't provide the necessary skills for working in the field.

My initial plan was to major in marketing and attend a state university for 4 years while working an internship and networking, followed by eventually getting a job and working on an MBA, as well as certifications. Is this a good idea, or am I way off?

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Alexander’s Answer

Some personal experience I've had but a lot of friends (as well as myself) that are in marketing didn't actually study it. If your school's marketing program isn't too well known, you can major in a field that you're interested in that can provide you the experience and specialty for a marketing position in that field. Internships helped me get that first step in the door more so than what I studied and certifications, like you mentioned, are really helpful too. After some years of work experience, your major plays less and less of a role in how you get your next position.
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Jinhua’s Answer

Hi Harold,

Luckily, I major in Marketing! Technically, Marketing is one of the concentrations under Business Administration, other concentrations including Accounting, Finance , management , etc)

Comparing to STEM major, business seem "useless" because basically what we got are soft skills, but I would't regret what I chose. I used to be shy and didn't talk too much in class even out of the class because I'm an international student and I was not really good at English. But Marketing major changed everything , I very enjoy it and be proud of what I acknowledged in Marketing!

Actually, have you heard about Business Analytics , it's STEM-designated but I'm afraid that it's only offered to graduate( it officially called Master of Science programs in Business Analytics) and PhD students, however, you or me do need to learn the "useless" thing before we want to get deeper in this area. In that case, Business won't be a bad choice for you.

I can see your passion about Marketing thru your words. In addition. if you will be in other major, you could think about choosing Marketing as a minor when you go to the college, or you could make the ultimate decision after you took some fundamental marketing class ( I'm sure in college you will have free elective classes to take, at that time you could try some marketing classes) , and you can change your major at any time before your sophomore year.

Wish this helps.
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Haley’s Answer

Major in something you enjoy and make sure to choose classes that give you hard skills, like stats and analytics. Even if you're not interested in doing that kind of marketing, it will give you a foundation for communicating with others who do. Today's performance marketing world is all about analytics and experimentation, and you'll learn most of this on the job. Most of our team members in digital ads come from an analytics background, but we do have brand, copy, and digital designers that help with the visual experience -- which are also critical in advertising.

I think your career plan is perfect, though certifications will help you with career changes more so than ongoing career development.
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James’s Answer

Marketing represents a pretty broad set of jobs that can be highly analytical or very creative, so it depends on what you want to do. Business Analytics or Statistics would be great for those analytical roles. English, communications, journalism, videography, or advertising would be good for more of the creative side. An MBA is great for brand management or if you want to get into marketing leadership.

All this being said, in my experience, getting a great job in marketing (especially on the creative side) is much more about your portfolio than it is about a specific degree.
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Rebecca’s Answer

I'd recommend a degree in communications, English, journalism, marketing, or something that's collaboration-focused. Something that requires you to think, write a lot, and work in group settings. You will absolutely have a lot of collaboration potential in a marketing-facing role.
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Meredith’s Answer

Hi Harold! I echo what other thoughts on this thread. I HIGHLY recommend incorporating business and finance classes in conjunction with marketing. Marketing skills are great to learn in college, but in my opinion, much of the come from experience. Establishing a solid business foundation will set you up for success and expand your opportunities as you determine what direction you would like your career to go. Good luck!
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Nick’s Answer

In my opinion being a marketing major is a broad discipline... I would focus on staying close to the balance sheet and understanding how a business (large or small) operates and makes money... the marketing and advertising will take care of its self but understanding the financials first will allow you to be a more successful marketer/advertiser down the road
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Liam’s Answer

Hi,

Firstly, I wouldn't agree that a marketing degree is "useless", quite the opposite in fact. I'm based in Ireland, and studied marketing and management in university, and it has stood by me in my career ever since.

I would certainly suggest doing additional course thought - LinkedIn learning courses around management, Google analytics etc. These will all help you.

Leadership courses will certainly help steer your career towards a managerial position. This won't happen right away of course, but with some experience and initiative to go and do some courses, this will all help.

Also, if you can get real hands on experience through summer jobs, internships etc. I would suggest you do that. It all looks good on that all important CV when applying for jobs!

Best of luck!

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Christopher’s Answer

Hi Harold,

I would strongly suggest looking into Business Administrations to start if this is for an undergrad. This is a great way to understand business operations and how marketing would work for businesses.

I took my undergrad in Communication Studies & Sociology hoping to become a Sports Broadcaster.

After graduating, I look a post graduate program for Marketing Management. Amazing program and I am now working for Salesforce.
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Tiana’s Answer

Hi, Harold. I think the best thing you can do in college is to get the most exposure in everything for the Business School. The best major to do is Business Administration, so you are able to get information on everything. If the school offers concentration then you should try to get experience on everything.
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Robert’s Answer

To go into a managerial position in marketing, it would be great to look at majors such as Business Administration and Communications. These majors will give you the skills needed to be introduced to many different parts of the business world, such as Marketing.
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Brian’s Answer

Marketing is such a broad term that can cover multiple disciplines. I would venture to say it has expanded over the past 15 years along with the evolution of ecommerce for example, so there are many potential career paths. I think a background in other business majors may be a helpful complement here. One point I would note is to try not be too concerned that your major defines or perhaps limits your future career opportunities. I have had the pleasure over my career of working with many individuals who majored in fields that are quite different than their chosen profession.
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Luke’s Answer

Hey Harold! Based on my experience the curriculum for marketing is very similar to communications so it might serve as a good back up. Some schools separate the programs as in marketing belongs to the business school and communications might not so be on the look out for that.
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Darius’s Answer

Hi Harold,

Thank you for the question - I personally was a Marketing Major. I took my undergrad in Business Administration, and then after my first year of University, and then focused on Marketing as my major for the last 3 years of school.

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Kimberly’s Answer

I have my BA in Business Management and Marketing. I feel as my time in business school was well spent. This will teach you all aspects about business and organizational structure. All of which I think is crucial information to know to be able to market any business successfully.
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David’s Answer

Such a great question! Follow your passion in undergrad. Study what you want and what you love. That’s my advice. I was an English and History major in college, and I’ve been in the marketing field for 10+ years at this point. Since marketing is vast – and there aren’t necessarily special courses you need to take, like in the medicine or science or engineering fields – you can focus on what you enjoy while savoring the four precious years of undergrad.
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Chivon’s Answer

First I want to say’ kudos to you for your desire to continue you education. I agree with both of the previous answers. You want to incorporate as many business finance courses as possible. Those will be the cornerstone to success.
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Christa’s Answer

I would not think of your major choice as a limitation for you and your future career path. I studied Business (focused on Marketing and Management) with a minor in Journalism and have had a career in Public Relations / Corporate Communications. Your field of study is useful, but there is so much to learn beyond the classroom - and so having a strong, solid foundation and understanding of the business world has served me well in the career path I've found myself in (and loving, by the way!). Your experience in your career progression will be important to help you advance / adjust to the opportunities as they arise. Best wishes on your journey!
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Kyla’s Answer

Building off of the goodness shared here, I mimic the idea that you do not need to be beholden to marketing as a major. I am in a management role, following (4) years of journalism in college, followed by (3) internships in TV production. I fell into marketing, and subsequently found a passion for it, but I was able to use my transferable skills from other areas to drive impact. Marketing can be taught, but it can also be learned in the job.

If marketing is your passion, there's no harm (in my opinion) pursuing your education in it. It might help you figure out the exact area you want to study (i.e. creative vs brand vs analytics). However, I do encourage you to leave some room for spontaneity. As someone that thought she had planned her whole life out at 17, I can guarantee you it will be a smoother (and ultimately better) ride if you're open to change if it comes. Don't stress about MBAs and certifications; go to a school and study a subject that will bring you joy and the rest will fall in line with hard work and perseverance.
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Kim’s Answer

Hi Harold
I agree with Jinhua, your major is dependent upon your area of interest. If you are not sure, you can major in Business with a marketing minor. I would also highly recommend that you take as many business finance courses as possible. No matter what you do with your degree, when you are part of a business, having a solid understanding financials puts you in a preferred position to move up in the organization.
Best of luck to you in your educational and career journey.
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