Back to School: A Look at the Nation's Top Marketing Program
For parents with children in grades K-12, back to school means lightening the wallet. The National Retail Federation is already predicting 2016 to be one of the most expensive back-to-school shopping seasons in the last 10 years (second only to 2012). The average family is expected to spend $673.57 on apparel, supplies, and electronics. This represents a seven percent increase from 2015, despite sluggish overall growth in the US economy. Still, 700 bucks pales in comparison to what others face during back-to-school season: college tuition.
But to those who choose to pursue higher education in business and marketing, despair not! While tuition rates have skyrocketed in recent years, there are still programs that offer top tier education with healthy job placement and salary figures to boot. Marketing graduates and those looking for a career change alike can find value for their many dollars. US News and World Report recently pointed to Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management as the nation’s top educational institution for aspiring marketers.
Among the likes of Penn, Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia, what makes Northwestern’s program stand out from the crowd?
Angela Lee, Professor and Chair of the Marketing Department at Kellogg School of Management explains, “As a renowned leader in marketing, Kellogg prides itself on promoting excellence amongst its students and faculty. Armed with a breadth of skill sets from a variety of disciplines, faculty members apply an innovative, research-based approach to developing new ideas and inspiring the next generation of marketing leaders.”
Marketing Was Born Here
That next generation will be born from an outstanding academic pedigree. Northwestern has long been a center of marketing excellence. In 1903, on the very heels of the industrial revolution, Northwestern’s Walter Scott wrote The Theory of Advertising, in which he pioneered the study of psychology as it relates to product promotion. In 1922, Fred Clark’s Principles of Marketing laid the groundwork for marketing as a business discipline unto itself. Since that time, many more well-known and highly-regarded marketing scholars have called Northwestern home.
Most marketing students probably recognize the name Philip Kotler. Dr. Kotler joined Northwestern in 1962, and is still teaching today at the age of 85. His ubiquitous Marketing Management, now in its 15th edition, is used by professors around the world. In 2005, the Financial Times ranked Dr. Kotler the number four most influential business guru of all time, behind Peter Drucker, Bill Gates, and Jack Welch.
A Quantitative Approach
At the heart of Kellogg’s marketing prowess is its cutting-edge curriculum. Dr. Lee notes, “As a school, we’re constantly adapting to the ever-changing format of marketing, continuously updating the Kellogg curriculum to integrate global markets, general management, and data science into our courses.”
The school offers several flavors of MBA, a doctoral program and executive education to keep business professionals sharp throughout their careers. Students can find courses common among most marketing programs, including Marketing Management, Marketing Strategy and Behavioral Marketing.
But the curriculum also offers many quantitative courses, which might seem foreign to marketers. Course titles such as Consumer Insight Tools, Digital Marketing Analytics and Bayesian Modeling have made their way into the marketing specialty. It’s important to note, these are not merely elective courses under information technology or statistics, but are core to marketing itself. This shift emphasizes the need for modern marketers to apply quantitative methods, while remaining knowledgeable in the more traditional, qualitative aspects of the discipline.
Publish or Perish
One additional area in which Northwestern excels is its many contributions to academic literature. Kellogg’s website lists dozens of books penned by current and former marketing professors. Kellogg also publishes Kellogg Insight, which is an online resource for marketers. The August edition delved into the implications of increasing disposable income in Africa, whether companies should brag about being innovative, and how to utilize power dynamics to be more persuasive.
The driving force behind the school’s PhD program is the desire to establish thought leadership through scholarly publication in peer-reviewed journals and other resources. The same might be said for any PhD program. However, a 2009 study showed, while Columbia and Duke professors have collectively published more articles, Kellogg’s Alexander Chernev was the single-most prolific marketing scholar from 1982-2006.
The Proof Is in the Pudding
The one-year MBA program at Northwestern is not cheap. According to the university’s website, it will cost incoming 2016 students $128,194. But with most graduates going on to earn a median income of $140,000, that investment seems worthwhile. More important than simply looking at cash in vs. cash out is the value of the education one attains through a program like Kellogg.
Of course, acceptance at any of the top 10 schools would set students up for success; it’s difficult to say how much better one school is than the others. Such are the perils of ordinality. Nevertheless, with a history rooted in marketing innovation and cross-disciplinary excellence, a highly-regarded faculty, and a forward-thinking and challenging curriculum, it’s no wonder Kellogg’s marketing program is ranked number one. Focusing on the ultimate goal of any business school, Dr. Lee asserts, “The end results exemplify our success, with Kellogg graduates leading organizations that create new markets and produce sustainable growth.”