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Best Business Schools for Marketing, Part II

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Last week we took a close look at two of the giants among business schools when it comes to training the next generation of marketers. A professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management literally wrote the book on marketing—or at least a seminal text still used to teach students in marketing departments at business schools around the globe. Meanwhile, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School claims to have begun teaching and researching marketing before the field even existed—offering courses dating back to 1909 in what was then called “merchandizing.”

OK—so Kellogg and Wharton may have some legitimate stakes as the granddaddies of marketing, but several other programs are steadily making gains on their elders. In fact, a growing cohort of schools are sending far more of their MBA graduates into marketing roles than either Kellogg or Wharton. At two schools, students heading into marketing roles straight out of school made up nearly 30 percent of the most recent graduating class, almost 10 percentage points higher than Kellogg and three times that of Wharton.

As you might imagine, with more and more students showing interest in marketing, schools are beefing up their resources to meet demand—devoting increasing faculty, courses, centers and programming to support these interests.

In Best Schools for Marketing, Part II, join us as we examine some of these rising stars—taking a closer look at just what’s on offer at a few more schools where marketing is on fire.

Marketing at UCLA Anderson School of Management

The UCLA Anderson School of Management has sent as much as 29 percent of its graduates into marketing roles in recent years, with 28.2 percent of the Class of 2015 heading off to marketing departments in industries ranging from consumer products, entertainment and media to technology and healthcare. More Anderson graduates went into marketing functions upon graduation than any other, including finance (24.9 percent) and consulting (20.1 percent). Of course, counted within the percentage of graduates heading into marketing functions were those pursuing roles in brand management, product management, business analytics, sales and other marketing services—though it could be that the variety of employment options open to marketers is precisely part of its wide appeal. Top hiring firms for Anderson students in marketing include Mattel, the Walt Disney Company, Apple, Fox and General Mills.

best business schools for marketing, part ii
Source: UCLA Anderson 2015 Employment Report

How Does Anderson Make Marketers Out of Its MBAs?
For starters, every Anderson student gets an introduction to foundational marketing concepts as part of one of the school’s core classes, “Marketing Management I: Principles of Marketing.” You can’t pass this class without a firm grasp of the “four Ps” and “3 Cs.” But from there students can dive into an ocean of marketing elective options, covering everything from the building blocks of the field—like price policies, consumer behavior and market research—to more nuanced and cutting-edge topics such as one-to-one marketing, entertainment marketing and web marketing analytics.

In their second year, Anderson MBA students take part in a required eight-credit Applied Management Research project (AMR) that stretches out over two quarters, with students working in teams on an original applied research assignment. Students interested in post-MBA marketing positions can choose the management field study option, getting placed with a client company where their job is to analyze marketing or competitive challenges and recommend how to address them. One recent Anderson AMR team worked closely with the Mayor’s Office to rebrand the city of Los Angeles.

Unlike Kellogg and Wharton, which both offer majors in marketing, Anderson does not have majors. That said, Anderson students can tailor their studies through a variety of tracks and certificate programs. Students who opt for the marketing track can choose from sets of electives recommended by the school for particular career paths. For example, students interested in careers in brand management might select from electives that will help them build a solid foundation in consumer psychology, financial modeling and quantitative research. Students gearing up for careers in high-tech marketing can instead focus on electives that will help them hone their understanding of network effects, rapid cost declines, information goods versus industrial goods, product bundling and versioning.

Who’s Teaching Anderson MBAs to Become Marketers?
Anderson’s marketing faculty is comprised of almost two dozen distinguished scholars who bring a range of marketing expertise, spanning from human behavior to market analytics to pricing. Professor Dominique Hanssens, who has served as the school’s faculty chair, associate dean and marketing area chair, is widely regarded for the quality of both his research and his teaching. He is best known for using data-analytic methods such as econometrics and time-series analysis to tackle strategic marketing problems—for companies including Agilent Technologies, British Telecom, Disney, Google, Hewlett Packard, Hughes, Johnson & Johnson, Mattel Toys, Mercedes, Microsoft, Schwab and Wells Fargo, among others.

Then there’s Professor Danny Oppenheimer, who approaches marketing through the lens of psychology, examining human decision-making and, in particular, what information people attend to when making decisions. Current Marketing Area Chair Aimee Drolet Rossi, meanwhile, examines the mental processes that underlie consumer decisions, with specific focus on decision-making among older consumers, as well as on the development of habits and moderation. And though married to another professor in the Anderson marketing area, Peter Rossi, she quips that there’s not much marketing discussion at the dinner table. “He’s an econometrics expert. If I pick up something he’s written, I can’t even understand it,” she joked on the Anderson faculty page. “All these equations … there’s nothing to talk about.”

The point is, Anderson’s marketing faculty offers students a range of perspectives and access to expertise and research that will serve them whichever path they ultimately choose within the field.

Outside the Anderson Marketing Classroom
The student-led Marketing Association (MA) works to help advance its members’ career searches as well as educate the larger Anderson community about the marketing field. It does this through a mix of professional and social events all year long. Kicking things off is a Fall Career Night, where interested students can learn more about potential career paths in both traditional and emerging marketing fields by networking with alumni and recruiters. Last year’s panelists included representatives from Nestlé, Mattel, Clorox, E&J Gallo Winery, General Mills, Henkel and Mars.

Throughout the year, the MA also hosts corporate presentations, a speaker series, a workshop series that helps students hone their marketing interview skills, and something called “Dinners for Eight,” which are informal dinners with Anderson alumni focused around specific topics and industries.

Anderson marketing students can also take part in the Elite Eight Brand Management Competition, the historical sponsors of which include General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Target and other firms. In this three-day competition, hosted in November 2015 at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, teams from eight leading MBA programs are presented with a strategic brand management challenge currently faced by a partner company. The teams have 30 hours to develop a structured case analysis and original recommendations, which they then present to a panel of expert judges.

New Center Could Make Anderson Go-To Source for Marketing, Data Analytics
The study of marketing at Anderson got a major shot in the arm just a year ago with the launch of a sparkling new marketing center. A $10 million gift from Anderson Professor Emeritus Donald Morrison and his wife Sherie, a distinguished professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, established the Morrison Family Center for Marketing Studies and Data Analytics in April 2015. The vision for the new center is to serve as a global resource to enable academics and practitioners to use data analytical tools to understand consumer markets and behaviors. “Marketing isn’t just about creative thinking today,” Don Morrison said in a statement about the center’s launch. “It includes more quantitative research that incorporates the art of econometrics, big data, psychology, behavioral research—all under the umbrella of ‘marketing studies.’”

Getting Anderson MBAs the Marketing Jobs They Seek
Of course, a school can have all the courses, student organizations, top faculty and fancy new centers it wants—but the true measure applicants care most about is whether or not Anderson students are finding the post-MBA jobs they want. Anderson’s Parker Career Management Center (CMC) features advisors specifically aligned with the marketing function to help students targeting marketing roles have a clear understanding of the landscape, facilitate outreach and informational interviews—including with the Anderson alumni network—and prepare for marketing interviews. These advisors also provide resume and cover letter review, as well as job offer evaluation and negotiations. First-year students are also grouped into a marketing-focused Anderson Career Team (ACT). As part of the Marketing ACT, students meet with guest speakers, share contacts, experience and motivation through the internship search process, and gain valuable guidance from second-year ACT coaches, who have emerged from the career search process with top job offers.

Though students entering marketing functions at Anderson has dipped just slightly from its all-time high of 29 percent, this year’s 28.2 percent still far outpaces any other job function Anderson students are seeking post-MBA. It also dwarfs almost every other leading business school. According to the school’s published employment report for 2015, companies including Mattel, Google, Apple and Amazon each hired between 10 and 15 Anderson students as either full-time employees or summer interns, and Fox, General Mills and Walt Disney each took between five and nine Anderson students. For an example of an alumnus putting his Anderson-honed marketing know-how to work, check out this recent profile of Hulu CEO Michael Hopkins (MBA, ’01).