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Best Business Schools for Marketing, Part II

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Also Tops in Marketing: Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business

Leaving Los Angeles behind, the next stop in our MBA marketing programs all-star tour is Bloomington, Indiana, home to Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Kelley, like Anderson, sends more of its graduates into marketing than any other function. For the Class of 2015, 27.5 percent went into marketing and sales, compared to the 25.1 percent who headed into finance and the 22.8 percent who headed into consulting.

These statistics aren’t surprising when you take a closer look at the school. Kelley has developed a solid infrastructure for students interested in marketing. At Kelley, first-year MBA students choose an “academy,” which provides additional access to specific activities, consulting projects, career coaches, company treks and mentorship opportunities related to their chosen field. Students interested in marketing can choose from several relevant academies, including the Business Marketing Academy and the Consumer Marketing Academy. Beyond being part of these academies, Kelley students can also major in marketing, which involves completing required courses in marketing performance and productivity analysis as well as marketing strategy and strategy simulation. Once these are completed, there are 17 electives from which to choose, ranging from courses like “Managing Advertising and Sales Promotion” and “Dynamic Modeling of Customer Data” to courses on digital marketing, global marketing and “Special Topics in Marketing,” which delves into functional theories related to social media including network theory, game theory and collective intelligence social media.

Another course unique to Kelley is called “Bloomington Brands (B2).” B2 is actually the brand management team for Osmocote® Plant Food, a best-selling brand for the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. But get this: It’s composed entirely of Kelley MBA students. Interested students interview for positions in the their first year and work on the brand for two semesters. While Scotts owns the trademark and provides essential business functions, Kelley students do all of the marketing—from brand strategy to consumer communications, from pricing to promotions to packaging. The real-world on-the-job training Kelley students obtain through B2 has helped propel many marketing careers. “B2’s brand managers have landed high-profile positions with Scotts, Colgate, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Kraft, Nationwide, General Mills and Kellogg,” the school reports.

The marketing faculty at Kelley, meanwhile, includes 35 professors, assistant professors and lecturers who bringing a wide range of expertise to their students. Associate Professor of Marketing Lopo Rego, who teaches the core course in marketing that all Kelley students complete, is most focused on topics like the interface between marketing and finance, customer satisfaction and brand equity. Professor Ray Burke, meanwhile, brings expertise in marketing research, shopper behavior, retailing and data mining. And then there’s Senior Lecturer Laura Buchholz, whose research interests include creativity, design, synthetic thinking, consumer behavior and social responsibility in business.

Marketing Beyond the Classroom at Kelley
The Kelley Marketing Club (KMC) is the largest student club at the business school. Beyond a traditional array of offerings designed to help provide marketing students with access to recruiters and to prepare those students for interviews, the KMC also puts on a range of unique activities throughout the year, including a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Speaker Series, a Super Bowl Ad Analysis and something called the Marketing Madness Competition.

best business schools for marketing, part ii
Source: Kelley School of Business 2015 Employment Report

Kelley is also home to the Center for Brand Leadership, which nurtures partnerships with leading corporations and publishes path-breaking brand management research. Its current corporate sponsors include Nestlé USA, Target, Land O’Lakes, Scotts, Procter & Gamble, ConAgra, Kraft, Whirlpool, Eli Lilly, General Mills, and  Bloomington Brands. Clinical Professor of Marketing Jonlee Andrews, who directs Kelley’s Consumer Marketing Academy, also serves on the center’s faculty.

In terms of helping Kelley graduates secure post-MBA marketing roles, Graduate Career Services counts associate directors focused on each consumer marketing and business marketing. The school’s most recent employment report reveals that top hiring firms in 2015 included 3M, ConAgra, Dow Chemical, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé, Proctor and Gamble and Target. The median base salary for the 27.5 percent of Kelley students who accepted marketing positions was $102,474, with an average signing bonus of $20,500.