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Best Business Schools for Marketing, Part II

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Michigan for Marketing? Ross School of Business Says Yes

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business also sends a healthy slice of its graduates into marketing roles—21.4 percent according to the school’s 2015 Employment Report. Ross has a long tradition of combining academic learning with hands-on experience, and this is very much true of how it teaches marketing.

All Ross first-year students take “Marketing Management” during the second half of the fall term, which approaches marketing decision-making by focusing first on organizations’ goals and abilities. From there, students learn how organizations set marketing objectives by considering competitors and current and potential customers. When it comes to making decisions about distribution, pricing, products, promotion and services, Ross students analyze the current situation, pinpoint possible challenges and come up with solutions to create or maintain a competitive advantage. Because it’s Ross, after all, students are expected to be hands on—developing cases in their areas of interest and presenting them during in-class case sessions. The end result: Students emerge from this class with the tools they need to analyze marketing programs and make marketing decisions.

Ross Puts Marketing on the MAP
Ross’s signature Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP)—a seven-week requirement of the core curriculum—also has particular value for marketing students. Student teams are paired with companies in the United States and abroad to complete a significant consulting assignment. The teams may work for Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs or nonprofits on projects related to almost any area of business. Students interested in marketing can choose to work with consumer goods and retail companies or to work on a marketing project with a firm in another industry.

Recent MAP challenges have included a team of students performing a landscape assessment of consumer goods products in Brazil to determine greatest growth potential for Procter & Gamble; another team working in White Plains to develop a strategic business plan to help Pepsi Co. generate new, alternative revenue streams; and student teams working in Chicago, Miami, Chile, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic to identify market opportunities for consumer product goods for Kraft Foods Group.

Ross doesn’t offer formal majors, but students can complete varied courses drawn from the marketing department’s full- and half-term courses. Among them: “Sensory Marketing,” “Social Marketing,” “New Product Innovation and Management” and “Marketing Research Design and Analysis.”

Faculty Experts at Ross
The more than 25 professors and lecturers that make up the Ross marketing department conduct research on topics such as consumer self-control, pricing and promotion and the strategy of brand building. The chair of the department, Puneet Manchanda, is best known for his research in building empirical models to solve strategic marketing problems such as resource allocation, launch planning, word-of-mouth marketing and customer relationship management (CRM). Most recently, he has worked on marketing strategy problems in social media confronting the pharmaceutical, hi-technology, gaming, and insurance industries. Several Ross faculty members bring experience as former marketing executives to the classroom; other faculty members are actively involved in current marketing practice through their private consulting projects.

Special Programs and Centers Focused on Marketing at Ross
Ross’s marketing department maintains affiliations with several research centers and initiatives at the University of Michigan, including the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and the Yaffe Center for Persuasive Communication. Claes Fornell, a Ross professor of business administration, helped found the ACSI, an economic indicator that gauges customer satisfaction with the quality of products and services available to consumers. Its readings are used by more than 230 companies across 47 industries and 10 economic sectors. In addition to measuring quality from the customers’ perspective, the ACSI also assesses the causes and ramifications of customer satisfaction. Academic researchers also utilize the ACSI’s data in studying customer satisfaction dynamics.

Students interested in marketing careers may draw on the resources of the Yaffe Center for Persuasive Communication, which supports research and teaching on persuasive communication. Current events and conferences put on by the center focus on strategic brand management, social media and online marketing.

Marketing Beyond the Classroom at Ross
With more than 300 student members, the Ross Marketing Club is one of the school’s largest organizations. Its main focus is on preparing its members for careers in brand management and for marketing-focused positions in healthcare, technology, consulting and other industries. To this end, the club hosts guest speakers, information sessions, recruiting preparation activities, “Day in the Life” trips to company headquarters and other activities.

One of the Marketing Club’s largest and most anticipated annual events is the Marketing Symposium, featuring panels, breakout sessions, industry speakers and a career fair. The 2015 symposium, entitled “Big Data: Leveraging Constant Content for Marketing,” featured Clive Sirkin, Kimberly-Clark Corporation chief marketing officer, as one of its keynote speakers. Companies sponsoring the 2015 symposium included Kimberly-Clark, Land O’Lakes, Mars, Dow, Walmart, and SC Johnson, among many others.

In addition, the Ross Luxury Goods & Retail Club (LGR) serves students interested in marketing positions within the retail and luxury industries. The club focuses on apparel, non-apparel, mass merchandising, retail consulting, retail manufacturing and luxury retailing, and prepares members for all functions within these sectors. The club’s event list includes alumni networking opportunities, guest speakers, corporate presentations and company visits.

Finally, Ross marketing students also benefit from the Marketing Lab, a student-led initiative designed to prepare students for real-world marketing careers by giving them access to important data tools to perform analysis of in-market data. The tools are the Nielsen point-of-sale scanner data and Tracx social media listening analytics tool. The school’s website boasts that Ross is the only business school with access to these tools.

Getting Ross Students into Marketing Roles
Through Ross Career Services (RCS), Ross students have access to individual counseling as well as workshops, formal recruiting opportunities. In addition, the school’s Thursday evening Happy Hours provide a more casual venue for networking with recruiters.

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

Top firms hiring Ross students for marketing roles are spread across CPG firms, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, tech companies and retail companies. Among them: Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Medtronic, Abbott Laboratories, Amazon, Google, Target and Exxon Mobile.
According to the school’s published employment figures, the median starting salary for the 21.4 percent of the Ross Class of 2015 that went into marketing was $105,000. Of those, 87.8 percent also reported a median signing bonus of $25,000 and another 10 percent reported other median compensation of $10,500.

As you can see, top MBA programs for marketing can be found in all corners of the United States, from the East Coast to the West and several points in between. Though we haven’t spotlighted them here, UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, UT’s McCombs School of Business, and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business also place high numbers of its graduates into marketing positions. Haas sent 14.4 percent of the Class of 2015 into marketing roles; McCombs last year sent 15 percent of its class into either brand and product management or other marketing and Fuqua placed 16 percent of its graduates in marketing roles. And where’s there’s strong student interest, you can bet that investment in faculty and curriculum follows.

And so, the good news for the prospective marketers among you is that your options are many!

In case you missed it: Best Business Schools for Marketing: Part I