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Are Digital Marketing Schools Worth the Work?

Are Digital Marketing Schools Worth the Work?

This article is highly relevant for any reader of this blog–that is, anyone considering a school with a digital marketing program. It examines the challenges faced by members of a new academic field, which arise within universities and in the job market beyond. The field has grown and evolved by leaps and bounds since the article was written in 2009, but the problems are far from solved for undergrads and graduates alike.

On top of the author’s analysis, she points out that digital is “woefully under-represented in academia”–that is, people aren’t choosing to major in it. Some progress has been made on this issue, as enrollment in the programs has increased in the last three years, but numerous concerns remain. Is the still-small and admittedly specialized field reflective of an unimpressive job market? Are grads narrowing their options too much by choosing not to go with the broader-reaching and better-understood degree in regular old marketing? Will they need to spend an extra semester slugging through computer science and IT courses?

I’m just finishing a digital course on Tuesday. While I’m no expert and I don’t have a job in the field, I can at least offer my perspective. Having attended talks staffed by national companies (a top achiever in their industry), I’ve seen questions answered quickly and confidently–but my professor has hinted that the company representatives didn’t really demonstrate a thorough understand of what they were doing.

This is critical because the internet and the mobile network offer the unprecedented opportunity to bring consumers to the point of sale anywhere that they might access the internet–so, well, anywhere. This market can only demand increasing numbers of jobs in the field as the internet becomes even more integrated with our lives in the coming decades. Choosing the degree over one in marketing is done for the same reasons students are generally advised against general business–if you’re going to get a degree, get it in something, say employers.

The author also describes the state of the programs (many in their first years) in 2009, discussing the substandard quality of education and outdated teaching methods of professors often less qualified to work in the field than their students. I can’t comment on this, because, as I’ve been trying to demonstrate all these weeks, the University of Michigan-Dearborn really is a top school to get a degree in digital marketing. I have been provided with a complex understanding of the largest slices of the pie of knowledge, and applied them throughout the semester. Particularly now, after taking four degree requirements in four months, I have nothing to say of my professors at the close of the semester. I feel restless to get out of the classroom–before the market changes too fast.

Careers in School: The iLabs Program at UM-Dearborn

The University of Michigan-Dearborn’s College of Business, a top school in the newly-developing digital marketing field, offers a unique career opportunity to students before they get their degrees. This is carried out through the school’s iLabs program, known colloquially as the school’s “front door,” which offers research, information technology, and marketing services to clients who can purchase the expertise of the University and its best and brightest. Led by Professor Tim Davis, iLabs offers a wealth of research data to clients including the state of Michigan.

Business climate studies have been presented to Michigan governors by Professor Davis and his team, offering solutions on keeping talent and entrepreneurship in Michigan–the only state in the Union to feel a population decrease in the last decade. Marketing research is a common assignment for the iLabs crew, which serves clients across the metropolitan area. This is a top program for COB students and both a great honor and a great resumé booster.

iLabs has its own site for those interested in making contact. The program is always well-staffed, as Professor Davis tours the curriculum each semester looking for students who might not have the time to go through the internship program but still want real-world experience to tell future bosses about. The class is among the school’s crown jewels, and consistently draws the attention of potential employers to the University.