As long as businesses exist, so too shall marketing and the need for fresh ideas from marketing professionals. After researching more than 50 undergraduate marketing programs, we’ve identified the top 10 universities who offer everything a marketing major needs to develop that competitive edge, drive online and offline sales, build and maintain a brand, and secure competitive positions for businesses around the world. These universities deliver on both sides of today’s marketing coin, teaching students traditional strategy and modern analytical skills, perfect for slaying marketing objectives in any arena.
[table class=’table table-striped’]
1,University of Pennsylvania,Wharton School
3,Saint Joseph’s University,Haub School of Business
4,New York University,Stern School of Business
5,University of Michigan – Ann Arbor,Ross School of Business
6,University of Texas at Austin,McCombs School of Business
7,University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill,Kenan-Flagler Business School
8,Georgetown University,McDonough School of Business
9,Emory University,Goizueta Business School
10,Indiana University – Bloomington,Kelley School of Business
Hoo-hoo-hoosiers! Get your chant on at this NCAA powerhouse and dive into cutting-edge courses to launch your marketing career. With more than 30,000 undergraduates, Indiana University [icon class=’fa-external-link’] is a huge public research university in Bloomington, IN with one of the most progressive marketing programs available. The school completely overhauls its marketing program every 5 to 10 years to make sure the entire department stays current. Talk about keeping up with the Joneses.
[udcquote author=”Dr. H. Shanker Krishnan, professor and chairperson of marketing in the Kelley School of Business”]Over the last few years especially, we have started gearing our program toward various careers. In terms of advising services, [advisers might say] ‘Oh you’re really interested in marketing intelligence! Here are the four courses you absolutely have to take and here are the experiences we think will be useful for you when you get out of here. [/udcquote]
Marketing students have two major degree options, with a third coming this Fall. Currently, students in the Kelley School of Business [icon class=’fa-external-link’] can earn a Bachelor’s in Business with concentrations in Marketing or Professional Sales. Coming this Fall, IU will also offer a co-major in digital marketing and social media. Fans of advertising can alternatively pursue a B.A. in Media with a concentration in Media Advertising.
The marketing department offers a mix of the analytical, data-driven side of marketing along with the more creative side, and the curriculum requires courses from both sides. In the required Marketing Strategy Simulation class, for example, marketing students use a simulation to manage a brand in teams, reviewing all the numbers to better prepare for brand management responsibilities in the real world.
Away from the computer lab, IU offers a unique “Bloomington Brands” work-study program for both marketing undergrads and MBA students through its partnership with the company Scotts Miracle-Gro. Kelley also runs two workshops reserved for the top marketing majors, driving undergrads to reach for recognition as part of IU’s crème de la crème. One workshop is a Professional Sales Workshop that gets students ready for careers in sales and puts them in touch with interested companies. Second is the Corporate Retailing Workshop, where companies like Macy’s come in and work with marketing students directly.
Both workshops provide small-group experiences with 20 to 25 hand-picked students in each workshop. Companies work on a project with them, and students deeply understand their particular industry once they have completed the workshop. Because they can witness first-hand the students’ work ethic and knowledge, the participating companies frequently interview these students for internships and jobs after graduation. By the end of their junior year, workshop students typically receive two to three job offers, making Indiana one of the best universities for launching your marketing career.
Soar as high as an Emory Eagle by pursuing your marketing degree at Emory University [icon class=’fa-external-link’] in urban Atlanta, GA. Emory is a private research university with a beautiful tree-filled campus, a thriving Greek life (about 30% of the student population), and a rock solid undergraduate marketing program that emphasizes experiential learning. Here, you’ll sink your talons into leading solutions for real-world marketing challenges, preparing you to fly alongside the best in the marketing field.
Because Emory is located in a major metro area among several leading Fortune 500 companies, marketing professors are able to bring in excellent practitioners to help showcase the latest tools being used in the industry.
[udcquote author=”Dr. Ed W. Leonard, area coordinator for the marketing faculty and associate professor in the Goizueta Business School”]Our goal is for the students to develop an appreciation of how marketing is changing but also to learn the traditional principles that remain core in building high-performing marketing programs. …Our cutting-edge content combined with experiential learning activities provides our Goizueta students a depth of learning that only comes from applying concepts in real-world situations. We want our Emory students to be capable of critical thinking that permits them to analyze marketing situations and find an actionable problem to solve. Then our students learn how to develop appropriate goals, craft strategies, and develop the tactics to achieve workable and effective solutions. [/udcquote]
Marketing majors at Emory earn their Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with an emphasis in Marketing through the Goizueta Business School [icon class=’fa-external-link’]. Many courses focus on analyzing problems using real data sets. Analytics courses, for example, use tools like R and advanced Excel analysis, while the professors teaching these classes are trained in marketing analytics. Other marketing classes utilize exercises to show students how such analysis can expand their understanding of consumers and help them develop and evaluate actionable options for firms.
Another big plus for Emory marketing majors are the school’s inspiring out-of-class pathways to success. The Goizueta Marketing Club, recruiters, and alumni give students exposure to the wide variety of careers available in marketing, and the Marketing Club has even sponsored several marketing case competitions over the past couple of years. Goizueta also runs a unique marketing trek in New York each January where students visit companies (such as advertising agencies, digital agencies, and retail/marketing departments within companies) to observe a variety of marketing functions.
Shape your own marketing education at Georgetown University [icon class=’fa-external-link’], while networking with marketing pros who bring in perspectives from all over the world. Located in Washington, D.C., this private research university offers a culture reflective of the government it sits among — fast-paced, competitive, diverse, and exceptionally democratic, allowing students to take control of their college experience. If you’re looking for a say, Georgetown is the school where you can have it your way.
Marketing majors get hands-on with marketing the same way they can get hands-on with their overall college experience. Students typically pursue a standard B.S. in Business Administration (BSBA) with a concentration in Marketing through the McDonough School of Business [icon class=’fa-external-link’]. However, they also have the option of entering a 5-year degree program that combines the BSBA in Marketing with a Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS). All marketing undergrads have several industry-specific electives to choose from, including Advertising and PR Management, Sports Marketing, Global Retail Marketing, and Luxury Marketing.
[udcquote author=”Dr. Rebecca Hamilton, McDonough’s area coordinator for the Marketing Department, professor of marketing, and the Michael and Robin Psaros Endowed Chair in Business Administration”]These half-semester industry-specific elective courses are a real differentiator for Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, because they are designed with the purpose of enabling students to see how the tools and frameworks they learned in the conceptual courses apply to specific industries. [/udcquote]
Marketing courses in McDonough prepare students by focusing on real-world marketing cases. For example, in the core marketing class, Principles of Marketing, students work in groups to identify an organization facing a business challenge and then create a detailed marketing plan explaining how the organization should respond and why. To emphasize the importance of relying on data rather than intuition, students provide empirical support for their marketing plans using real-world data.
This Principles of Marketing course notably integrates Google AdWords into the curriculum. Using AdWords, students learn how to create online ads that are positioned correctly for their target market, and how to measure the ads’ success. Professors also provide AdWords cases and exercises to help students understand the importance of matching campaign objectives (awareness, leads, sales, and profits) to actual key performance indicators (impressions, clicks, conversions, and costs). Finally, students take the Google Adwords Fundamental Exam offered through Google to prove their hands-on experience with a skill that employers are looking for. It’s an automatic resume booster.
[udcquote author=”Dr. Rebecca Hamilton, McDonough’s area coordinator for the Marketing Department, professor of marketing, and the Michael and Robin Psaros Endowed Chair in Business Administration”]Having such a metric-oriented view, combined with knowledge of how online marketing works, is atypical for business sophomores. Many students have been able to leverage that knowledge to obtain not only internships but also eventually full-time positions in the online marketing area. [/udcquote]
Outside the classroom, Georgetown marketing students pursue a variety of study abroad and global experience programs to cultivate skills to succeed in global business. Of particular relevance to marketing students is the Global Business Experience, a three-credit class that includes a one-week foreign residency. This class integrates students from all business disciplines to work together in teams on a consulting project for various international companies. Like its surrounding city and the professionals within, Georgetown gives marketing students a truly diverse set of experiences, sending them out into the industry with a brainstorm of ideas they can throw at any marketing challenge.
Become a Tar Heel for life and get hands-on with online marketing when you earn your marketing degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill [icon class=’fa-external-link’]. Known as UNC or Carolina, this “Public Ivy” research university is the pride and joy of every North Cackalacky college sports enthusiast, and its academic programs are just as well-reputed.
UNC’s Marketing Department in the Kenan-Flagler Business School [icon class=’fa-external-link’] offers marketing undergrads a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis either in Marketing Management or Sales. If advertising is your calling, you can alternatively opt for a B.A. in Media and Journalism with an Advertising specialization.
[udcquote author=”Dr. Shijie Lu, assistant professor of Marketing in the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School”]To prepare students to succeed as future digital marketers, we include both the science and art aspects of digital marketing in our Undergraduate Business Program. On the strategy side, we cover the best SEO practices suggested by Google. We also introduced a unifying framework of social media marketing strategy and how to exploit online word-of-mouth for brand promotion. [/udcquote]
UNC is the place to be if you’re fired up by online marketing strategy and analytics software. In the digital marketing class, for example, students learn how to use Google Analytics and receive a full semester of access to Spyfu, a leading paid keyword tool in the SEO and paid search world. Students also learn how to use social network analysis tools, like NodeXL, to find the best brand ambassadors in a social network. No need to go and follow 300 new users for market research! Finally, UNC partners with Hootsuite, a social media management platform, to teach students how to effectively run an integrated social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and other networks.
Opportunities outside the classroom are just as popular. UNC’s Digital Marketing Bootcamp gives students a better understanding of the field and exposure to several key marketing employers. Students who want to get more hands-on also get the chance in marketing case competitions, as well as team consulting projects with real firms through UNC’s STAR or STAR Global Programs. And adventurers can get their out-of-town experience through the GLOBE Program, which offers immersive business study abroad opportunities, perfect for the budding international marketing pro.
Throw on your shorts and flip-flops, cheer on the Longhorns, and proudly sing the “Texas Fight” song during your time as a marketing major at the enormous, fun-loving flagship institution of the University of Texas System. UT Austin [icon class=’fa-external-link’] is a public research university known for its digitally pioneering undergraduate marketing program as well as its thriving social scene. You’ll come for the good old-fashioned festivities but stay for the state-of-the-art educational opportunities.
UT Austin students are introduced to the latest marketing trends and techniques, especially in the online domain. Not only was Austin the first university in the world to offer an internet advertising class in 1995, it was also named one of IAB’s Top 8 Digital U.S. Universities in 2013.
[udcquote author=”Dr. Jade DeKinder, assistant professor in UT Austin’s McCombs Marketing Department and director of the Texas Master of Science in Marketing Program”]We are actively responding to the market’s needs to bring cutting-edge technologies into the curriculum. Some examples of this include our brand new Marketing Analytics I and Marketing Analytics II courses. In these courses, students are trained not only in Excel but also in the programming language R as well as data visualization techniques such as Tableau and Spotfire and Google Analytics. [/udcquote]
Marketing majors at UT Austin earn their Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing through the top-notch McCombs School of Business [icon class=’fa-external-link’]. But you could also opt for a B.S. in Advertising through the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations.
[udcquote author=”Dr. Wayne Hoyer, marketing professor and chair of the McCombs Marketing Department”]Our faculty have always been innovative in introducing new learning methods into the classroom. Social media has been integrated throughout our curriculum. We have also added two new courses, one in consumer behavior on the Internet and another on social media data analytics. [/udcquote]
Students feeling exceptionally driven can exercise their marketing skills beyond class hours. The on-campus Supply Chain Management Center invites marketing undergrads to compete in the McCombs Undergraduate Supply Chain Case Competition, requiring teams to analyze a real-world supply chain issue and develop innovative solutions.
If you’d like to test the international waters with your marketing career, the McCombs BBA International program maintains partnerships with 25 countries that allow undergraduate marketing students to explore business practices abroad and make international connections that can lead to careers. For shorter time commitments, the BE Global program focuses on international internships at companies like Accenture, L’Oreal, NASA, Nike, Texas Instruments, and HomeAway.
Study marketing from every angle by attending the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor [icon class=’fa-external-link’], one of the top public research universities in the country. Offering an outstanding multidisciplinary approach and drawing on the school’s solid foundation in research, the undergraduate marketing program at U-M brings in concepts from every related department, from engineering, economics, and statistics to psychology and neuroscience. You’ll also get the chance to feel bursting school spirit as the Michigan Wolverines show off their might through the NCAA’s Big Ten Conference.
Marketing students at Michigan typically pursue their Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing through the Ross School of Business [icon class=’fa-external-link’]. Ross students can optionally design a custom program, or go after a dual degree with the BBA in Marketing and a second major. Curriculum covers today’s top issues in marketing, including Internet commerce, data analytics, social media, and sensory marketing, among others. Notable elective courses, for example, include Retail Marketing Management, Pricing, Digital Marketing, and Designing Persuasive Communication.
Greeted by a huge selection of student organizations, U-M marketing undergrads will find no shortage of extracurricular opportunities to exercise their marketing skills and network with peers and professionals in the field. The BBA Marketing Club helps students connect with companies and find internships. The Entertainment + Media Club facilitates careers in the entertainment and media world and organizes annual trips to firms in New York and Los Angeles. The Ross Retail Club (RRC) allows students to explore merchandising, supply chain management, and general marketing in the fields of mass merchandising, retail consulting and manufacturing, luxury and apparel retailing, and consumer-packaged-goods (CPG). And finally, the B2B Club welcomes students who want to dive into business-to-business marketing careers. Whatever your marketing passion may be, Michigan has a place for you to chase it.
Another benefit to earning your marketing degree at Michigan is gaining access to the Yaffe Center for Persuasive Communication. The center hosts marketing events (such as the Digital Marketing Workshop) that bring in top marketing professionals, researchers, and scholars to discuss developments in the use of persuasion.
Lastly, Michigan provides marketing students with outstanding opportunities for studying abroad. Global immersion courses, for example, allow students to travel abroad for two to three weeks to observe how business is conducted outside of the United States. Educational activities focus on business by including visits to local companies as well as meet-and-greets with local business executives.
The international world of marketing opens at your feet when you attend New York University [icon class=’fa-external-link’]. Sprawling across the Big Apple, NYU is a not-so-small microcosm of New York City itself, offering a fast-paced, cutthroat marketing program that mirrors the real, globalized business world. Here at this private research university, marketing students learn to anticipate competitor entry, become proactive with strategic responses, and develop sustainable competitive advantages.
[udcquote author=”Priya Raghubir, professor and chair of NYU’s Marketing Department in the Stern School of Business”][Our] location within New York City and our Global Network are truly the two factors that differentiate our program from that of other schools. New York City [is] a hub for marketing and advertising, and as such there is ample opportunity for students to find internships or careers. [/udcquote]
NYU offers two major marketing programs, a B.S. in Marketing in the Stern School [icon class=’fa-external-link’] and a B.S. in Marketing Analytics in the School of Professional Studies. Students also have access to a cross-school minor in the Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology, as well as specialized tracks in Digital Marketing and Luxury Marketing.
Each program gears up marketing students to take on the whole world. The university’s unique “Global Network” offers degree-granting campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai, and also operates 11 global academic centers and research programs. About one third of marketing undergrads take their Introductory Marketing class during a semester-long Study Away program. And who doesn’t like to travel?
Furthermore, each spring break, all junior-level students travel to one of three destinations (South America, Europe, or Asia) as part of the International Studies Program (ISP), to immerse themselves in their host country’s life and business practices. Students visit local companies and work in groups on strategy projects, culminating in a competition of three finalists (one from each destination) who present their solutions to a panel of judges.
[udcquote author=”Priya Raghubir, professor and chair of NYU’s Marketing Department in the Stern School of Business”]A unique-to-Stern experience, marketing students often rate [this] as one of the highlights of their Stern education. [/udcquote]
Back in New York, Stern’s undergraduate marketing club called the “Marketing Society” promotes student awareness of current issues in the marketing field, while exposing them to professional events. The Society’s annual Marketing Mix conference brings together a wide range of marketing professionals from top organizations such as Twitter, Unilever, McCann, and Accenture. Additional benefits marketing students find at NYU include access to the Center for Business Analytics, the Professional in Residence (PiR) program that brings in marketing professionals to meet with students one-on-one, and the Case Walk-Through Series (CWS), where marketing industry leaders come to campus to walk students through a real-world client case.
Thanks to networking opportunities such as these, NYU marketing students have interned or landed careers at top companies like ABC, DoSomething.org, NBC Universal, Nielsen, and PepsiCo. And that list doesn’t even include the small yet mighty start-ups where plenty more NYU marketing grads are thriving.
Looking for a life-changing, soul-stretching education in marketing? Meet Saint Joe, your marketing sage. Centered around the Roman Catholic Jesuit doctrine of “cura personalis” (“care for the whole person”), Saint Joseph’s University [icon class=’fa-external-link’] is committed to helping students live and learn better in every way. This small private university in Philadelphia, PA offers an exceptional number of specialized marketing degrees, backed by faculty dedicated to bringing cutting-edge strategy into the classroom.
Through the Haub School of Business [icon class=’fa-external-link’], undergrad marketing students can choose from six different degree programs:
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing
- Bachelor of Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Marketing
- Bachelor of Marketing
- Bachelor of Food Marketing
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Entertainment Marketing
- Bachelor of Sports Marketing
Students can also choose from minors in marketing, sports marketing, entertainment marketing, the music industry, advertising and promotions, and communications. Talk about a marketing buffet.
[udcquote author=”Dr. Natalie T. Wood, chair of the Marketing Department and associate professor of marketing”]Our classes are academically rigorous. Students are challenged every day to think critically and to apply what they are learning to real-world issues, often by working with real companies. We don’t believe in teaching in silos whereby certain topics, [such as] social media, are only taught in one class. Instead, wherever possible, we infuse these topics into our core curriculum and then provide additional opportunities for students to learn more by taking electives. [/udcquote]
Technologies, such as marketing simulations, and analytical tools like Tableau (a data visualization tool) are integrated into the courses. Saint Joe’s also offers a shadow program that allows students to shadow a marketing professional at a company for a day. Many students complete two internships before graduation, helping them stand out when the time comes to start a career. Better yet, a co-op program lets students complete one year of full-time marketing work while completing their degree.
And networking opportunities don’t end there for marketing majors. The Haub School’s Marketing Department frequently brings industry guest speakers into classrooms and takes students on-site to observe businesses first-hand. Marketing programs are also bolstered by on-campus initiatives, such as the Academy of Food Marketing and “Study Tour” opportunities in various countries. With so many ways to grow in marketing, Saint Joe’s grads are sure to springboard high off campus into fulfilling marketing careers.
Immerse yourself in the world of business at Bentley University [icon class=’fa-external-link’], a business-only school featuring a top-notch undergraduate marketing program as part of its specialized education model. Located just west of Boston in Waltham, MA, this small, private B-school welcomes students with its beautiful campus and encourages educational excellence through unusually small class sizes. And because Bentley does only one thing, it does that one thing incredibly well.
[udcquote author=”Ian Cross, marketing professor at Bentley and the director of Bentley’s Center for Marketing Technology (CMT)”]Our courses recognize the way marketing is used and important in the real world…so [courses] have real-world business involvement. We have an advisory board that keeps us anchored in the real world. [/udcquote]
Marketing undergrads at Bentley have two degree options, a B.S. in Marketing or a B.S. in Professional Sales. Students can choose from a variety of unique elective courses, including Business-to-Business Marketing and Consumer Behavior.
[udcquote author=”Ian Cross, marketing professor at Bentley and the director of Bentley’s Center for Marketing Technology (CMT)”]Most of the faculty in the marketing department have business experience…so we can work with companies and products to give students both a business-to-business and a business-to-consumer real-world experience. The added piece to this is that many of these experiences with companies in the classroom lead to internships. [/udcquote]
The curriculum introduces students to every aspect of marketing, including standard marketing responsibilities (market research, advertising, product development and promotion, and social media, among others), the socio-political navigational skills required to build and maintain relationships, and cutting-edge technologies.
[udcquote author=”Ian Cross, marketing professor at Bentley and the director of Bentley’s Center for Marketing Technology (CMT)”]At the basic level, we have a number of simulation programs, especially in the international course. We are a premier partner with HubSpot. We’re one of the leading schools in the country developing courses with HubSpot…All students take the HubSpot Inbound [Marketing] Certification and use the HubSpot platform to create an inbound campaign for real companies…We’re also rolling the HubSpot CRM into our program. We also use social listening tools; we use Sysomos. We encourage students to use Google Analytics. And we have SalesForce.com as part of our curriculum. [/udcquote]
This comprehensive, in-depth approach to marketing education is reinforced by high-tech campus facilities, particularly the Center for Marketing Technology (CMT). Here, students practice skills learned in the classroom by analyzing real business challenges experienced by Bentley’s corporate partners (including Apple, Microsoft, Converse, Puma, and Ford, among others) and then presenting applicable solutions.
Promoted as an “on-campus digital playground,” the Center lives up to its hype, offering a data analytics lab that gives students access to a plethora of cutting-edge software, such as the Qualtrics Insight Platform, which facilitates market research by helping students gather customer and employee insights, as well as IBM’s SPSS predictive analytics software, and MediaMark Reporter (MRI), a database of information about brand audiences, product usage, and other consumer data used to identify the demographics of target markets. Additionally, the Center provides a SMART classroom with analytics technology as well as a high-tech audio/video system and camera. There is even a focus group area with observation rooms featuring one-way mirrors.
Enriching these educational experiences, Bentley encourages its students to participate in various competitions. Marketing students benefit from the Price Chopper Ultimate Innovation Competition, which requires teams to develop an original business concept for a real supermarket retailer in the region and present it to the company’s senior executives. The marketing student’s experience at Bentley is further strengthened by the User Experience Center, the Bentley Marketing Association, the Corporate Immersion Institute, and a huge number of study abroad opportunities that focus specifically on business.
Fill your marketing toolbox with skills from every department at the University of Pennsylvania [icon class=’fa-external-link’]. With the lowest acceptance rate at 12% and a pedestal position as the only true private Ivy on our list, “Penn” is well worth the rigorous workload it places on marketing majors. Founded in 1881 by Benjamin Franklin, this historic Philadelphia college was one of the first to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to higher education. Today, Penn is still known for its cross-departmental programs, even boasting a unique “One University” policy that gives undergrads access to classes in any undergraduate or grad program they wish, no matter their major.
The undergraduate marketing program in Penn’s Wharton School [icon class=’fa-external-link’] (the world’s first collegiate business school) follows the spirit of multidisciplinary education by offering a B.S. in Economics with various marketing specializations, including Marketing & Operations Management, Marketing & Communication, and Retailing. Undergrads get a lot of similar content to Penn’s top-ranked, data-driven graduate marketing program and also have access to graduate mentors through the MBA mentoring program.
[udcquote author=”Dr. Keith Niedermeier, director and adjunct professor for the Wharton Business School’s Undergraduate Marketing Program”]We have a core focus on data here, so this is embedded in all of our classes. From the very first class, students do a simulation where they’re doing marketing, analyzing segmentation data, and making consumer brand decisions. [/udcquote]
Outside of the classroom, marketing students can take advantage of Wharton’s Baker Retailing Center to focus on retail marketing. Penn also houses the Wharton Future of Advertising Program to help students learn about and shape their industry’s future, as well as an outstanding American Marketing Association (AMA) chapter, called MUSE. For the last three years, MUSE has been the AMA chapter of the year. That club along with Wharton’s research centers (like the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative), holds two major marketing conferences every year, bringing in top academics and companies specifically for the benefit of marketing undergrads.
You’ve probably heard of wildly successful Wharton grads like Elon Musk and presidential candidate, Donald Trump, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that a huge strength for Wharton is its incredible alumni network and their ability to help grads find internships and jobs. Recently, Wharton sent a plethora of marketing grads to San Francisco to work at Google, DropBox, Instagram, Facebook, and other tech firms.