MBA or a Certificate in Digital Marketing: Which do you need for your career?
When marketing professionals want to further their education while continuing to work, there are a few different approaches to take. Two of the most common paths are an MBA or a certificate in digital marketing. While these routes to higher education are not interchangeable, they can both be beneficial depending upon the situation and the individual.
Up front, there are some very obvious differences between these two options.
An MBA program can be completed online or in-person usually over the course of two years. An MBA in Digital Marketing will include education on a variety of general business administration topics in addition to required courses in digital marketing.
There are many certificate courses available in the digital marketing sphere as well, ranging in time commitments from one month to about six months. They can also be done online or in-person.
But there are deeper differences as well.
Certificate programs are for professionals who want to brush up on their skills or take an introductory-level course to learn about a new subject, but they’re not comparable to an MBA program. Instead, they are a great addition to an already established foundation of marketing knowledge and can provide insight into key digital marketing disciplines like email, Google ads, SEO, and more.
Ultimately, an MBA in Digital Marketing offers a more in-depth education on all aspects of business and marketing and can open up more leadership opportunities than a digital marketing certification program.
Here are a few of the things you should consider when deciding which option— an MBA in Digital Marketing or a digital marketing certificate—is the right choice for you.
1. Do you have previous marketing experience?
Unlike a Master of Science in Marketing, you don’t have to have a Bachelor’s or even previous experience in the marketing industry to get an MBA in Digital Marketing. It’s an option for anyone who is interested in entering the marketing field.
A certificate in digital marketing is a narrowly defined program aimed at a limited knowledge set and is beneficial for someone who wants to brush up on skills and knowledge they already have or stay current with the changes in digital marketing. But for someone new to the field, it won’t offer enough of the foundational business, leadership, and strategic knowledge that you need to fully propel your career growth.
Job demand in the digital marketing industry is expected to grow 10% by 2026, and with that growth, salaries and opportunities will grow too.
People who are interested in getting into the digital marketing field—whether it’s through a career change or after graduating from their BA program—will benefit the most from an MBA in Digital Marketing. Those who are already in the marketing field can become more competitive when they’ve taken advantage of additional certificate programs to keep their knowledge up to date or earn industry-specific certifications.
2. Do you already have a foundational knowledge?
Digital marketing certifications are becoming more popular for people who are already a part of the industry. Marketing changes so quickly, especially when it comes to social media and digital marketing, and a certificate gives you the opportunity to bring your current knowledge up to date. Some certifications take as little as four weeks and can be an effective, quick refresher.
An MBA in Digital Marketing will give you the foundational knowledge you need if you’re new to the industry. Additionally, you’ll learn about management, accounting, corporate decision making, market analysis, and more. You’ll learn about digital marketing and how to apply that knowledge in the context of a business environment.
3. Are you looking for a chance to build a professional network?
One of the biggest benefits of an MBA is the chance to network with your cohort, professors, and alumni. Those connections can help you find jobs and professional opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available to you.
A marketing certificate can’t always offer the same benefit, both because the time spent in a certificate program is so much shorter and because the coursework doesn’t offer the same amount of group learning.
And in an MBA program, you’ll get to know your professors more closely and be able to ask them for references and mentoring as you transition from school to the professional world. Having the guidance of people with so much first-hand knowledge of the industry is invaluable for a recent grad.
4. What’s the difference in reputation?
One of the biggest differences in these two options is the kinds of organizations that offer them.
For an MBA, you would attend a university, either online or in person. Universities generally have a long, established history, in addition to having professors who have either academic or industry backgrounds and years of experience. A university is more prepared to offer a foundational education with a breadth of subjects offered that a certificate wouldn’t cover.
In contrast, certifications are usually offered by businesses or organizations focused on the industries they’re a part of. While this makes them more agile and able to keep up with certain industry trends, it’s not the same as an MBA from an accredited university.
Make the right choice for you.
The most important action you can take is picking the option that works best for your personal situation and long-term goals. The right choice could be either an MBA in Digital Marketing or a digital marketing certificate depending on your previous experience, your professional network (or lack thereof), and the knowledge base that you already have.
If you’re looking for an MBA program that will help you advance your career or shift gears into digital marketing, the online MBA in Digital Marketing at Montclair University could be the right choice for you. Visit our program’s website today to learn more about the opportunities available and how to apply.
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