Marketing executive

Is an MBA in Marketing a Good Choice?

An MBA in Marketing is a rising star on many students’ career checklist. If you want to know if an MBA (Marketing) is a good choice, here’s our short answer.

An MBA in Marketing is a sound business management degree. Specializing in Marketing strengthens a business skill widely regarded as essential. Graduates are positioned for general management roles plus those with a marketing focus.

The degree is meant for marketing and non-marketing professionals who aspire to senior management positions. But it may not be the best choice if your initial goal is to launch a professional marketing career.

Let’s further explore the purposes, pros, cons and options associated with a Marketing MBA.

What Is an MBA in Marketing?

MBA in Marketing

An MBA in Marketing is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Marketing specialization. We estimate that marketing subjects typically comprise from 25% to 42% of the degree program.

Even with a Marketing specialization, the bulk of the MBA program will cover non-marketing subjects. You’ll likely study other business disciplines such as accounting, business analytics, economics, finance and human resource management. As well, some subjects will explore management principles and leadership theory and practice.

The 25% to 42% content range is based on the assumption that a 12-subject MBA will contain (a) one core marketing subject that is compulsory for all students and (b) from two to four electives must be completed in a given discipline to qualify for a major. Those assumptions imply that from 3 to 5 subjects in 12-subject MBA (Marketing) will actually be on Marketing.

Related: What Is an MBA?

Difference Between MBA and Masters

Digital marketing

The key distinction between an MBA in Marketing and a Masters in Marketing is the amount of marketing-specific content. An MBA with a Marketing specialization may have from 25% to 42% of subjects that are about marketing. By contrast, a Masters in Marketing will have 100%, or close to it, of subjects focused on marketing.

That’s not the only difference, however. Since an MBA is a management degree, students are expected to adopt a manager’s perspective when they study marketing. For a specialist marketing master’s, the aim is to build professional practice skills. Hence, exploration of the field in an MBA course will be relatively high-level and non-technical.

Related: 5 Reasons to Get a Master’s in Marketing

What Is the Purpose of the Degree?

University degree

An MBA in Marketing prepares graduates for management roles where marketing knowledge is beneficial. These roles can be highly marketing-focused (e.g. Chief Marketing Officer) or general (e.g. Business Development Manager).

The degree is for professionals either with or without a marketing background. Experienced marketers can use the program to climb into senior management roles. Non-marketers can acquire knowledge that is beneficial for executive jobs such as running a business or organizational unit.

The program combines business management studies with the development of marketing management expertise. Students cultivate strategic leadership skills while gaining specialised know-how to direct marketing activities.

Value of marketing knowledge and skills

Marketing is a critical function in all companies. It is central to how people view a company’s products and how those goods and services ultimately sell. In an increasingly consumer-led business world, professionals who understand consumer behavior and the fundamentals of good marketing practices are vital to corporate success.

More than simply advertising, graduates with an MBA in Marketing bring core business acumen to marketing functions, helping ensure campaigns are not only effective but profit-maximizing. MBA courses cover business fundamentals like data-driven decision making, marketing research, communication, management, accounting, and strategic planning.

Related: What Skills Does an MBA Give You?

Is there an MBA in Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing

You can definitely find MBAs in Digital Marketing. The reality is that most MBA programs with a marketing specialization focus quite strongly on web or internet marketing already. The online environment is where we consume much of our information and where we make many of our purchasing decisions.

With an MBA in Digital Marketing, some of the topics you’ll likely cover include digital consumer behavior, data-driven marketing, emerging technologies, the use of online platforms for social media marketing, content marketing, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Whether an MBA specialization is called “Marketing” or “Digital Marketing”, it will likely contain significant online marketing content. Marketing analytics and reaching and satisfying digital consumers will be key themes of a technologically progressive course.

Related: MBA in Digital Marketing Online in Australia

Is an MBA in Marketing Worth It?

Increasing value asset

An MBA in Marketing is an excellent educational investment. You gain a strong management qualification while building knowledge and skills in an in-demand field.

The MBA program provides the professional skills and technology awareness that candidates need to stand out. Students in a marketing MBA explore marketing concepts, marketing research and campaign management, online consumer behavior, use of analytics, marketing strategies, and emerging technologies. They conduct real-world case studies and gain insights from instructors with industry connections.

The degree will ultimately be worth it if you can leverage your new skills and credentials to move into senior roles as a marketing manager or general manager. Here are some of the key advantages and disadvantages to consider when deciding if this is the right course for you.


1. Graduates gain a versatile skill set
An MBA in Marketing provides the core business and management training an MBA is renowned for with the benefit of extra training in a key business discipline. There is always potential value for managers from knowing about brand management, business-to-business marketing, strategic marketing, and so forth.

2. Graduates enter a sought-after field

Corporate recruiter surveys consistently find Marketing to be one of the top fields from which employers plan to recruit MBA graduates. Graduates with a marketing specialization are in high demand and enjoy exceptional job opportunities. 

3. Your earning ceiling rises dramatically
MBA holders are more likely to work in executive or senior management positions, which are higher paying roles. The qualification also carries a potential fast-track into the C-suite. 


A. High Investment of Time and Money
Completing an MBA requires a significant investment of time and money, though more affordable and flexible options are available.

B. Experience-Dependent Benefits
Most MBA programs require prior work experience for admission, and the benefits are often more significant for those already in mid-career roles, making it less suitable for those just starting out.

C. Need for Continuous Learning
The marketing field, particularly digital marketing, is constantly evolving with new technologies and changing consumer habits. Professionals must engage in ongoing learning to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive edge.

Related: Is an Online MBA Worth It?

How Long Does an MBA Take?

Time clock

An MBA in Marketing is a 2-year full-time program in the United States. Completing the degree in Australia and the UK takes less time, as programs typically run for 1-1.5 years full-time. Part-time study takes longer, potentially adding a year or more to the timeline. 

Accelerated online programs save time by running year-round. They normally take 2 years part-time and require in the order of 10 hours of study-time per week. They’re designed specifically for working professionals, offering schedule flexibility and usually dispensing with traditional exams.

Related: Is an MBA Tough? How Hard is an MBA Really?

What Can I Do With the Degree?

Job interview candidate

An MBA with a marketing specialisation makes you competitive for executive marketing jobs as well as general management roles. The degree offers impressive opportunities to enter a high-profile role or help you climb the corporate ladder faster. If you’re looking to fast-track your route into management or feel you’re ready for more responsibility, an MBA can be worthwhile. 

The professional and leadership skills gained from a marketing MBA will help you stand out from other candidates and increase your earning potential. The value of an MBA degree is well known. You lose none of that by specializing in marketing, a core business discipline. But you expand opportunities for the many management positions where marketing knowledge is an asset.

But you should also be aware that the qualification is not meant to establish you as a marketing professional with a hands-on role every working day. A Masters in Marketing may be a better vehicle for early-career professional development as a marketing specialist or marketing manager.

Related: What Can You Do with an MBA?

Jobs and Salary Prospects

An advantage of an MBA in Marketing is the broad set of business skills you gain. And this translates to a wide range of career pathways. Executive marketing jobs include: 

  • Marketing Manager
  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Public Relations Executive
  • Marketing Communications Director
  • Director of Sales 
  • Account Executive

Additionally, graduates are qualified for these kinds of business management roles

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • General Manager 
  • Business Development Manager
  • Business Consultant 
  • Product Manager
  • General Manager 

Salary prospects for MBA (Marketing) graduates are excellent. PayScale reports that the average annual base salary for MBA holders who work in marketing and related management fields was $103k. Comparably, bachelor’s degree holders earned $71k per year on average.

The degree can also be used to gain a foothold in the marketing industry when complemented with applied training courses and on-the-job experience. Professional job opportunities include brand manager, customer relationship manager, market research analyst, marketing director, public relations specialist, and sales manager.

Related: Is Digital Marketing a Good Career?

Why an MBA Instead of a Masters?

For many executive roles, general management and business administration skills are more vital than advanced marketing skills. Professionals in those roles must be able to direct campaigns at a high-level but with the business context and strategic planning of a corporate leader. An MBA (Marketing) may provide a better balance of professional and management skills compared to a Master’s in Marketing.

Additionally, employers want candidates with technical skills (like analytics competence) and soft skills (like curiosity and communication). While the two areas of competency may not be vital for all marketing roles, people looking to rise to leadership positions must have a solid grasp of both. A marketing MBA generally does a better job of inculcating those skills.

Related: What Do You Learn in an MBA?

Admission Requirements

Online college student

The entry requirements for an MBA in Marketing are no different from any other Master of Business Administration program. The course is open to people from a non-marketing background, meaning there are no special requirements in terms of prior marketing or business knowledge.

The typical entry requirements for an MBA degree are that you have a bachelor degree (any discipline) and multiple years of work experience in supervisory or management roles. It can also be possible to gain entry without a degree if you have extensive relevant professional experience.

Some business schools require you to achieve certain minimum standards on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Studying for the test is an added time cost if you wish to be considered for a business school with a GMAT requirement.

Related: Disadvantages of MBA

Tuition Costs

MBA (Marketing) programs differ widely in terms of tuition costs. At the low end, there are programs with tuition costs ranging between $18,000 and $25,000.

On the other hand, costs can exceed $200,000 for MBA programs at the high end of the scale. Nevertheless, you should have no problem finding programs in the US from $40,000 to $70,000.

Related: Why Study an MBA? 7 Questions to Ask Yourself

Follow Andrew Lancaster:
The director of Lerna Courses, Andrew Lancaster, is experienced in analytics, technology, and business development. He has a PhD in Economics from the Australian National University. His writing helps people make informed choices about education and careers. He covers a range of topics, including university education, psychology, and professional growth.

2 Responses

  1. liam
    | Reply

    Wow, there is so much to know about something. There are questions answered here which I didn’t even have in the back of my mind but they turned out to be important. An article full of vital information. I think that an MBA in marketing is what I am doing. Unsure if I’ll do it through an online course or by attending in person.

  2. Laura Tiel
    | Reply

    I have seen people recommend going for something other than an MBA in the past. I think 10 or more years ago, there were better options depending on what you wanted to accomplish. But today? As it stands obtaining an MBA is probably the smartest thing anyone interested in business could do.

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