Marketing

The marketing concentration focuses on the needs and wants of the organization’s key stakeholders. In particular, understanding how customer perceptions and preferences evolve – and how the firm can influence them – are fundamental determinants of an organization’s long-run success.

Students pursuing this concentration acquire a solid grounding in applying the basic disciplines (e.g., psychology, economics, statistics) essential for understanding consumer and organizational buying patterns and for developing successful marketing strategies. They also acquire practical experience in the application of these concepts and methods, via half-semester mini-courses (e.g., new product development, advertising, and retailing).

Many students with a concentration in marketing have gone on to work in brand management, advertising, sales, marketing research consulting, as well as pursuing their own entrepreneurial ventures.

Concentration Advisor 

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Student Profile: Kelli Bosse

Why did you choose this concentration?

No matter what you do in life, you will be marketing something to someone. Whether you are a business selling a product or service to consumers or an individual selling yourself to a potential employer, you need to know how to identify a need, satisfy it, and create an experience that puts you ahead of the competition. Both the consumer and the marketplace are constantly evolving, and you need to understand how marketing works effectively in order to create a successful business.

What was your favorite course in this concentration and why? 

My favorite marketing course was definitely MKTG 211: Consumer Behavior. This course truly emphasized putting oneself in the shoes of the most important person in the purchasing process—the consumer! The focus was on understanding the underlying desires of a consumer, from the initial start of the decision-making process through all post-purchase interactions. By envisioning what consumers truly want and why it is that they want it, businesses are able to jump ahead of the competition by making decisions that actually have an impact on influencing consumers. Through the course’s required field project, we analyzed the marketing tactics of a local business, allowing us to take what we were learning inside the classroom and apply it in a real-life business situation.

What course did you choose to take first in this concentration and why? 

The first marketing course I took was MKTG 101, which allowed me to see the impact that marketing has on all business decisions. The course provided an overview of what a marketing concentration would look like, teaching us how to identify and satisfy consumer needs, determine the best distribution channels, and choose the most effective and profitable promotion strategies and price points. We took these concepts and applied them to real-life situations through case studies that we analyzed each week during recitation.

What advice would you give to a student who is considering this concentration? 

Understanding the importance of successful marketing practices and how to apply them in any situation is essential to creating a thriving business strategy. Investing in a background in marketing allows you to open up doors in any industry and immediately start making an impact for a company. From creating an advertising campaign to evaluating the profitability of different channels, people who study marketing are studying how to shape the marketplace of the future.

What concentration-related skills have you used during internships or other work experiences?

Whether working during my summer internships or at my on-campus work-study position, I have been able to take theories and strategies learned in my marketing courses and apply them to create campaigns that generate interest, leads, and sales. In addition, the courses I have taken have also given me the skills necessary to analyze the effectiveness of existing campaigns and propose solutions to problems that arise.

Do you have a second concentration? If so, what is it and why?

I am also concentrating in Legal Studies and Business Ethics. After gaining a few years of workplace experience, I plan to return to school to earn my J.D. The Legal Studies and Business Ethics concentration has prepared me for law school by allowing me to examine the legal system in the context of a wide variety of business settings, such as sports law, healthcare law, international law, and contract law.

Student Profile: Bryan Yamhure-Sepulveda

Why did you choose this concentration?

I decided to pursue marketing as one of my concentrations after taking MKTG 211: Consumer Behavior during my sophomore spring. At the time, I considered the class to be a mix of psychology with business, which was very interesting—we did case studies and had guest speakers that I thoroughly enjoyed. The class helped me realize the breadth, importance, and applicability of marketing in business, so I decided to pursue the concentration to find out more.

What was your favorite course in this concentration and why? 

I’ll have to go with MKTG 277: Marketing Strategy. The professor was fantastic—he was the perfect combination of lighthearted and rigorous. Other classes, such as Marketing Research, didn’t focus as much on the strategy component and thus seemed more traditional. However, in 277 we focused on the “why” of marketing decisions, which provided me with a very different and refreshing perspective. This said, I’m very excited to be taking MKTG/STAT 476: Probability Models in Marketing. I’ve heard great things about the class and think it will beat out MKTG 277 as my favorite.

What course did you choose to take first in this concentration and why? 

After the required courses, the first course I took was MKTG 277: Marketing Strategy. I think this was a great decision because it really focused on applied marketing—instead of just learning marketing concepts. We considered them in action through case studies and a long-term simulation.

What advice would you give to a student who is considering this concentration? 

While it is true that you can complete the concentration with purely qualitative courses, students can definitely challenge themselves within the marketing concentration. There is merit and value in the courses and concepts you will learn, which will certainly be useful regardless of the career path you choose. I’d encourage students to pursue courses within marketing that teach transferable quantitative skills. This means taking a course like 277 or 476 that will teach you how to build and (more importantly) apply models to marketing situations. I’d also recommend students to look beyond just courses offered. Several friends of mine were able to create their own iterations of a marketing concentration, ranging from topics such as product design to emerging markets. In my case, I approached professors whose research interested me, and I was lucky enough to do research with two of them. This has certainly added to my experience in marketing and made it more well-rounded.

What concentration-related skills have you used during internships or other work experiences?

In MKTG 277, we learned how to build models specifically for marketing. These included models to plan advertising budgets, allocate funds across different marketing mediums, or predict effects of certain marketing decisions (such as incremental advertising or sales force). These modeling skills, while specific to marketing, have certainly helped my fluency with Excel. Also, some of the concepts I saw in MKTG 211 (and later expanded upon in OIDD 290) have helped me understand certain business decisions. I’ve interned at small and very large companies, and I’ve been able to look at their marketing decisions from a variety of lenses given the background this concentration has provided me.

Do you have a second concentration? If so, what is it and why?

I am pursuing three concentrations—MKTG, OIDD, and MGMT. I find what I’ve learned in my OIDD classes to be genuinely interesting, appropriately challenging, and readily applicable in real life. My experience in OIDD 101 triggered me to want to pursue a separate OIDD concentration. OIDD 321 taught me extensive modeling, optimization, and simulation skills, and I’m confident they’ll be very useful in my professional life. Also, I am pursuing MGMT because I feel it provides a complementary qualitative skillset. For example, MGMT 211: Competitive Strategy applied concepts we’ve learned in economics and some concepts I learned in OIDD 101 and applied them to a variety of case studies. We looked at different industries and major players and analyzed the decisions they made. All in all, I think pursuing more than one concentration is extremely worthwhile. Learning different skills and gaining different vantage points will not only be useful professionally, but they will also make you a more interesting and well-rounded person. The added course load, if applicable, is not a burden if the concentration is something in which you are genuinely interested. For me, my three concentrations have all taught me different things, each valuable in their own way.