Mastering Marketing at UIC Liautaud

For those looking for a fun, exciting job in a rapidly growing industry, marketing is becoming an attractive option. Job opportunities are expected to grow by the thousands and median incomes are in the low six figures. Marketing takes a mix of creativity and strategy, and UIC Liautaud provides that and more. 

Professor Alan Malter recently a sat down with a couple of UIC Business bloggers to discuss the new Masters of Science in Marketing program at the Liautaud Graduate School of Business. The program will welcome its first class this fall.

Why has Liautaud created the MSM program?

There’s a trend in graduate business education to have more focused, specialized master’s degrees. Here at Liautaud we have the MIS and MSA, and we recently launched the MSF - they’re popular programs, students know they want to focus in one area and receive training for specific work, and the shorter duration helps students pivot quickly and get back on the job market. So we simply wanted to add that option for marketing.

In the past, Liautaud students interested in marketing have pursued the MBA. How will the MSM differ from the MBA?

The MSM differs from the MBA in two key ways. First, the program is shorter than the two-year MBA - it can be completed in as little as a year, depending on prerequisite coursework. Because there isn’t the MBA breadth requirement, students aren’t required to take accounting courses, finances courses, management courses, and so forth. There’s plenty of breadth within the MSM, but it’s all in marketing, which is the second key difference.

The MSM is designed for students who want that expertise in marketing, even if they’re coming from another field. I myself had undergraduate degrees in economics and political science; my first marketing degree was my PhD, which I started after some time in the workforce. Marketing is such a varied and hybrid field that, whatever your background - humanities, social sciences, hard sciences - you’ll have a relevant skillset. But to gain a competitive marketing expertise, you’ll need to pick up some missing pieces, which the MSM provides.

And what can students expect to walk away with after the program?

Today there are so many skills required to be an effective marketer. If a student’s had an intro to marketing course or maybe a market research course, that’s a great foundation, but they’re only scratching the surface. Marketing has become so globalized and data-centric that there’s a big demand for more specialized skills.

Within the MSM we have three specializations: global and multicultural marketing, marketing research and analytics, and advertising and promotion. And there’s a fourth option, without a concentration, for students who want more flexibility. Multicultural marketing trains students in the cultural diversity of the marketplace; different ethnic and religious groups, issues of age, sex, lifestyle and gender. Research and analytics teaches students to collect and interpret different forms of data in a dynamic market. Advertising and promotion isn’t a new field, obviously, but Chicago is home to some of the big names in this field, which gives Liautaud students special access to the best work happening in this area.

In all cases, the program concludes with a capstone course, which will combines each student’s work into a single project. Students either work with a Chicago-area firm to collect data and build a marketing strategy, or they engage in a simulation, applying their own market research from every point within a firm to improve its performance. In either case, they’re ready for real work when they leave the program.