COL Launches Online Master's in Marketing Graduate Degree Program

In a continued effort to be at the forefront of offering innovative and relevant graduate-level online degree programs, the Center for Online Learning at William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business has launched a new Online Master’s in Marketing for the fall 2020 session.

The inaugural cohort matriculated with 17 students, of which approximately 65 percent were women, 35 percent were men, and nearly half self-identified as multi-ethnic or as a minority. Geographically, students are located across five states in the mid-Atlantic, the South and the Midwest regions, and their ages range from 22- to 58 years-old. Aside from William & Mary, students hail from twelve additional undergraduate institutions and on average, have five and a half years of professional work experience across a diverse set of industries including higher education, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, technology, tourism, retail, financial services and the military.

Kymberleigh Quinn is a Regional Sales Manager for a large financial services company and she says she decided to pursue her master’s in marketing through the Mason School’s program as a way to formalize and expand her knowledge in an area she’s always had an interest in but little exposure to.

“The William & Mary program is the best of all worlds. It’s by a respected institution, offered in an online format, and focuses on both the practice and analytics of marketing,” Quinn explained. “This degree will add a sense of legitimacy to my innate skills and passion for marketing. While I have an MBA, I have no formal marketing experience so this will provide me with both the formal credentials and the skills to pursue a move into a marketing role.”

Darius Watkins is an Account Executive with a Richmond, Virginia-based advertising firm and he decided to apply to the program as a way to lay the foundation for his future career goals.

“I wanted to use this time to challenge myself and the online class flexibility was really key for me as I continue to work full-time,” Watkins said. “I’m looking forward to expanding my marketing knowledge and meeting other great minds. I see this degree helping to jumpstart my path and goal to becoming a CMO one day.”

Until now, the Raymond A. Mason School of Business offered a marketing specialization track through its residential full-time MBA program, but not a graduate-level degree focused entirely on broad-based marketing skills and marketing innovation.

“The marketing environment has changed completely in the last decade and it shows no sign of letting up,” said Matthew Williams, Visiting Clinical Professor of Marketing and former CEO of the Martin Agency responsible for, among other things, the GEICO commercials and campaign strategy. “It’s not enough to simply understand the timeless truths of marketing strategy. A successful marketer has to be able to apply those truths with a spirit of constant creativity and innovation. Master’s programs have been good at the strategy side of the equation, and not as good at creativity and innovation.”

Recognizing the market demand for online, accelerated specialized master’s programs, the school opted to design a course of study around the idea of the “Renaissance Marketer,” a term defined as highly-trained and ambidextrous left-right brain business professionals who have the ability to see the opportunities in our changing world and apply a set of analytical and creative marketing skills to take advantage of them.

“There are a lot of specialized niche programs on analytics, integrated marketing communications (IMC), etc. but not one that was geared for individuals coming out of a specialized area of marketing and wanted to get a broad, cutting edge view of the whole process,” explained K. Scott Swan, Professor of International Business and Marketing. “We work across understanding value with insights from qualitative and quantitative tools, to creating value with marketing innovation, and amplifying value through customers with IMC and digital content management overlaid with a values-based and leadership-focused orientation.”

The process of designing the Online Master’s in Marketing is demonstrative of the Mason School’s commitment to deliver educational experiences to its students that combine the requisite knowledge and market-demanded skills that employers are looking for their business professionals to have.

“The development was truly interdisciplinary and collaborative. We brought together tenured marketing faculty with senior marketing practitioners from around the country in multiple, day-long design sessions,” said Williams.

“We asked them to help us develop the program that they wish their rising managers could take,” explained Swan. “We borrowed the best of our experience in Online MBA program and made it better with a value-orientation that resonates with our future students and drives innovation desperately needed by companies.”

Students enrolled in the inaugural cohort can complete the program in as little as 15 months. They will work through ten courses asynchronously that cover the foundations of marketing, analytics & insights, marketing innovation, and modern integrated marketing, and will culminate in a capstone Marketing Challenge using innovative collaborative technology.

“This is an amazing time to study Marketing, in light of all that is changing and has changed in the world. Digital channels are expanding, adoption of digital is rising at an unprecedented rate and the ‘new normal’ is still to be defined. Marketing is at the center of many of these changes and I am excited to explore the future of this field,” said Quinn.

Students will also be required to attend one residency weekend during their time in the program. Residency weekends are a hallmark of the William & Mary Mason School Online experience in which students are invited to campus to participate in a weekend-long seminar and simulation focused on a relevant topic for current business professionals. Past residency weekends have focused on diversity & inclusion, finance, and marketing.

“We’re out to produce Renaissance Marketers who can serve as the next wave of marketing leadership. Our graduates will leave with a combination of skills that will prepare them to lead teams, understand customers’ needs, add new value to their organizations, and accelerate their careers,” said Williams. “There’s something truly unique about the combination of data, strategy, and creativity in a master’s level program. But when you add William & Mary’s high level of academics, some of the best professors in the country, and the collaborative environment of the Mason School, you end up with a program that’s truly one-of-a-kind.”