Getting an MBA in advertising can be a step toward a better job, higher pay and more responsibility but certain requirements must be met to achieve such a degree. At a minimum, entering an advertising MBA program requires a relevant undergraduate degree, acceptable scores on required entrance exams and a method to pay for the education. Advertising MBAs are structured in a variety of ways, from full, two-year programs to self-paced, distance learning online.
Many professionals earn an MBA in advertising long after having graduated from university. Typically, age is not a factor in earning an MBA, although many master’s students begin their graduate programs right out of college, just as many work for a number of years before starting graduate education. Some earn their MBA in advertising while working, even in another field.
In the self-help book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People®, Stephen Covey advises to “begin with the end in mind.” This is pertinent advice for anyone wanting to earn an MBA in advertising. The applicant should know what the MBA program will accomplish for his or her career. Selecting the programs to which to apply will be a matter of choosing the best fit for the applicant’s personal circumstances and professional goals.
Once the programs to which to apply have been selected, the applicant must ensure his or her academic background matches program requirements. Typically, an undergraduate degree in advertising or an acceptably related field, such as marketing or public relations, is desired. Many other undergraduate degrees are acceptable as well if overall course work satisfies application requires of the MBA program.
Most MBA programs require an acceptable score on a standardized entry exam. Applicants typically can buy study guides or take prep courses for these exams. Exam results usually are sent by the organization offering the exam directly to the schools indicated by the applicant.
Depending on the institution offering the MBA in advertising, the applicant will have a variety of cost levels and payment methods. A traditional, residential MBA program has not only tuition, fees and books but room and board expenses. Those pursuing an MBA in advertising while already at work, typically are already taking care of their living expenses and must pay only for tuition, books and fees. Distance and online programs often are among the least costly. In each case, payment methods can range from the applicant paying personally to earning grants or scholarships, or lining up financing.
Academic expectations at the graduate level are high but also can be tailored to the type of student typical for a program. A residential, two-year program usually is rigorous, concentrated and has an equal focus on academic and practical studies. The focus and pace of work at an executive MBA program or an online program often is tailored to a working student body and draws more on practical experience. In all cases, accredited MBA in advertising programs will expect students to attend class and complete work that meets the standards of graduate education, which may or may not include a master's thesis.