How to Get a Top Marketing Education for a Fraction of the Top Cost

The average annual cost of attending one of the Top 25 Business Schools in 2017 is $55,593.

Compare that with the cost of attending courses that are comparable to (and sometimes even the same as) those provided by many of those institutions online? $837. That’s 1.5% of the cost of attending business school onsite at some some of the world’s most prestigious institutions.

Too good to be true? In an education economy where public and private universities are working to bridge gaps in accessibility and help create opportunity for learners who don’t have the luxury of attending their schools, these courses are offered as potential goldmines of fast information tailor-made for practical application. In other words, they are the perfect resource for new skill seekers who are willing to make short-term investments of time and energy and financial resources, which can lead to jobs and careers in the long-term, especially for those who choose fields that have largely moved online, like marketing.

In this post, we’ve put together two tables for marketers interested in how it’s possible to cobble together a set of skills and bona fides in their field for a fraction of the cost of a comparable education at a top-tier, global university.

TABLE 1: COURSES REQUIRED FOR MARKETING CONCENTRATION AT TOP MARKETING SCHOOLS

Course Title University Program U.S. News Rank Cost Per Course
Introduction to Marketing University of Pennsylvania B.S. in Marketing 4th Best B-School $9,907
Consumer Behavior University of Pennsylvania B.S. in Marketing 4th Best B-School $9,907
Data Analysis for Marketing Decisions University of Pennsylvania B.S. in Marketing 4th Best B-School $9,907
Research Methods in Marketing Northwestern University MBA in Marketing 5th Best B-School $16,014
Marketing Management Northwestern University MBA in Marketing 5th Best B-School $16,014
Advanced Topics in Marketing Northwestern University MBA in Marketing Mangement 5th Best B-School $9,151
Marketing Strategy in the C Suite and Boardroom Dynamics Northwestern University MBA in Marketing Mangement 5th Best B-School $9,151
Total: $80,051

TABLE 2: COMPARABLE MOOCS OFFERED BY TOP MARKETING SCHOOLS

Course Title University Program U.S. News/ QS World University Ranking Cost Per Course
Introduction to Marketing University of Pennsylvania 4th Best B-School (USN) $95
Market Research and Consumer Behavior IE Business School 2nd Best B-School (QSWU) $79
Marketing Analytics University of Virginia 11th Best B-School (USN) $0
High Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork, and Negotiaion Northwestern University 5th Best B-School (USN) $79
Leadership Through Social Influence (3 of 6-course Series) Northwestern University 5th Best B-School (USN) $79
Leadership Through Marketing (4 of 6-course Series) Northwestern University 5th Best B-School (USN) $79
Digital Marketing Specialization (6-course Series) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 34th Best B-School (USN) $426
Total: $837

How did we get these numbers? We looked at course curricula for some of the best marketing programs in the nation and compared them with Marketing & Communications courses listed via Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) directories, MOOC-List and Coursera. We found that the MOOCs listed above offer much of the same course content (sometimes under the same name and from the same institutions) as those listed on Marketing Department websites from top-tier Business Schools, with the only major exception in course format being that MOOCs were offered online and at a lower price that conventional courses, which were offered in the classroom and at a higher price.

Glancing at the tables, we see that the University of Pennsylvania’s B.S. program offers an Introduction in Marketing course in both traditional format and MOOC format, while Northwestern University’s MBA program offers three classes in what we’d call Executive Marketing—those are Marketing Management, Advanced Topics in Marketing, and Marketing Strategy for the C Suite—which correspond with MOOCs offered through its Business School’s 6-course series on Organizational Leadership: Leadership Through Marketing, Leadership Through Social Influence, and High Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork, and Negotiation.

We also see that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a 6-course series in Digital Marketing for $426, which is an excellent elective choice for online marketers; the international IE Business School offers a course in Market Research and Consumer Behavior for $79, which is an excellent course for marketers interested in marketing psychology; and the University of Virginia offers a course in Marketing Analytics, perfect for all marketers, at zero cost.

 

 

Even at the modal value of $79, these seven online courses add up to only 1% of the cost of the seven courses required to earn a B.S. and MBA from a top-tier marketing school. In other words, it is possible to learn many of the skills taught in top-tier marketing degree programs for 99% less than the sticker price. While that price may come at the cost of some prestige—although certainly not $80,000-worth since learners who take courses offered by top-tier institutions and receive certificates are automatically associated with the quality educations they provide—most online marketing gigs are not looking at the institutional reputation when hiring. They are looking at skillsets, portfolios, and online presence which marketing MOOCs seek to build by virtue of hands-on projects.

Unfortunately, it is not yet possible for students who complete massive open online courses provided by such institutions to receive degrees or course credit for their accomplishments, although credit-granting mechanisms are <a href="on the table for some university providers in 2016. Until those credit-granting mechanisms become standard, online learners, and especially marketers, should take advantage of the fact that marketing MOOCs are perfectly suited to anyone pursuing a career in online business. And with affordable course offerings from many of the world’s best business schools, they are an excellent way to get a top marketing education for a fraction of today’s increasingly expensive college degree.