Academics

Academic Overview: Marketing & Management

After a restful winter break, the MS-Commers headed back to Charlottesville for a semester of track-specific courses. This is the first of three academic overview blogs, each of which will provide an extensive overview of what life is like spring semester in each of the three M.S. in Commerce tracks: Marketing & Management (M & M), Business Analytics and Finance. Up first: M&M.

After a restful winter break, the MS-Commers headed back to Charlottesville for a semester of track-specific courses. This is the first of three academic overview blogs, each of which will provide an extensive overview of what life is like spring semester in each of the three M.S. in Commerce tracks: Marketing & Management (M&M), Business Analytics and Finance. Up first: M&M.

Q: Do all M&M students take the same classes?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you have classes at the same time?

A: Yes, each class is comprised of all 41 M&M students (that number may change slightly in the future based on each year’s class size).

Q: Do I have to choose from a list of available classes?

A: No, all students take the same four M&M classes. We’ll go into more detail about each of them in a bit.

Q: How does the schedule compare to first semester?

A: To give you a better idea of what a typical week looks like, check out Ryan’s Google calendar:

A cont.: The biggest change from last semester is that the course schedule for each week is exactly the same. The calendar above will go unchanged from now until April. You’ll also notice that a couple days a week classes start later in the afternoon, so it is common for M&M students to grab a coffee and schedule group meetings and/or do their homework in the grad lounge before class starts. Also, because they end later in the day than we used to, they’ll sometimes go get lunch or dinner together on the Corner after class gets out for the day.

Q: How are the courses different from first semester?

A:  In the first semester, all students, regardless of track, participate in the “Integrated Core Experience” or “ICE” in which they take an array of courses in subjects such as strategy, finance, accounting, marketing and quantitative analysis, among others.

The second semester is a little different. All of the courses (with the exception of Foundations of Global Commerce,* which all tracks take) cover various topics within marketing. These courses are intended to equip students with the analytical and communication skills necessary to deliver data-driven insights in a clear, engaging manner. It is also important to remember the “management” component of the track. M&M students will complete various group projects ranging from brand audits to raising money for a non-profit gala , all of which require students to hold themselves accountable and deliver results by working in diverse teams.

Here’s a brief overview of what each of them is about:

  • Creating Value in B2B Markets (M/W): This course focuses on how students can unlock their potential to make contributions both within and across organizations by developing mutually beneficial relationships with inspiring, like-minded individuals. They will be hosting (and marketing) a gala in April to which our mentors will be invited.
  • Pricing & Consumer Behavior (T/R): This is an awesome class, especially for those who studied the social sciences in undergrad. Students focus on consumers’ attitudes and perceptions in the retail space and how they might influence these perceptions by implementing certain pricing strategies (such as a sale or coupon). They are even required to go to stores and see how these strategies are implemented in the real world.
  • Brand Management (T): In this class students learn all about what is involved with branding (hint: it’s more than just designing a cool logo) and how managers ensure that a company’s brand is communicated to consumers across various channels. Over the course of the semester, they will be conducting brand audit on struggling brands such as Volkswagen and JCPenney and implementing the concepts they learn to make actionable recommendations for improvement.
  • Social Media Marketing & Metrics (R): In this class, the homework is literally to tweet! Students discuss how companies are leveraging various social media platforms to reach consumers where they are and how they measure how social media is integrated into a larger marketing strategy. The course also focuses on how companies can measure the effectiveness of their posts in terms of meeting their marketing goals.

For course descriptions and more information about what the M&M track has to offer, click here.

Q: Who should consider applying to the M&M track?

The nice thing about marketing and management is that they are such broad industries that the skills you acquire will serve you well in a variety of fields.

For example, Ryan, on of our bloggers, is going to work in promotions, whereas Logan is looking at ad agencies and Katie Nell is interested in brand strategy. There are also students on the M&M track who are going into management consulting and non-profit work.

If you are someone who enjoys marrying creative thinking with quantitative insights and are looking to set yourself apart in terms of your ability to derive and communicate meaningful insights, then M&M is likely a good fit for you. M&M students become creative thinkers on the cutting edge of technology of current events. Then they take it a step further and develop the ability to justify their ideas by conducting thorough analyses and research.

In Sum

The second semester looks very different for M&M students, but the emphasis on experiential learning, group work and classroom engagement all carry over from the fall. The top performers in this track are the ones with a natural curiosity and a desire to exercise both creative and analytical thinking. Sound like you? Then you may very well be a future M&M student.

All in all, the spring semester is shaping up to be an interesting and hands-on learning experience for the M&M students. Stay tuned for updates and the inside scoop on the Finance and Business Analytics tracks.

Get important admissions news and updates delivered straight to your inbox.