Digital Marketing Strategy | MBA vs MS?

Hello all, haven’t been here for a while, but wanted to get some advice.

I’m graduated in '12 in Marketing (though about a year after graduating unemployed), Finance & BA Economics (serves no purpose but figure I mention it). Another note: my GPA was a low 2.64 so I also understand the need for high gnat scores and realistic school expectations). I’ve focused my career in Marketing by choice (found Finance unappealing intellectually). I’ve grown really fond of the Digital Marketing realm. Right now, I’m a low/mid level Email Marketer with most of my experience at the production realm rather than strategy. Find production only roles rather boring, but I have learned a great deal of web programming this way (pretty well versed in HTML/CSS).

I’m looking for an MBA or MS to get me to that level of strategy for small firms. I understand that I am still fresh in my career so I have no delusions of managing for a large firm (nor do I wish to. I prefer smaller over larger firms after my last role)

My current strategy is to hopefully hold my current position until 2016 and make the next step, whatever that is (my biggest resume red flag so far is being laid off twice with only 10 months at my longest position).

What would be better suited for the career path I am suggesting? Live in NYC so my options are limited to State schools with decent/good Biz schools (which means UB, Bing, and Baruch College). The options I have researched (and can afford) is either:

Online MBA at NDU due to it being the only affordable online program
Full time MBA at my Undergrad (Buffalo) while possibly freelancing email on the side to afford relocating back.
Full time MS (only 1 year) at Baruch College that has a specialized Digital Marketing course.

Unless someone convinces me otherwise, I don’t see the purpose of an expensive or prestigious Biz school considering my ambitions. Seems like a waste of money, imo.
None of these options will break the bank. Will have approx. 20k saved with no loans and good credit by end of year, so these options are all affordable.

Looking for honest opinions and hopefully someone experienced in Digital Marketing Strategy. Thanks!

Hey greatmightypoo,

I graduated the same year as you but am also in digital marketing. To be honest I am kind of deciding between an MBA and just continuing with my professional career.

My qualms with pursuing a graduate degree is that Digital Advertising/Marketing is still relatively young and the industry is changing rapidly in terms of data analytics, product development, and thus strategy which makes the value of pursuing a graduate degree solely upon networking potential.

B school offers you the ability to make connections, whereas most Master programs don’t actively foster networking opportunities, but in a young industry where your compensation isn’t really tied having an MBA (vs. consulting or finance), I’m not sure if it would be worth it.

With a Master’s in Digital Advertising, I don’t think you would learn that much that you couldn’t learn professionally and you wouldn’t have the added value of networking either.

If it were me I think I would stay in the industry and interview for the areas of digital advertising you are interested in.

I would suggest that you take a much different route. What I have observed is that a balance of knowledge, experience and existing work product that delivered results is the best way to excel in a digital marketing career.
I also agree that rather getting a MS in Digital Marketing you could master it outside the classroom. There are numerous resources available to do so, textbooks, software, podcasts etc. Then I would suggest freelancing as a independent contractor in order to build your portfolio, with that in hand you should be able to interview for any position in the field with the business references to back up your work.
(Currently a Social Media Marketing course student at GSU, taught by Jake Aull author of WordPress SEO Success)