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Master’s in Marketing vs MBA: 5 Big Questions Answered

Marketing and advertising are central to revenue growth and expansion for companies of all shapes and sizes. That’s why it’s one of the largest investments many companies make. 

According to Statista, the global advertising industry is expected to reach $630 billion by 2024. Digital transformation, increased competition and emerging technologies only continue to accelerate the rapid pace of change. Organizations must learn to adapt and harness these opportunities to become or remain leaders in their field.

Due to the emphasis organizations place on marketing and advertising, it’s a rewarding career path with high-paying salaries, advancement opportunities and an engaging work environment.

If you work in marketing and advertising, you may be wondering how you can take advantage of these opportunities and move into senior, management or executive positions. Getting a master’s degree is a great way to stand out from other candidates, gain leadership skills and position yourself for short-term and long-term salary gains.

We want to give you the inside scoop on choosing between these two popular degrees in this industry—the MBA and a Master’s in Marketing. Our expert Dr. Kristin Martin, Program Chair of the MBA at Franklin University, answers 5 of the top questions on prospective graduate students’ minds considering the M.S. in Marketing and an MBA. 

MBA vs. Master’s in Marketing: Which Pays More?  

Pay GradeMBA DegreeMaster's in Marketing Degree
25th Percentile$46,000$42,000
75th Percentile$104,000$103,000
90th Percentile$131,500$140,000

Source: ZipRecruiter

However, sometimes averages don’t tell the whole picture. Salaries are highly individualized and greatly influenced by the strength of the program you choose.

MBA vs Master’s in Marketing: Which Is More Reputable? 

MBA degrees are very well recognized across industries, enhancing its prestige with employers. By sheer volume, MBAs are also completed at a much higher rate than master’s degrees in marketing. This may indicate a greater demand for MBAs, making them a sought-after credential by employers.

YearMBA Degree CompletionsM.S. Marketing Degree Completions

Source: EMSI


What matters most when choosing a master’s program? Compare features, benefits and cost to find the right school for you.


MBA vs. Master’s in Marketing: Which is Better for Leadership Positions? 

Gaining cross-functional leadership skills is one of the hallmarks of an MBA degree, while the M.S. in Marketing focuses on deep, practical marketing skills. 

“If an individual wishes to grow into management and leadership positions, an MBA will have a greater impact,” says Dr. Martin, “An M.S. in Marketing is often a better fit for marketing specialist roles at a senior level—like someone who specializes in marketing analytics. You have to ask yourself if you want to be the one preparing the reports and analysis for leadership or being the executive who uses those insights to make decisions. If you want the latter, an MBA is a better choice.”

MBA vs. Master’s in Marketing: What Is The Difference In Coursework? 


While both degrees can benefit a marketing professional, there are distinct differences in the course of study for MBAs and Master’s in Marketing degrees.

Comparing What You Learn in a Master's in Marketing vs. MBA

M.S. in Marketing Communication
36 Semester Hours
14-month completion

36 Semester Hours
12-month completion

Marketing Communication FoundationsMBA Foundations
Marketing Communication EssentialsMarketing Management
Behavioral ResearchManagerial Economics
Digital Marketing StrategiesBusiness Environment
Creative ConceptsFinancial & Managerial Accounting
Metrics & AnalyticsHuman Resource Management
Marketing Communication PlanningOperations Management
Marketing Communication Management & LeadershipCorporate Finance
Marketing Communication CapstoneStrategic Management

The variety of coursework in an MBA program can be a strong complement to marketing and advertising industry experience, taking you to the next level of management and leadership. On the other hand, deep disciplinary specialization may prepare you for well-paying senior and technical positions in the industry. 

MBA vs Master’s in Marketing: Which Degree Is Right For Me? 

The choice between an MBA and a Master’s Degree in Marketing is one that comes down to your professional goals and career aspirations. 

“I know everyone has heard this throughout their life, but it is very important to sit down and plan,” says Dr. Martin, “You need to look within yourself and determine where you want to be in 5 years or 10 years.  What is your dream job? Which degree will help you get there?”

Once you have an idea of which degree you want to pursue, you need to find a program that meets your needs. Both of these advanced degrees benefit from professional experience, meaning most degree seekers will also be balancing their professional careers. Finding a top-quality online program is essential to success.

Franklin University’s Online MBA can provide you with game-changing leadership skills in as few as 12 months. It will prepare you to advance to leadership levels in any organization in the marketing and advertising industry and beyond. The IACBE-accredited program follows best practice standards for business education while real-world practitioners help you apply knowledge to challenges facing today’s business leaders.

Franklin University also offers an online M.S. Marketing & Communication, which can take your technical marketing skills to the next level. This program is also IACBE-accredited and designed for working professionals who want to deepen their expertise in cutting-edge marketing strategies and tactics.

Find the right program for you by exploring both of these degree options.

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