With Web 2.0 sites like Facebook and Twitter proving popular places both for networking and for promotional activities, it appears that some top business schools are poised to offer MBAs with social networking as part of the marketing specialization.
Businessweek reported on July 26, in an article titled “B-Schools All A-Twitter Over Social Media,” that at least six business schools have — or plan to introduce over the coming months — social media elective courses as part of their MBA.
Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, London Business School, INSEAD and HEC Paris have all confirmed that they will be teaching MBA students the benefits of social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook.
“I am confident we will see both an expansion of social media study in all MBA programs and a deeper integration into existing areas of study,” states Rachel Sterne, principal of digital media consultancy firm Upward Strategy and adjunct professor in future social media entrepreneurship at Columbia.
“Ultimately, social media should be part of any complete marketing, customer service or development strategy.”
Andrew T. Stephen, assistant professor of marketing at INSEAD near Paris, who teaches an advertising and social media strategy course, explains to TopMBA.com the benefits of social media in MBAs: “The course teaches principles of integrating social media with traditional media and other marketing and business strategies so that students see how all the pieces of this complex puzzle fit together. That way, the course doesn’t date.
“Rather, students are given tools and ways of thinking that will be valuable in the future. This is critical, since every month, there’s a new website or social media platform, and I can guarantee that even one year from now, things will be different.”
Participants in Stephen’s elective will be taught the skills to adapt to the ever-changing social media environment.
Sterne is keen to point out the importance of ensuring that MBA students are capable of analyzing the results of social media marketing, which in turn will focus campaigns and ensure impressive results. However, students should further notice benefits from courses on social media when they’re networking and gaining professional contacts.
Professor Stephen also believes that experience in social media can be applied to many business sectors.
“Recruiters are looking for graduates who are savvy in this area, not just for positions in marketing, advertising or media, but also for consulting, finance or venture capital — and other fields that aren’t automatically associated with social media. There is strong demand; and to remain at the frontier of business innovation and to be cutting-edge, [business schools] need to have social media in the curriculum.”
Albeit a very new development, the top business schools clearly feel that social networking is a marketing trend that is here to stay and feel that their students will benefit greatly from studying how to implement it into the world of business.