Is marketing a joke major? Ask around the business school and you’ll get the consensus that marketing majors are the lowest common denominator. The coursework is easy, the job prospects not so high, and the profession meaningless. In reality, the difference between a finance major and a marketing major is minimal. Marketing majors like myself memorized pointless information (did you know that consumers trust blue logos?), and finance majors memorize pointless information (formulas that are one google away). Both majors are graded based off how well they can memorize this information and regurgitate it on a scan-tron. The difference between the two is the entry level job market and starting salary, but the education is the same. Even knowing this, the stigma against marketing majors remains. This leads me to believe that the same students who claim that marketing is a joke major, are being fooled by the biggest marketing ploy in the world, college.
Great marketing (even if ethically wrong) can get you to buy a product solely for the brand name, even if the actually product is lackluster. The world’s best marketing can get you to pay $24,000 (4 years in a row), solely for the brand name, which is exactly what college does. If I handed you a brochure for every college in your state, but removed any mention of the schools name, would you really be able to tell the difference? What makes Virginia Tech’s business school better than George Mason’s, have we found a better way to teach business? The answer is no, we still take multiple choice tests, we still sit through pointless lectures, and we still pay for textbooks filled with definitions. Colleges don’t sell you on the amazing education you are about to receive. They sell you on the dining halls (Tech’s #1 in Food!), the sports teams, the schools name on your degree, the alumni network, and everything else you could imagine. These are still benefits, yes, but they aren’t the actual product. The education typically remains the same, no matter which school you choose.
If you attend community college for two years you could save between $12,000-$60,000. They teach Chemistry the exact same way as the 4 years school do, as well as every other class. The core product of college is flawed (which I wrote about earlier this week, “How College Courses Are Failing Students“). The education we are receiving is not deserving of the price we pay, but marketing leads us to believe it is. Have you ever wondered why so many colleges spam you with application mail? The reason is so that they can deny more students, lower their acceptance rate, and raise their schools ranking.
I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t apply to Virginia Tech because the education was better than other in-state schools. I decided to go here because my family went here, I’ve grown up going to football games, I loved the campus, none of which deal with the core product I’m buying. I’m not saying these things don’t matter, they do, but its all marketing.
All of the students in college that joke on marketing majors have no idea the amount of influence marketing has had and will have on their life. When searching for your first job, think hard about what the company is selling you on. Don’t be surprised when it’s the free beer on Friday’s and company outings, not the meaningful work you’ll be putting out into the world.
Thank you to everyone for reading and a special thank you to every person who shared my last post on college education. I certainly didn’t expect the amount of support I received. Because of your support, I’ll be meeting with the Dean of Business at Virginia Tech next Wednesday, as well as the Student Government Association in the near future. I’ll be bringing them ideas I have on how to fix some of the problems we face in education, as well as the problems you all have messaged me since the posts publication. As always, enter your information below if you’d like to get posts delivered directly to your inbox, once I get enough subscribers I have some cool things planned.