6 Tips for Professionals Going Back to College for a Marketing Degree

3 min read · 7 years ago


Times have changed and some college degrees have become irrelevant over the years. While nothing replaces experience, it’s true that the marketing education you received 10, 20, or 30 years ago isn’t as relevant as it once was. The Internet has changed the way brands interact with consumers and many seasoned professionals are heading back to the classroom to take classes in online marketing.

Evolution of Marketing

Business processes have changed across the board over the last few decades, but perhaps no area of business has been more heavily transformed than marketing. The advent of the Internet completely transformed the way businesses approach branding and exposure, and a large portion of every major company’s annual marketing budget is allocated towards Internet-specific marketing.

While the growth of the Internet has been huge, it’s the explosion of mobile devices, social media, and limitless connectivity that have really taken Internet marketing to new heights. If you earned your degree more than 5 or 10 years ago, it’s entirely probable that the curriculum you were taught—save the overarching principles—is no longer relevant. And while nothing can substitute for hands-on learning, everyone could benefit from going back to the classroom and investing in learning.

Tips for Going Back to School

However, for someone who’s been out of an academic setting for years, it can be challenging to return to the classroom. In order to better master the transition, let’s take a look at some of the top tips for handling this new challenge:

  • Remain motivated. There will be times where you’ll want to give up or walk away. During these times, it’s important that you remember why you’re in the classroom and remain motivated. Practically speaking, the best way to do this is by giving yourself visual and mental reminders each day. Try writing a mission statement for your time in school and post it somewhere where you see it every day. With this motivation as the launching pad, you can begin to tackle any academic difficulties using the power of personal motivation.
  • Research the school. As you know, not every school or degree program is created equal. Before signing up for classes, read up on the institutions you’re interested in and find out about their reputations. Will the degree look good on your resume and do leaders in the industry recognize these programs? The last thing you want to do is spend months or years getting a degree only to realize it has a poor reputation. As Daren Upham, VP of enrollment at Western Governors University, says, your education is “an investment that can provide returns for the rest of your working life, so take the time to choose the one that is right for you.”
  • Create a conducive environment. You’ll need a good place to study. Ideally, you should set up an office or room in your home that is set aside for doing homework and studying. You should have good lighting, minimal distractions, and plenty of room for laying out notes and books.
  • Develop a routine. In case you forgot, you’re going to need a structured routine to succeed. For starters, make sure you complete daily assignments on time and always keep up with reading. Falling behind is what keeps most returning students from succeeding in the classroom. It’s also wise to review your syllabus at the beginning of the semester and sketch out a rough study schedule for the coming weeks and months.
  • Ask for help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, asking for help is something the best students do. Whether you need help writing an essay or understanding a difficult concept, making strides to find help inside and outside of the classroom is critical to succeeding.
  • Make connections. While it can be tempting to isolate yourself, taking time to interact with classmates and professors is important. These connections can prove valuable both in the classroom and down the road. One student may be able to help you better prepare for a test, while a professor may give you a recommendation for a job in the future. You never know who’s sitting next to you, so take the time to build solid relationships.

Never Stop Learning

For marketing professionals, it’s important to understand the constant evolution of the industry. As processes, techniques, and technologies change, so should you. There is no use in fighting this change and your ability to adapt to the demands of this fluid industry will dictate your long-term success. When returning to school for a new marketing degree, keep these tips in mind. They’ll help you succeed and ease the burden of what can be a difficult transition for many. And while the stresses of the classroom can seem like too much at times, the knowledge you gain will help you remain competitive and effective in your job for years to come.

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