Study on Marketing Courses & How to Expand them at CNU

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To: Ronnie Cohen, Director of Luter School of Business

CC: Robert E. Colvin, Dean of College of Social Sciences

From: Brianna Yeager – Marketing

Date: March 20, 2015

Re: Social Media Concentration

As a student at Christopher Newport University, I am proud to be a part of the Luter School of Business.  I am currently a second-semester junior majoring in marketing who entered into the business school last Spring.  So far, my experience as a marketing student at Christopher Newport University has been excellent.  The class sizes are just big enough so as to allow engagement between other students, yet small enough to engage  with my professors on a personal level.  I have enjoyed every single one of my professors thus far and would take their classes over again if I could.  I am also involved with the Luter School of  Business Mentorship Program that has networked connected me with a great mentor to seek advice for my future career path.  The business school also offers its students many opportunities to join clubs, run for leadership positions, and connects us with professionals for internships and jobs.  There are not many bad things I can say about the Luter School of Business, because it is so great and I have learned many valuable lessons so far during my education here.  However, I feel in comparison to other schools in Virginia there is room for improvement to further lead the marketing students into success.

While looking at business schools’ marketing programs across Virginia, the conclusion of the study was that the Luter School of Business could be improved in some areas.  For example, Virginia Tech’s Pamplin School of Business offers many different types of marketing electives for their students.  They offer a variety of courses such as: sports marketing, marketing research, marketing channels, social media, public relations and marketing, public interest, buyer-seller relationships, and many more.  They have a bigger and broader marketing department so their students are able to seek a deeper understanding of the marketing field and to touch on more specific topics within the field as well. With more courses, students can feel more confident entering the marketing workforce because we have more experience in our undergraduate program.   Adding more marketing courses to our program will allow students to choose what courses they feel are important for each career path chosen and will let us make that experience more useful because we will be using it in our full-time job.  For example, if a student was majoring in marketing because he or she solely wanted to be involved with advertising for sports, then a sports marketing course would be ideal for him/her because it would give him the experience he needs to be successful.  But without courses like that, we are forced to just gain a broad knowledge in marketing and not be able to specialize in any given area.

There are so many career paths a student can take and so many different types of jobs for the marketing field.  Any and every business needs a marketing department because businesses have to get their name and brand out in the world.  So that creates a need for marketers to be able to understand every different field in marketing but that is impossible when we are just given a broad knowledge of the marketing and aren’t able to specialize in any one area.  It puts us at a disadvantage once we graduate and start searching for a full-time job because other students at competing schools are going to have experience with sports marketing courses, advertising, or social media.  Our classes touch on those subjects but not enough to beat out our competition.

Allowing students to be able to choose more direct courses for their desired career path will enable us to be more successful and would attract more students to the school.  Also adding on the ability to major in marketing with a concentration in a given field such as direct marketing, social media, or advertising, will help us nail the job we are searching for quicker and easier.  The marketing department at Christopher Newport University will benefit greatly with the addition of more marketing courses and professors to help further our education and success as marketers.  Thank you for your time and consideration concerning the additions to the marketing department.

Abstract

“Study on Marketing Courses & How to Expand it at Christopher Newport”

Prepared by: Brianna Yeager, Junior Marketing Student

In March 2015, I conducted a study  of how to improve the educational satisfaction of marketing students at Christopher Newport University. The dissatisfaction with the lack of course diversity and selection has caused students to have feelings of concern as the they embark the real-world with their marketing degree. Because of my peer’s  concerns about the small number of marketing courses offered at Christopher Newport University and being incapable of selecting a concentration within our major, I have proposed research options for meeting the students needs during their undergraduate years. First, I researched the marketing departments in colleges and universities across Virginia to get a better understanding of the marketing major and courses offered at different business schools. I concluded that Christopher Newport University, in fact, offers a far lesser selection of courses than most other schools in Virginia. I then conducted a survey to support my argument, completed by actual marketing students at CNU to directly understand what courses they feel should be offered as part of our curriculum and if they perceive marketing concentrations as beneficial. Based on my online research and questionnaire, I recommend that Christopher Newport University consider adding more courses to the marketing department to satisfy the students’  needs and desires as they enrich their future here. By offering more courses and a broader selection, the students are likely to be more successful post graduation and will motivate students with an interest in marketing to pursue it as a major.

Keywords: marketing, courses, selection, electives, satisfaction, concentration, major

Executive Summary

Christopher Newport University has a reputation for offering a high-quality educational experience and being responsive to  student requests because  it is said to always put “Students First.” The University goes above and beyond to meet the needs of its students, faculty, and staff by keeping an eye on all emerging problems and improvements that can be made to all departments.

Unfortunately, the majority of marketing students are dissatisfied with the variety and number of marketing courses offered in our department. Some students wish to take other courses that are on less broad topics and are focused on select topics inside of marketing. Those same students also feel less confident to enter into their desired career path   compared to marketing students at competing schools in Virginia. Rather than preparing the students for their future career in marketing, they are graduating feeling unprepared, having to spend and have to spend extra time studying for the career path they chose after school. Christopher Newport University does an excellent job providing a fantastic educational experience, however the lack of courses offered  are currently causing future marketing students to apply elsewhere and are creating concerns for current students.

The researched options for improving the marketing curriculum and concluded that offering more courses  and the option for concentrating in one area of marketing would enable the University  to meet the desires of its students. By consulting online sources,distributing an online questionnaire, and gathering opinions inside marketing classrooms, I have identified several options that could improve the marketing department and solve its problems completely.

After analyzing the data  collected, I recommend  that a more diversified selection of courses be offered to marketing students such as: advertising, sales, promotional marketing, social media, sports marketing, consumer psychology, design courses, and an additional digital marketing course. With these additional courses, students will be able to  gain a better appreciation and understand everything that the marketing field has to offer.  Students will most importantly gain more experience in the field and then later apply that to their full-time career to come after. Based on student  feedback, they would love to see these courses come to life at CNU and would also appreciate the ability to concentrate in a given topic of marketing such as: advertising, social media, direct marketing, interactive marketing, etc to put on their degree. With the ability to concentrate in an area, this enables students to land a job with ease in their desired field because some marketing students only enjoy advertising or digital design. The total cost of implementing a larger marketing department would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars because Professors have to be hired and salaries have to be paid for those courses but for a University that puts students first, it would be very beneficial and make the Luter School of Business even more competitive.

Introduction

The following report conveys data regarding student dissatisfaction on the selection of courses offered in the marketing major and considered options that could be implemented to improve satisfaction. It was concluded from the data that it would be best for the University to make additions to the curriculum by adding different courses, bring in more marketing professors that specialize in those new courses, and provide the ability for students to have a concentration within the marketing major to write on his or her diploma. I then researched different courses available to students at other schools in Virginia. I recommend that Christopher Newport University create additional courses to the marketing program and develop concentrations within the department.

The issue that this report addresses last is that students are not feeling comfortable and confident upon graduation because they don’t have enough experience in a job they want to apply for because they didn’t take a course in that field such as:  social media, advertising, or sports marketing.  The lack of courses is making students discouraged because students at competing schools were provided those courses and therefore have more experience in those areas and are beating them out for jobs.  The cost for expanding the marketing department is expensive  because new professors have salaries and the programs for each class. But the price for enriching the marketing student’s knowledge and experience is priceless. It can only benefit the CNU department by bringing in future prospective marketing students after seeing the new improvements to our marketing department in comparison to other schools.

Research Methods

1. I investigated … The marketing curriculum of  colleges and universities across Virginia was investigated to compare with  Christopher Newport University’s marketing department and see if its program actually is lacking. Data was collected from Marymount University, the University of Virginia, Averett University, Bridgewater College, Ferrum College, Hampton University, Lynchburg College, and Radford University.

2. I identified research through a questionnaire given out through e-mail to marketing students at Christopher Newport University to collect the most accurate and beneficial results to my research.  Through the use of Survey Monkey, I was able to send out a quick ten-question questionnaire to marketing students and retrieve their responses electronically.  With the survey, I was able to identify exactly what courses students are interested in taking and wish they had the option to take in order for them to feel more experienced. I also was able to collect data about whether students would like to be able to have concentrations within the marketing major and what other improvements could be made to make them more satisfied overall with the marketing department.

Results

In this section, I present the results of my research. I cover the extent of my fellow peers in the marketing major and their satisfactions and dissatisfactions within the marketing department.  I will be addressing their concerns with the lack of elective courses and the absence of marketing concentrations within the major. The following results correspond to the online research and survey described in the Research Methods section.

  • Investigating the Marketing Curriculum of Other Colleges/Universities

 After conducting research from every college/university business school website it was concluded that Christopher Newport University only offers marketing management, digital marketing, interactive marketing, consumer research, database marketing, internship in marketing, independent study in marketing, and a capstone courses. Whereas other schools offer anywhere from nine through fourteen.  Marymount University offers elective courses such as: marketing research, international marketing, sports marketing, retailing, event planning, sales skills & strategies, and advertising.  Those are all courses that are not offered at CNU. They also offer concentrations in marketing and have nine different majors that make up their business school compared to CNU’s four majors in the Luter School of Business. The University of Virginia offers elective courses in marketing that CNU doesn’t offer such as: managing brands, big data, consumer psychology, marketing intelligence, and developing new products & services. They also offer concentrations inside of the marketing major including: brand or product management, business to business marketing, market research and customer relationship management. Averett University only offers a masters degree in marketing, not an undergraduate degree but offer elective courses such as: market research & statistics, consumer behavior, brand management, and marketing to a global audience, none of which are offered to CNU students. Bridgewater College combines the management major and marketing major together but still offer a wide variety of marketing courses that every marketing student at CNU dreams of taking. They are: quantitative methods, marketing research, advertising, sales management, marketing strategy, international marketing, retail management, and business to business. Ferrum College only offers four marketing courses in total, so it was satisfactory to see that Christopher Newport University’s marketing department is doing great in those respects.  I was not able to find information on Hampton University’s marketing department, however, their business school is composed of thirteen undergraduate majors and only has 1,029 students. Lynchburg College has the most impressive marketing program with a total of fourteen elective courses. They are as follows: freshman seminar in marketing, social media marketing, principles of marketing, market research, sales & sales management, retailing and merchandising, services marketing, and e-marketing. The last University I conducted research on was Radford University. The Business School there is AACSB accredited and gives students the option to major or minor in marketing.

2. Investigating Research Through A Questionnaire

When conducting research through the questionnaire, a diverse group of marketing students at CNU was chosen.  When asked if a student was satisfied with the number of courses offered to the marketing major, two respondents said yes, while the other eight selected no. But when asked if they wish more marketing electives were offered, every single respondent answered affirmatively yes. With that said, the next question I asked was, “What courses do you wish were offered to Christopher Newport University marketing students?” The answers received were:  sports marketing, advertising, sales, another digital marketing course, design courses, consumer psychology, and social media. I then asked if the students wished there are concentrations within the marketing major like there are in biology and communications etc.  Every respondent answered yes, they wish they had a concentration in marketing.  The concentrations they wish to see are: data, social media, advertising, sports marketing, digital marketing, sales, and digital design. The tenth and final question of my survey asked students, “What other improvements would you like to see in the marketing department at Christopher Newport University?” The students answered that they would like classes to be offered before you sign for your major, meaning before you enter a junior standing. They also proposed more courses that will prepare us for actual jobs that we will be applying for, and more focus on digital marketing because that is the future of marketing.

Based on the research I conducted using other colleges/universities websites, I concluded that CNU is in fact lacking in the diversity of elective courses offered to its marketing students. We barely have any courses offered to us  in comparison to other schools in Virginia and we don’t have specific courses like they do.  Our business school is also very small in size compared to the other schools and doesn’t offer concentrations within the marketing major.  When evaluating my research conducted on the students, I concluded that students truly want to see more courses offered and a greater variety.  With varied courses in specific topics, students will feel more capable of landing a dream job of theirs. If the whole point of being in college is to gain experience and knowledge for your dream job, then it makes sense to offer classes that enable your students to do so.

References

Department of Marketing. (2015). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from http://www.radford.edu/content/cobe/home/academic-departments/marketing.html

Management, Marketing Concentration, BS. (2015). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from http://catalog.bridgew.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=7&poid=1786

Marketing. (2015). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from http://www.lynchburg.edu/marketing

Marketing. (2015). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from http://www.marymount.edu/Academics/School-of-Business-Administration/Undergraduate-Programs/Business-Administration/Program-Requirements/Business-Administration-(B-B-A-)/Concentrations/Marketing

Marketing Concentration. (2015). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from https://www.commerce.virginia.edu/undergrad/marketing

Marketing MBA Program: Lead in Marketing. (2015). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from http://gps.averett.edu/programs/master-degrees/mba-marketing/

School of Business. (2015). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from http://www.hamptonu.edu/academics/schools/business.cfm

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3MS5HBW

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