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What Can You Do With a Communications MBA Degree?

“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”

– Sydney J. Harris, Journalist

You’ve always been able to get your point across to others and demonstrate your ability to listen carefully and understand what they’re saying to you. You’re gently, effectively persuasive, and have a knack for knowing how to phrase and frame your perspective in ways that produce results for you, your employers, and the people that you interact with. If so, you might be ready to enhance your credentials and career in communications.

Communications professionals are:

  • Patient: You won’t always be able to reach people and audiences immediately, nor get the response you’re looking to provoke and foster. Successful communications professionals accept their shortcomings, note where their efforts fell short, recalibrate their approach, and then try again.
  • Empathetic: To be a successful communications businessperson, you need to understand what people and audiences are feeling. With that understanding, you’ll get way better results when reaching out to individuals and audiences.
  • Persuasive: Perhaps the most important for communications professionals, you need to be able to use many different mediums (oral, visual, textual, and more) to convince individuals and target demographics of many diverse messages that they might not be receptive to at first.
  • Results Oriented: Your communications efforts need to make an impact on your business or organization. This impact can be measured in more engagement with the products or services your organization offers, positive responses from current customers, and other outcomes. What’s most important is getting a measurable rise in profitability as a direct result of your communication efforts. Being able to track and measure these results is essential to your success.
  • Adaptable: Events in your organization, and in the lives of the people it serves will change constantly. Can you still create effective, valuable communication efforts with slashed budgets, changing staff, in the face of current events that may invalidate previous efforts, among many other changing circumstances?
  • Resourceful: Successful communications professionals can do a lot with a little. You won’t always have lots of money or staff backing up your communication strategies and campaigns, but you’ll need to find ways to amplify your communication campaigns, getting your message to the most people possible, and making sure it reaches those it’s supposed to.
  • Among many other important qualities.

Organizations of all sizes and missions need dedicated professionals that can help them build, satisfy and interact with the audiences and demographics they serve.

Effective communication between a business and the public is essential to organizational success because public-facing organizations exist through the relationships they create and foster with the help of their communications staff. By earning an MBA in Communications, you can get a significant portion of the training and experience you’ll need to be invaluable communication professional in multiple organizations across America and the world.

An MBA in Communications can lead to many lucrative, upwardly mobile careers. Because communications is an essential part of any business, there will always be a high demand for qualified, accredited communication professionals that hold graduate degrees. But by earning an MBA in Communications, you’ll get a better understanding and a more thorough skill set not only in communications, but also an upper-level grasp of what goes into running a successful business, and how that interacts with an organizations’ communications strategy and staff.

If you have an aptitude for promoting cohesion and comprehension through communications, an undergraduate degree, and some experience working in business or business communications environments, a Communications MBA degree might be right for you. So what comprises a Communications MBA degree program? Let’s explore.

What is a Communications MBA?

A Communications MBA combines the business curriculum of an MBA program with the social sciences, psychology, marketing, and liberal arts (among other disciplines) that make up the curriculum of an MS in Communications. When you search for these programs online, you’ll see people writing about taking an MBA program and an MS in Communications to gain the skills and experience you can garner in this one compact degree.

Most MBA’s in Communication degrees are primarily MBA programs that offer a concentration in communication. That means you’ll take courses in:

  • Economics
  • Supply chains
  • Business laws
  • Business ethics
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • And much more.

Of course, business courses closely interface with communications courses in many ways. Your coursework in MBA Communications programs will help you learn to solve common business problems, foster cooperation and collaboration between peers and employees, study human resource management, understand how to create and improve internal corporate communications, plus learn how to best reach and serve your clients. You’ll also explore public relations, media strategy, and organizational communication and ethics, among many other outcomes.

Your communications coursework will likely tackle areas like:

  • Business writing
  • Managerial communications
  • Persuasion
  • Corporate communications
  • Global communications
  • Strategic communications
  • Marketing
  • Communications law
  • Communications and culture
  • Interpersonal communications and interviewing
  • Reputation Management
  • Essentials of Political Communication
  • Effective Virtual Communication
  • Among other courses and areas of study.

At the longest, an MBA in Communications should take 3 or more years to earn. However, there are accelerated programs, full-time programs, part-time, and other delivery formats that can lessen or raise the amount of time it will take you to earn one of these degrees.

What to Consider When Searching for a Communications MBA

  • What is your career and educational experience? How has it prepared and motivated you to study and work in business and communications?
  • If you have significant sales or social media experience (among other specializations) that can help shape your choices among applicable programs.
  • How much can you afford in tuition for your MBA in Communications degree, and what kinds of loans would you need to take to pay for one? It’s best to take out public over private loans, and even better to select a school with tuition you can afford.
  • Depending on where you work, your employer might at least partially sponsor your tuition for a Communications MBA.
  • How much time can you commit to a Communications MBA daily, weekly, and in total before it’s completed?
  • The delivery format you take will greatly influence your Communications MBA schedule. Consider whether you’d prefer a full-time program, part-time, traditional on-campus programs, online programs, or a combination of both online and traditional study.
  • What positions and areas of business do you want to work in, and how can an MBA in Communications specifically set you up for success in them?
  • What are your immediate career goals? How would an MBA in Communications help you accomplish them?
  • Where would you like to live and work during and after earning your MBA in Communications degree?
  • Some cities, states, and regions have a greater demand for communications professionals than others.

These are only a few of the options you should consider while looking for an MBA in Communications. Let’s look at some adjacent programs:

Communications MBAs Vs Related Degrees

There are many degrees that are related to Communications MBAs. Common ones include:

  • Master of Science in Communications
  • Human Resources MBA
  • Marketing MBA
  • Social Media MBA
  • And many more.

So why should you take a Communications MBA instead of one of these other degrees?

MBA degrees were among the first degrees to offer online, distance, and flexible, part-time formats so students could complete them on a schedule, and with a format that best fit their lives. You’re far more likely to be able to maintain your ongoing life and work responsibilities in an online or part-time MBA program than you would in a traditional, on-campus degree program.

MBAs are widely known and respected degrees that employers throughout the business world know and covet. They’ll understand the training you’re getting in a way they might not in a Master of Science in Communication program. Many employers are also willing to help with tuition for their workers that want to earn an MBA. Earning an MBA is an excellent route to getting a promotion from your current employer, and it can also lead to a vast array of new career opportunities at other organizations.

An MBA is an extremely well-rounded program that gives you a breadth of skills and understanding that apply throughout the business world. Instead of in a typical communications program, where you’d focus on that aspect of a business, you’ll learn how businesses function across the board, giving you a better understanding of the factors that influence and govern a communications effort at an organization.

Finally you’ll get the skills you’ll need to excel in communications positions, including how to integrate best practices on social media, use qualitative research methods, and build a foundation in public relations principles that will serve you throughout your career. While other related degrees will give you aspects of this education, a Communications MBA offers all of it in one degree program.

Now that you know why a Communications MBA sets you apart, let’s look at the work we’ve done to help you in your search for an MBA in Communications, or another MBA degree:

How Can We Help You Get a Communications MBA?

Here at MBACentral we’ve done significant work to help you find business degrees (through our rankings), connected you to a number of resources through our feature writing, and answered common questions about MBA degrees through our FAQ hubs. Here is some of the content we’ve produced that you’ll likely find helpful:

We’re constantly updating our content, so make sure to check back soon for more content and resources that will help you find and get into graduate business degree programs that are right for you. Whenever you see a school or program that you think is a good fit, help yourself out and reach out to them directly to get more information about their program, and get assistance in the application process.

Can You Get a Communications MBA Online?

Getting a higher education online is becoming increasingly popular. MBA degrees, in particular, are known for their online and part-time options. MBA programs were among the first to offer night classes, weekend classes, and distance education programs, even before the Internet was invented. This means there’s a long history of schools offering MBA degrees in non-traditional formats, and also serving students of different ages and backgrounds. MBA students are often in their late twenties through their fifties and work full-time.

A traditional, on-campus program is definitely some people’s preference for earning their degree, but by taking one online you’ll:

  • Have more choices over when and where you study and do coursework.
  • Pay less than you would at a traditional, on-campus program.
  • Find programs that let you take courses at your own pace.
  • Won’t need to move or leave your job to earn your degree.

Some potential drawbacks of an online program include:

  • Not getting to spend significant time in person with likeminded peers.
  • Won’t be able to build in-person relationships with your professors.
  • You’ll need to exercise more discipline and self-direction than in traditional programs.
  • Less access to networking and other support events than in traditional, on-campus programs.

What works best for others might not be best for you. By carefully considering your options you can make an informed choice that will give you the best chance at success not just in your MBA program, but in your career as well.

If you’re definitely interested in an online MBA in Communications, make sure to peruse our ranking of The 15 Best Online Communications MBA Degree Programs for 2019.

If you’re not sure what degree you want, click over to our FAQ section to see all of your MBA options, or head to our rankings page to get more information about many different types of MBA programs.

How Do You Get in to a Communications MBA Program?

The first thing you need to do is decide that you want an MBA in Communications. Once that’s settled (in part by using this guides description of MBA Communications degree programs and career options) you should look at a pool of MBA Communications programs using several criteria.

Only look at programs that are regionally accredited. This guarantees credits from the program can transfer to other accredited programs, you’ll have access to federal financial aid, plus current and future employers will respect your degree.

Because these are MBA programs that specialize in communications, make sure the communications classes offered by a particular program match your needs and career goals.

Now that you’ve whittled down available Communications MBA programs, you can explore their admissions criteria. What undergraduate GPA do they require? How many years of work experience? Specific GMAT scores? Do they ask for references, or letters of recommendations, and if so, how many? Do you qualify for their standards? If not are there things you can do to increase your chances by mitigating certain areas you’re weaker in with others you’re stronger in? Can you reach out to school support staff and alumni to find out what you can do to better your chances, or if there are specific criteria that are more solidly required than others?

Carefully examine the financial requirements. How much does the program cost? How many students receive financial aid? Will your employer help pay for the program? Talk to the financial aid professionals of the school you’re interested in, and complete your Federal financial aid application (FAFSA). Most students who follow these steps don’t end up paying the entire listed amount of tuition schools list for their programs.

If you meet the different bars for entry to the program, and the finances make sense for you, it’s time to study how to make the best application for the program you want. There are dozens of online resources that will help you choose people for letters of recommendation, raise your GMAT school, and get into business school. Whenever you can talk to professionals at the school, you’re interested in, and alumni of the program you want to attend.

If you’re definitely interested in an online MBA in Communications, make sure to peruse our ranking of The 15 Best Online Communications MBA Degree Programs for 2019.

If you’re not sure what degree you want, click over to our FAQ section to see all of your MBA options, or head to our rankings page to get more information about many different types of MBA programs.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Communications MBA Degree?

There are many jobs and career paths that a Communications MBA can qualify and prepare you for. Some of the most common include:

  • Business Executive
  • Human resources manager
  • Public relations manager
  • Marketing executive or manager
  • Advertising executive or manager
  • Media planner or buyer
  • Web content or social media manager
  • Communication specialist or manager

Business executives work in roles like CEO, Senior Vice Presidents, and other top-level positions across the business world. They are responsible for overseeing a company and have specific responsibilities related to their titles and the departments they supervise. Their income varies greatly, but they can expect to earn over $100,000 a year, and potentially much, much more depending on the organization and industry they work in, as well as the area they live in.

Human resources managers devise, organize, and supervise an organization’s administrative processes. They manage recruiting, interviewing, hiring, work with top executives on high-level organizational planning, and form a conduit between an organization’s management and its employees. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017 they earned a median pay $110,120 per year or $52.94 per hour. There were 136,100 of these jobs in 2016, and BLS expects a 9% growth in these roles between 2016-26, which translates to 12,300 new jobs.

Public relations managers plan and supervise the development of all efforts to build and improve the public standing of their employers or organizations. According to BLS, in 2017 they earned a median pay of $111,280 annually or $53.50 per hour. BLS predicted a 10% growth in these roles between 2016-26, which translates to 7,700 new jobs on top of the estimated 73,500 that were working in these roles in 2016.

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers create the programs, ads, and other promotional materials and campaigns that generate interest in an organization’s products or services. They liaise with art and sales departments to produce their campaigns. BLS found that there were 249,600 of these positions in 2016, and their 2017 median pay was $129,380 annually, and $62.20 per hour. They predicted a 10% growth in these roles between 2016-26, leading to 23,800 new positions.

These are just some of the roles you’ll be prepared to work in after earning an MBA in Communications. As businesses continue to adapt to using the Internet in their communication efforts, they are creating new roles and evolving responsibilities in those that exist. By getting an MBA in Communications today, you’ll get an up-to-date education that will give you the knowledge and skills of those who have come before you, along with the latest information about developments within the field.

If you think you’re interested in a Communications MBA be sure to check out our ranking of the Best Online Communications MBAs today!

Further Reading