New MBA Courses Focus on Social Media Strategy

Last Updated Apr 19, 2010 2:20 PM EDT

For the past two Tuesdays, I've posted excerpts from my recent interview with Harvard Business School's Srikant Datar and David A. Garvin about their new book Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads. One factor they mentioned as being imperative to the continued success of MBA programs was providing students with the portfolio of skills that recruiters are looking for.

The New York Times recently wrote about one such skill: social media strategy. As part of its Special Report on International Education, the article "Business Schools Respond to Demand for Use of Social Media" reported:

Several top business schools are incorporating courses on social networks into their MBA curriculums. These include Harvard Business School; London Business School; Insead, the international business school based in Fontainebleau, France; and the École des Hautes Études Commerciales, known as H.E.C., in Paris.
The courses go beyond the basics of maintaining an active Facebook page or uploading videos to YouTube. The Times quoted recruiter Mark Begley as saying, "When it comes to interviewing younger graduates for social media-focused roles, they might live and breathe this way of communicating in their personal lives, but the problem is that they can't transfer this experience into the commercial world."

The classes largely focus on using social media marketing strategies and effectively tracking the results of social media marketing campaigns. Professors rely heavily on case studies and guest lecturers from the online world, as social media marketing is still a highly developing field with no set rules as of yet.

The Times quotes Insead professor Andrew Stephen:

Social media is the 'Wild West' of advertising and marketing communications channels. It is a fast-growing, ever-evolving, innovative and entrepreneurial space that, despite its increasing ubiquity, is not well understood from a strategic marketing perspective.
Perhaps working ad executives could also benefit from sitting in on a class or two.

Image courtesy of Flickr user webtreats, CC 2.0.

  • Stacy Blackman

    Stacy Sukov Blackman is president of Stacy Blackman Consulting, where she consults on MBA admissions. She earned her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and her Bachelor of Science from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Stacy serves on the Board of Directors of AIGAC, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, and has published a guide to MBA Admissions, The MBA Application Roadmap.