Marketing degrees practically useless. Let me explain.

Aspiring marketers looking for work after graduating are beginning to realise that what they’ve learned during their time at university is, to say the very least, inadequate.

Why? Because a lot of marketing degrees are all theory and no practice.

The truth of the matter is, many universities are out of touch when it comes to delivering course content that actually prepares students for entry-level marketing roles.

Whilst students are encouraged to learn complex theoretical frameworks to help them understand the broader marketing landscape, little attention is given to the practical, hands-on skills that employers actually look for when hiring marketing graduates.

These include skills such as Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Social Media Advertising, Search Engine Optimisation, Basic Photoshop Editing, E-Commerce, Email, Direct Response Copywriting, Content Marketing and so on.

Some students have had to take the initiative of purchasing additional training or other developmental programmes after graduating to fill the gaps that university left them with.

Subsequently, many students feel that they are not getting value for money from their marketing degree.

A 2018 survey of over 14,000 UK students revealed that courses related to business studies were voted the worst value for money out of all UK degrees.

And this comes as no surprise to many marketing students who also feel like the universities could be doing so much more.

So what’s the solution?

Firstly, universities should acknowledge that this is a problem that needs to be fixed. A heavy onus needs to be placed on those who are responsible for designing the curriculum.

Marketing faculty members should listen carefully to the feedback of alumni, especially that of which concerns course material and the challenges they face when attempting to find work after graduating.

The emphasis placed on theory needs to be equally placed on practice.

Faculty members should push course directors to start offering core modules within marketing degrees that focus on teaching the practical skills that students need for entry-level marketing roles.

If these practical modules are unable to be integrated alongside the core theory modules, then universities must offer them as free-of-charge extracurricular modules at the very least.

Then there’s the issue of recruitment. Going forward, universities should seek to hire lecturers who possess the required knowledge and experience to teach practical modules.

If they are unable to do so, then universities should outsource marketing practitioners with the relevant experience to help design the course material and train lecturers accordingly.

There will inevitably be hurdles to overcome when it comes to delivering and assessing practical modules, but it is up to course directors to be creative in their approach to this challenge.

Diversification of the marketing curriculum is a must if universities are to continue to attract students to enroll on marketing degrees in the future.