Five Unexpected Courses that Prepare You for a Career in Marketing

As you begin earning your degree, it’s important to leverage every opportunity to stand out among the crowd of future job seekers. And it starts in the classroom.

Preparing for a career in marketing isn't just about getting through your required courses and getting that piece of paper at graduation. It entails taking advantage of every opportunity your program offers, including elective courses.

Contrary to what some students may think about general elective courses, they aren’t designed just to fill up your class schedule or lengthen the time it takes to complete your degree. Rather they are best used as a way to become a well-rounded professional.

If you are looking for a way to one-up your fellow future job seekers then preparing for your future success starts with your electives…right here, right now. And not just any electives, but ones that will transform you into an invaluable future marketer.

As you complete your marketing degree here are five subject areas to take electives in that can better prepare you for becoming a top-notch marketing professional throughout your career.

Helpful Courses for Your Marketing Career

1. Design

Why You Should Take It:

From creating billboards, print ads or even websites, working in marketing means that you will work on a variety of different types of projects. And while you may not be the one actually designing, knowledge in this area will enable you to effectively communicate your creative ideas to those who will be. 

What You Will Learn:

By taking a course about the basic elements of design, you will be able to “speak the language” of your designers.  And believe me, you will earn their respect if you are able to discuss many of the design fundamentals like color, contrast and composition that go into creating branded marketing materials.

Course Title Examples: Multimedia Design, Web Design or Typography

2. Law

Why You Should Take It:

It’s important to understand the laws and regulations that may impact the marketing activities you will be involved in. Knowledge in this area will help your company avoid any costly legal missteps, like this one from Papa John’s.

By being aware of these laws from the start, you will be better able to avoid any legal issues that could put your organization in the news and you in a very uncomfortable meeting with your boss and the legal department.

What You Will Learn:

In most business or internet law courses you can expect to learn about a variety of different laws and how they apply to business activities both on and offline. Including everything from copyright to privacy laws and everything in-between, you will develop an understanding of which laws and regulations impact different organizations and how to steer clear of breaking them.

Course Title Examples: Internet Law, Business Law or Copyright Law

3. Psychology

Why You Should Take It:

For anyone working in marketing it’s important to understand who your customers are and how they think so you can decide how to best market your product or services to them. The more you understand the psychology behind how your customers make decisions, the better you will be able to create effective messaging that resonates with them.

What You Will Learn:

Classes in psychology or consumer behavior will cover how the mental decision-making process works and how external influences can impact customer behavior and motivation. By developing this understanding you can begin to see things from your customers' perspective, which will help you better promote your product in the marketplace.

Course Title Examples: Consumer Behavior, Psychology or Critical Thinking

4. Statistics

Why You Should Take It:

Did you know that the majority of marketing activities are data-driven? It’s true; market research enables organizations to collect data, such as demographic information or consumer ratings to learn more about their customers. By being comfortable working with numbers you can stand out at work by being able to uncover key insights within a dataset to identify opportunities and trends that will influence future business decisions.

What You Will Learn:

By taking courses in statistics you will learn about the basic principles of statistics like correlation and probability while using different tools like Microsoft Excel and other programs to collect, manipulate and indentify insights from a dataset. This will enable you to better understand who, why and what the data is saying so you can determine what business decisions to make next.

Course Title Examples: Business Statistics, Microsoft Excel or Data Analytics

5. Journalism

Why You Should Take It:

It doesn’t matter if you are writing an ad, a research report or social media update – journalism and writing skills are something that future top-notch marketers must possess. But not just any writing skills; journalism specifically because it’s important to understand the fundamentals of writing for a targeted audience whether it be for a blog post, website or anything else.

What You Will Learn:

Journalism courses will teach you fundamental journalistic principles, such as using the inverted pyramid, developing attention-grabbing headlines and writing for a specific audience – all of which are skills vital to marketing. As you make every effort to educate, engage and attract new customers, having these skills will go a long way in helping you do just that. 

Course Title Examples: Mass Communications, Copy Editing, Journalism

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Grant works for Collegis education and writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. He aims to inspire, motivate and inform current and prospective students.

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