So what do you think – should an MBA curriculum include some social media?
Last year watching my teenage boys my response would have been a simple no – they grew up in social media. Then I decided to add to my own MBA a Master’s Certificate in Social Media. Now about half a year into the experience and being thrust into this ocean of tools I find my teenagers have been useless in helping with my homework. Sure they are active on Facebook, Skype on a regular basis, why one follows Nike and can tell me about the latest on soccer cleats from around the world, and yes they can text like wild-fire but they do it because this is how they communicate with friends. The idea that it can be useful to market a product around the globe; that there are thousands of tools out there and that different people like different tools; and how great it is to be able to see what customers think of your products, good and bad, is all foreign. The most I got was that blogging is not for high school and it did not get much better seeking help from a few college students.
So lets step away from the teens and talk about job interviews. My background is in industrial manufacturing and as you know I have a soft spot for caused based nonprofits. Well I think if you took your MBA to a consumer or retail company, they would certainly expect some experience in social media, or at least you would be more likely to get the job, with it. The same is probably true of larger nonprofits, who are quickly learning engagement is great for improving the lifetime value of a donor. A smaller nonprofit may see the potential, with some fear and excitement, again social media experience will likely improve your odds.
Now we come to B2B, there is increasing activity on some sites like LinkedIn for sure, but if we judge from my last 2 interviews I am not sure if social media is an edge or a flag of concern – at best it will depend on the company. Despite this I think most companies may think some marketing experience would be good for an executive and being able to understand customers even better. Now that I am engaging and seeing the unbelievable power to be able to network around the globe – I have drawn the line.
The industrial business to business sector, with no consumer engagement, has always been slow to engage in brand management. Still for many, unfortunately, it will be a PR issue that spreads like a wild-fire across social media channels before the front office gets curious. Social Media is part of being serious about customer service and delivering a better experience, those on board will be ahead of the curve.
So my vote is YES!!!!! if you are working on an MBA do yourself a favor and add a marketing class with a strong social media element. It is the best way to engage with customers and employees regularly and to learn what is important to them and where they talk. Then find a way to deliver; before they announce to the world just how well you are performing. If you already have the MBA, I would suggest getting engaged, and a little push with a class may help you find the time and remove all the excuses!
So what do you think, do you agree or have a different position?