Graduate business students increasingly opt for marketing internships

Media Credit: File Photo by Arielle Bader | Staff Photographer

Senior Antonia Simas Magalhães, the president of the GW chapter of the American Marketing Association, said her organization has hosted programs for students interested in marketing jobs.

A growing proportion of students in the two-year Global Master of Business Administration program have pursued marketing internships this year, according to a newly released School of Business report.

Half of students pursuing a Global MBA who accepted an internship worked in marketing or sales this year, compared to 18 percent in 2018 and 25 percent in 2017. Faculty and experts said the increase follows rapid growth in the marketing industry worldwide, mostly as the field grows digitally.

The Global MBA program allows students to conduct research on an international business for seven weeks and travel abroad for two weeks to deliver findings to the company’s leadership, according to the business school website.

Donna Hoffman, a professor of marketing, said generous pay incentivizes students to seek out marketing internships above other fields.

Marketing and sales interns earn about $1,500 more per month than the average Global MBA intern, the business school reported. The mean monthly compensation for marketing and sales internships this year reached the highest amount in at least three years – $6,000 per month, up from $3,800 in 2018 and $5,000 in 2017, according to survey data from students.

Hoffman said specialized graduate certificate programs in the business school, like the digital marketing and communications certificate, prepare students to succeed in marketing internships.

“Why wouldn’t you go to a job like that?” Hoffman said. “We offer the training to our students, and then they’re ready to take these well-paying, really exciting internships.”

She added that the growth of artificial intelligence and social media has made it “critical” for firms to hire tech-savvy marketers who can navigate an increasingly technological world.

“Consumers are interacting, increasingly online, but also increasingly with smart things online, and also in their physical world,” she said. “This is what’s happening. This is where the jobs are.”

Nationwide, advertising and marketing companies made up almost 10 percent – the greatest share – of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies based on percentage revenue growth, according to an August analysis released by Inc., a weekly business magazine.

Pradeep Rau, a professor of marketing, said the increase is “remarkable.” He said the rise of social media in recent years has created new marketing intern opportunities in digital media beyond traditional print advertisements.

Rau said students may be drawn to the more “analytic” marketing on digital platforms. He said digital platforms, like social media, allow for customized, targeted marketing to an individual consumer.

“It may reflect the general increase in focus on data analytics brought about by the greater focus on digital marketing and social media in marketing programs of companies,” Rau said.

Senior Antonia Simas Magalhães, the president of the GW chapter of the American Marketing Association – a student organization revived last October that offers networking opportunities to students – said the increase “makes a lot of sense” because she has seen increasing undergraduate and graduate student interest in her organization since it restarted.

Simas Magalhães said her organization has hosted different programs, like Adobe Photoshop workshops and events with research professionals, over the past few months to cater to wide marketing interests and to teach marketing skills.

She said many people have a narrow perception of the marketing field, but marketing internships include a broad range of jobs, including graphic design and sales.

“It’s universal – anybody can join,” Simas Magalhães said. “There are so many new marketing careers now, especially with the new digital era.”

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