B-Schools Boost Social Media Offerings

Do you consider yourself “in the know” when it comes to social media? If so, that knowledge just may provide an all-important edge when the time comes to parlay your MBA into a stellar job offer.

B-Schools such as Harvard, Columbia, London Business School, INSEAD and HEC Paris have begun adding courses on social media to their MBA curricula, addressing the corporate demand for social-network-savvy employees, BusinessWeek recently reported.

“In the realm of technology it’s possible for us to teach our students a tool that their bosses don’t have, and they can provide that added value from day one,” says John Gallaugher, associate professor of information systems at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management.

“Social media skills are the ones that can set them apart. Those are the skills that employers are looking for.”

Who’s Teaching What, and Where

Columbia Business School offers four Internet marketing courses, BW reports. Two of them, “Social Media,” taught by Rachel Sterne, CEO of GroundReport.com,  and “Media and Technology,” taught by New York Times technology columnist David Pogue, will be offered for the first time next spring, according to professor Rajeev Kohli, chair of the Columbia marketing division.

A new social media course at Stanford Graduate School of Business on the “Power of Social Technology,” taught by marketing professor Jennifer Aaker, promotes social good through nonprofit businesses.

Meanwhile at Harvard Business School, professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski introduced a second-year elective course, “Competing with Social Networks,” last fall and BW says 172 students enrolled””three for every available seat.

INSEAD professor Andrew Stephen created the “Advertising and Social Media Strategy” course after joining the faculty in June 2009 to address what he saw as a need to train MBAs in nontraditional marketing techniques, says BW. The two-month course made its debut in January of this year. “My feeling was that all the B-schools were lagging behind in preparing MBA students for dealing with the new media landscape,” he explains.

The online syllabus for the “Internet Marketing” course at LBS speaks to an emphasis in hands-on learning. Students participate in the Google Online Marketing Challenge, running an online advertising campaign that will benefit a real business, the syllabus says. Student teams taking part in the challenge develop a strategy, assess the results of the campaign, and make recommendations for the company, according to the Google website.

Students’ need to learn about Internet marketing and social media strategy couldn’t be more apparent, with 190 million users on Twitter’s social networking site and Facebook reporting 500 million active members.Tomorrow’s MBAs have got to be able to develop and manage marketing strategies that address the nuances of the online world.

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