B-Schools Now Offer Social Networking Courses

More and more companies want recruiters to bring in candidates with social media knowledge, but mere familiarity with LinkedIn, Twitter and the like is not enough. These are professional communications channels that require understanding of the technology and the community that uses it, Fiona Mackay wrote Tuesday in the New York Times.

“When it comes to interviewing younger graduates for social media-focused roles,” says Mark Begley, head of creative and design recruitment at the London-based recruitment company Major Players, “they might live and breathe this way of communicating in their personal lives, but the problem is that they can’t transfer this experience into the commercial world.”

To remedy that, several top schools–Harvard Business School, London Business School, INSEAD, HEC Paris–now include courses on social networks in their MBA curriculums.

Professor Andrew Stephen, an assistant professor of marketing at INSEAD, offers a hugely popular MBA elective called “advertising and social media strategy.”

Stephen’s classes combine original lectures, guest lectures and case discussions of recent social media marketing campaigns, and students must also participate in a team project developing and implementing social media marketing strategies for real-world clients, Mackay explains.

Classes in “Internet Marketing” at London Business School also revolve around real, hands-on projects with actual clients. There is little known for sure about what works, in terms of marketing strategies, on the Internet. For this reason the class at LBS also emphasized the importance of empiricism in online marketing strategy, professor Daniel Goldstein tells Mackay.

“MBA curriculums are geared toward students with business intelligence, knowledge of communication trends and a flair for innovation,” Mackay writes. “Social network courses aim to build on their existing skills to teach an understanding of social media, of how to build marketing strategies within social networks and of how to track their effectiveness.”

You can learn more about how business schools are responding to the demand for use of social media here.

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