MBA Vs. Digital Marketing As A Career Option

Karan Shah, Founder & CEO, Indian Institute of Digital EducationAn alumnus Lajpatrai College of Commerce and Economics, Karan is a Tech enthusiast & a digital marketing trainer with vast experience in in the field of digital marketing and sales.

Master's in Business Administration, more commonly referred to as MBA, is probably the most sought-after master's program in the world ­ and if you're to believe all the uncles and aunties who vouch for it blindly, it is a magical golden ticket to success.

Every year, lakhs of aspirants try their luck at giving their G-MAT exams and put their wits to test. However, not many are able to get through, considering the high fee and cutthroat competition to get into world class MBA colleges. But is this grind actually even worth it?

The recent rise in jobs, predominantly in the digital field, has all-together questioned the idea of pursuing an MBA degree for wider career options. Jobs like graphic designing, web development and especially digital marketing have started to gain traction. But what's the reason of this shift from a prestigious degree like the omnipotent MBA to something relatively modern, like the field of digital?

And what do we mean with the field of digital? Well, have you seen ads on Facebook? How much time do you spend on Instagram on average? And what about the apps you use on your phone?

Well, who do you think is behind all these? Of course, digital skills. Digital marketing, coding, graphic design and analytics, all of them fit under this label. And why are they succeeding stereotypical degrees like an MBA?

Time Commitment
The MBA is an exhaustive 2-year post-graduate course. Which means if you plan on giving your G-MAT exams, which are your gateway into the world of MBA, directly after you finish your undergraduate course, you'll have to be preparing in the second or third year of college itself. Additional work experience before an MBA is also crucial to get into a good school. And imagine-studying and working at the same time! How incredibly difficult would it be to do both?

As a result, by the time you get into a good MBA school and complete your course, you're already 25-26, but are just starting out with your first jobs and salaries. This entire process is
very time consuming. Digital marketing, on the other hand, can be learned over a period of six months, which can be pursued after, or even during, college. You can start as early as 18 or 19 and get greater exposure and also get to save your money for a few years as opposed to doing an MBA program.

Financial Commitment
Time and money are the two most vital factors of work-life. MBA incidentally happens to be one of the most expensive courses to pursue. You invest an average of at least 20 lakhs doing an MBA course in a good school over a period of 2 years.

Also, the return on investment upon pursuing an MBA is perceived to be its salary. However, your average starting salary package after graduation is 8 lakhs, which definitely does increase with age and experience. But by the time you actually break even, you're about 30 years old. A digital marketing, or any digital skills course (like coding, graphic design, or even analytics), on the other hand has a Rs.1 lakh (maximum) investment in the course. Your salary package right after you graduate will be around Rs.3 lakhs, which means you've already broken even. What is more is that you will earn just as much as an MBA student would at the age of 30. So, not only do you save a few years, but also a lot of money.

No matter what the degree is, it's the skill that counts. A degree might get you a job, but it's the skill that will help you advance your career in the future

It is safe to say that MBA is now a saturated field. Most people pursue an MBA degree because of either the prestige and power it carries, the salary it promises, or the most common - because everyone is doing it.

With the sharp increase in supply of MBA graduates every year, the law of demand comes into play and, naturally, there comes a fall in job opportunities available for these graduates. Not only does this lead to cut-throat competition in the industry, but also decreased levels of employment. Several MBA graduates are forced to take on positions below the pay grade they were expecting, or tasks they are vastly over-qualified for, because of the sheer influx of other identical graduates being pumped into the market year after year.

Digital marketing, on the other hand is a fresh field that has not been explored as much. A recent study conducted by MIT states that 77 percent of companies believe that the sole reason behind not digitally transforming their brands is the fact that they do not believe they have the right people on board. Every brand wants to go online, because it is the way to reach the largest number of people in the quickest and most economical way. However, they just do not have the resources to find the right people. More so, they don't know where to find them either, because the regular MBA graduates just do not cut it anymore. The executives running digital operations in companies right now are not certified in the field, because it's just so new!

Imagine the demand for your skillset if you actually learn from the right sources and get certified.

In short, there is high demand for digital skills and insufficient supply of it, meaning higher salary as people with this skillset become more sought after, and higher employment rates as a result of the same.

No matter what the degree is, it's the skill that counts. A degree might get you a job, but it's the skill that will help you advance your career in the future. And digital marketing is, ultimately, the need of the hour.