Social media is the new big thing. (I say "new" rather than "next" because it's already here; social media is the thing.) This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone--unless you've been living under a rock. Every company, from Apple to Coca-Cola, has a social media strategy. Or if they don't, they need one. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Foursquare, the many, many iPhone Apps and TBD [ed. Social media is still growing; who knows what we'll all be using next year?] are channels for companies to reach their customers and potential customers. It is a nearly limitless marketing opportunity that's changing the way companies think about their brand. It's no longer enough for a marketer/advertiser to create a clever, catchy commercial, he has to create a clever, catchy, .
So it makes sense that business schools would finally jump on that bandwagon. Not just by creating Twitter accounts for their offices, but by teaching students about how to navigate the social media world after graduation. Says BusinessWeek Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School and BC's Carroll School of Management are some of the top MBA programs adding social media classes this year. With titles like "Social Media & Web 2.0 for Managers", "Media and Technology" and "Competing with Social Networks", these new classes teach students about how to build a social media strategic plan, manage a social media marketing campaign and use social media to build their own, personal brand.
Clearly, these are extremely valuable skills. And you'll notice that they all have very practical applications. INSEAD has had a social media course since June 2009. "Advertising and Social Media Strategy" teaches students about "non-traditional marketing techniques" and includes an off-site social media marketing campaign at a major corporation, according to MBA Channel.
Ideally, these classes will help MBAs secure jobs that have a social media component. It seems likely to me that the classes were actually spurred by career services counselors who saw a growing need for social media expertise in the marketplace. In brand management (a popular post-MBA industry), for example, candidates will have to have social media experience to compete. As business schools continue to encourage their soon-to-be grads to "think outside the box," social media is a growing nontraditional avenue for them to pursue.
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