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Mendoza to offer new minor in digital marketing

| Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Starting in the fall of 2019, the Mendoza College of Business will be offering students from other colleges at Notre Dame the opportunity to minor in digital marketing.

Shankar Ganesan, Mendoza’s marketing chair, said the program was created to help prepare students for the business world’s transition to the digital age.

“If you think about it, there are numerous digital technologies that are continuously coming in, and they are fundamentally changing the way the customer is behaving, including their whole customer journey,” Ganesan said. “ … Since customers are behaving very differently, firms also need to adapt to those changing behaviors. So they are also changing their strategies, and more than 40 percent of their spending is now in digital.”

Ganesan said he believes all students, regardless of their major of choice, could benefit from studying digital marketing because of its interdisciplinary nature.

“In all these different areas, digital marketing is becoming more and more important, which means that more people with very diverse backgrounds have to be trained in digital marketing,” Ganesan said. “So we feel it is an obligation. It’s something we need to provide so Notre Dame students have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. It doesn’t matter if they are from Mendoza, whether they are in engineering or in the social sciences.”

Moreover, Ganesan said he believes studying digital media provides students leverage in the job market as demand for individuals with skills in the discipline grows.

“The difference in average salary between the digital marketing jobs and the traditional marketing jobs is close to about $10,000, so they are going to get better jobs and get jobs,” Ganesan said. “I also think that for the younger generation, who are used to and have a high degree of confidence in social media, they can do much better in these jobs than someone who doesn’t have the experience or is older.“

The minor will consist of 15 credit hours, requiring a Principles of Marketing requirement, either a marketing research or consumer behavior course as well as three digital marketing courses. The goal of the minor is for all students to understand fundamentals of marketing and the best practices to engage consumers both online and on mobile through social media and digital strategies, Ganesan said.

To provide students with such knowledge, Mendoza College hired two new professors: Timothy Bohling, Mendoza’s chief marketing officer (CMO), and Christian Hughes, a social media marketing expert who will be joining the faculty in August. Bohling has experience in both the academic world and industry, holding several vice president and C-Suite positions at Georgia State University, IBM, HCL Technologies and Stratasys. He is currently teaching a digital marketing course at both the undergraduate and MBA level and will continue to offer the class next semester to those participating in the program.

“The pursuit of a digital marketing career is an exciting one, it is an energizing one,” Bohling said. “It is one that is forward-looking and can make a very positive impact not just on personal growth, but on company growth and greatness. When done right, it is a very powerful way in which firms engage with the customers. So it applies in every industry and business.”

In Bohling’s digital marketing class, students have the opportunity to review and analyze marketing frameworks, examine current practices to achieve social media eminence, acquire data-driven digital techniques and become industry certified for social marketing and advanced social advertising. The course will combine both lectures and supplemental materials, Bohling said.

The program is looking for students with “a passion for the digital revolution,” he added.

“It’s both an art and science, so it’s not 100 percent art or 100 percent science, but that appreciation for both sides of the brain matters,” Bohling said. “In today’s world, the data-driven orientation opportunities are significant, but it’s, again, a combination of the arts and sciences, which makes this minor a cross-campus excitement.”

Three information sessions about the minor will be held over the next month. The first two will take place in the Duncan Student Center on March 20 and 28, and the third in Mendoza College’s Jordan Auditorium on April 3. Each will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

“This is a signature moment, an exciting path forward for the interdisciplinary learning that can take place in the University of Notre Dame,” Bohling said. “ … It will definitely make a rich classroom discussion, too, this diversity of thoughts and skills. In the business world, that’s how things are done.”

To participate in the program, students must submit an online application due April 7.

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