The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media recently launched a new online integrated marketing communication master’s degree program. We asked a few students enrolled in the program their thoughts about it.
Caroline Hughes, 25, is working on her master’s degree in IMC via the online program. She said she plans to use her degree to establish a company that prioritizes ethical business practices and spreads awareness around environmental sustainability.
“Whether that be fashion or beauty, a crafted specialization and understanding of marketing communication I’ve learned as an undergraduate and graduate student will prove beneficial no matter the company focus or industry,” she said.
Hughes said the program began with an introductory IMC course that laid the foundation of overall brand messaging, competition and target audiences. Following that course, Hughes’ Insights and Measurements class emphasized the importance of market research.
“This included everything from conducting and facilitating studies to interpreting the data in order to make conscious marketing decisions,” she said.
Hughes said she likes the flexibility of the online IMC master’s program.
“As a marketing professional, it has been supremely beneficial to tackle my schoolwork outside of the working environment on my time,” she said. “Not only this, but having applicable work experience generates deeper understanding and connection with the material and projects assigned.
“My fellow classmates and I communicate often via discussion platforms, which creates a sense of interaction and community. Additionally, my tenure as an undergraduate IMC student provided both an introduction to the journalism professors as well as a strong foundation of marketing knowledge further expounded upon in the graduate program.”
Loidha Bautista, 37, is also enrolled in the online IMC master’s degree program. So far she’s taken IMC 501 – Introduction to IMC and IMC 503 – Insights and Measurements.
“I learned to look at communications differently,” she said. “Communications should be viewed as a string that ties internal communications in an organization to the external audience and distributors. It’s an integral step to understanding a brand and being able to effectively understand how your brand is viewed and how you want others to view your brand.”
Bautista said the online IMC master’s program is a rigorous program well designed for the working professional.
“The faculty is very knowledgeable and experienced in the field,” she said. “They offer a good pace and excellent observations and input.”
Hailey Heck, 23, is based in Houston, Texas and enrolled in the online IMC master’s program. She attended UM as an undergraduate and graduated with an IMC degree in 2017.
“Soon after graduating, I had the itch for more and decided to obtain a master’s degree in the very same program,” she said. “This school has led me (to) the best professors who encouraged and supported my love of writing and communication.”
Heck said she works on the PR team for a “Big Law” law firm in Houston. She spends her days maintaining awareness – both internally and externally – of the fast-paced landscape of the legal industry in a variety of practice areas.
“When a case is shifted to the opposing team’s favor or the regulatory landscape shifts, the brilliant minds in my office leap into action,” she said. “It is a thing of beauty to watch the choreographed chaos of former White House staffers, former governors and Ivy League scholars determining the best way to advocate for their clients.”
Heck said she took an Introduction to Integrated Marketing Communication class last semester with professor Robert Magee, Ph.D., and an Insights and Measurements class with professor Graham Bodie, Ph.D.
“With both of these courses, we learned how the IMC principles can be applied in a variety of contexts,” she said. “In Dr. Bodie’s class, we learned different research methods and ways to analyze the data collected.”
Heck said she’s impressed with how much the IMC program has grown, and she values the convenience of the online IMC master’s program.
“Because I work full time, it was essential that the program I chose could be delivered entirely online,” she said. “When I first heard the news that my alma mater was developing an online program of the degree I loved so much, it was a no-brainer. I had to apply. During my undergraduate studies, I came across the most wonderful, supportive professors who challenged me to go the extra mile and dive deeper. This experience has been no different.”
To learn more about the online IMC master’s program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.