A versatile and functional degree, a Bachelor of Arts in advertising lends itself to many opportunities for graduating students. While some graduates will take their academic training and proceed directly into the workforce, others may choose to continue in pursuit of a graduate degree. In some programs, a master’s degree in advertising merely repeats the skills learned as an undergraduate; instead, students may find themselves better served by studying in a related but distinct field.
Advertising majors feeling confined by such a specialized field could broaden their skill set with a master’s degree in marketing. Although the two are similar professions, advertising is just one subdiscipline in marketing. As marketing students, advertising undergraduates are experts on paid promotion but will have the opportunity to also explore market research, product development, pricing and even advertising’s cousin, public relations. Some programs offer classes in international marketing, so that whether the final career decision focuses strictly on advertising or turns to the broader marketing sector, graduates understand how different audiences and cultures respond to various messages.
Undergraduates in advertising intrigued by creation might consider continuing their studies in the field of graphic arts. Graphic design students learn how to creating meaning in their art and structure designs. By refining the level at which they create visual pieces, creative talent will find an increased ability to convey messages through just a single picture. In advertising, where just a portion of a newspaper page is all the space available or a billboard image has just a moment to capture attention, the ability to produce compelling visuals is critical.
Copywriting - English or Journalism
Individuals looking to launch into infamy via their BA in advertising could turn to copywriting. Promotional phrases such as “Got milk?” or “Just do it” spring from a copywriter’s pen. To transition into this position, students should enroll in either a journalism or an English program, where the emphasis will be on learning to write and rewrite. Particularly, journalism students are instructed on how to write in a condensed style. They learn to select just a few words to convey an exact meaning. Being able to do the same as a copywriting expert will help the advertising team effectively convey its message.
Although often found in academia as part of a larger program in a related hospitality or business field, some independent graduate programs in event management do exist. Students interested in alternatives to traditional print or broadcast advertising benefit from knowledge of event management when staging “spontaneous” demonstrations. Product promotion through live events, such as gathering college students at a central campus location for a giveaway, is one way to place new items into the hands of early adopters. The rise of social media as a means of organizing crowds could allow individuals who first couple advertising and event planning to blaze a new professional trail.
Paula Sienna is a communications professional with more than 10 years experience writing, editing and in public relations and desktop publishing. She has worked as a staff writer for the Smithsonian Institution and as the lead public relations account executive for the advertising, public relations and Web design firm Mana Means Communications. Sienna earned a Bachelor of Science in communications from Boston University.