The Best Undergraduate Marketing Programs Of 2019


Think back 10 years. Back then, marketers actually made cold calls. Their ad-spend for the internet was nearly equal to radio. Crazier still, 47% of advertising budgets were devoted to television.

What a waste!

That’s how most marketing majors think now. Of course, they grew up during the rise of the internet, which enabled brands to respond faster and connect deeper with customers. Email blasts have been replaced with surgical strikes, with precise segmentation and timing making calls to action all the more lucrative. Mobile has joined the mix, as online has emerged as this top medium. Perhaps the biggest game-changer of all: data is collected and collated at every step in the decision process. The question now is how to interpret and apply it.


A team of University of Michigan students (pictured Robert Pasick, a professor at the Ross School of Business. Photo by Randy Maschaka for Michigan Ross

That means the teaching of marketing has changed across the board. A generation ago, marketing students wrestled with the Four P’s and debating the merits of influencers. Now, they are weighing SEO and CPC. Which business schools have best weathered the transition? According to U.S. News & World Report, that program would be the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

In U.S. News’ 2019 business school ranking, Ross ranked #1, replacing the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School as the top marketing program for undergraduate business majors. Like the previous year, New York University’s Stern School of Business rounded out the top three.

The results are based on peer assessment surveys conducted in 2018, with results published in September. Each year, U.S. News asks deans and senior faculty members at business schools to nominate up to 15 of the best marketing programs, up from 10 the previous year. The ranking is then based on tabulating votes, with higher placement in the rankings correlated with a higher number of votes.


Ross is distinguished by “action learning” philosophy, where students apply what they learn in team-based, hands-on projects, which can range from overseas consulting projects to running a department (such as marketing) in the unit of a partner company. At the same time, business majors must complete an integrated semester, where they learn how various fields overlap – and how a holistic approach can help solve the most complex business issues.

The program also provides intensive support to its students. In P&Q’s 2018 survey of recent business major alumni, Ross consistently ranked among the top schools across all criteria, scoring particularly high in areas like Teaching Quality, Career Preparation, Extracurricular Opportunities, and Academic Advancement. Even more, says Kara Cendrowski, the program brings a personal touch sometimes lacking in large public programs.

Kenan-Flagler students explore the rooftop office space at Dropbox headquarters in San Francisco, one of the cities attracting the most college educated millennials. Photo by Nathan Allen

“At most schools, I hear my friends say that they feel like a “number,” writes the 2018 P&Q Best & Brightest MBA. “At Michigan Ross, I walk in the door and I immediately feel like I am being welcomed home. Whether it is being greeted every morning by Devon, the man who works at the front desk, or not being able to walk through the Winter Garden without waving to someone you know (no matter how bad of a hair day you may be having), I found that simply being in the Ross building inspires me to reach new heights to continue to build the community. This sense of community is what I enjoy most about being a Ross BBA student.”


True, the U.S. News marketing ranking is based on a limited pool of thought leaders, many of whom are not fully versed in the day-to-day operations of their peer schools. That said, they also reflect expert opinion on the quality of top undergraduate business programs. Take, for example, the changes from the previous year’s ranking. Aside from Ross leapfrogging Wharton, the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School climbed two spots to fifth. Similarly, Loyola Marymount University and Fordham University climbed into the Top 15, with Cornell University and MIT tumbling out. Still, opinions can be difficult to dislodge, as the top 12 schools all stayed within this range.

That said, several business schools punched well above their weight, when it comes to comparing their performance in marketing against their overall ranking (which is also based on survey scores). Notably, St. Joseph’s University’s Haub School of Business, which finished 127th overall, actually ranks 9th among marketing programs. The same could be said for Fordham University (15th vs. 62nd) and Loyola Marymount University (13th vs. 79th).

Here are the top 15 business schools for marketing:

To access in-depth profiles of the top undergraduate business schools, click here.




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