Professor Joohyn Lee, professor of marketing in the business and economics department at Eastern Mennonite University, teaches a class last week. The department has added two new majors, marketing and organizational leadership, to meet growing workforce demands. (Photo by Andrew Strack)

New marketing and organizational leadership majors will develop professionals to meet dynamic, expanding opportunities

Two new majors at Eastern Mennonite University offered in fall 2018 will prepare students to fill key roles in the growing fields of marketing and organizational leadership.

“Marketing is the most dynamic sub-field in business and one of the strongest areas of job growth globally,” said Professor Jim Leaman, business and economics department chair. “The organizational leadership major, too, will prepare graduates for an expanding area of need, as specialists in managing people systems are also in strong demand.”

The employment outlook for both areas is positive, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Marketing jobs are expected to grow by 10 percent – and management jobs by close to that – through 2026.

As with many majors at EMU, the new academic programs offer internships and practicum experiences. Students wishing to double-major in accounting or economics – or to add minors such as nonprofit management – will find that the programs integrate well, Leaman said.

Marketing a “natural intersection”

The marketing major – a collaboration between the visual and communications arts (VACA) and business and economics departments – places EMU among the only 12 percent of four-year private institutions in Virginia offering the degree.

But like other majors at EMU, it comes with the university’s significant and unique emphasis: global and cultural perspective.

“Marketing impacts larger cultural forces, and can be part of social change, advocacy and getting unique and challenging messages into the social dialogue,” said Professor Jerry Holsopple, who teaches digital media. “Students with cross-cultural ways of knowing and collaborative ways of working will be valuable beyond their technical or theoretical skillset.”

Paul Johnson, a digital media major in the VACA department at EMU, works on a project in Adobe Illustrator.

The major has two tracks: media and design, and management. Each includes curriculum from the traditional marketing and business perspective as well as the arts, and will prepare students for careers at nonprofits, businesses, nongovernmental organizations and institutions of higher education – or start-up businesses and design and media enterprises, Leaman said.

Within the media and design track, students will acquire a set of skills that enables them to create media forms ranging from the single image to visual and text campaigns and longer-form video storytelling. The business-leaning management track will prepare students for marketing management and oversight roles. Course topics include consumer behavior, sales and e-commerce, strategic marketing management, branding and design, and communication strategy.

“Prospective students are really interested in marketing,” said Matt Ruth, director of admissions. “They are digital natives and many have dreams of becoming entrepreneurs and blazing their own paths.” The portfolios of work they amass in the program’s courses will reflect “the natural intersection of design and business,” he said.

“Organizations are scrambling to meet new opportunities in a rapidly changing environment as recent advancements in technology, networking, and electronic media have shifted the field of marketing to the intermediary space between business and visual and communication arts,” Leaman said. “It’s exciting to work in the creative space of a cutting-edge field, to collaborate across disciplines and departments to offer a nimble and demanded major, and to advise students into a growing and vibrant field and career.”

A marketing minor is also offered to students seeking orientation to the essential skills and concepts of the field.

Organizational leadership for ‘people systems’

The organizational leadership major will equip students to manage human capital and organizational systems. It will draw heavily on psychology and applied social sciences courses to prepare graduates for middle management or project management early in their careers.

“Leadership and organization are social constructs that continuously evolve,” said Leaman. “With this focus on the personal, interpersonal, and group systems in the workplace, students who have a strong interest in the ‘people systems’ of organizations now have a better fit with a major credential.”

Students in the program will gain skills in project management, team dynamics and team-building, interpersonal conflict and mediation, and personal leadership development. Course topics will include leadership theory and practice, human resource management, social psychology, applied behavior analysis, psychology of interpersonal relationships and more.