CBS: At The Forefront Of Marketing's Digital Revolution

Big data and social media among themes keeping sector in flux

Copenhagen Business School is at the forefront of marketing in the 21st century.

Marketing methods have in recent years been in a constant state of flux, adapting to and evolving with the demands of an increasingly digitized world.

“The toolbox has increased significantly, with new channels over the internet, new customer insight analysis using big data and new interaction via social media,” says high-profile market strategy and business development professor Thomas Ritter.

Yet despite such developments, Thomas emphasizes that the fundamentals of marketing have not changed. “The central task of marketing has always been to understand customers and their behavior,” he says, adding that MBA students aiming to succeed in the sector need agility, creativity and confidence.

On the Copenhagen MBA program, marketing is taught with a strong strategic and managerial focus, and students are equipped with the cutting-edge skills necessary to compete in today’s business world. 

“We cover all areas of marketing, but always link the elements back to a firm’s business model and to its overall strategy," Thomas says. 

At CBS, MBA students work on “live cases” in real time, applying the concepts they learn to the issues faced by firms as they emerge. For the last three months of the program, students conduct an integrated strategy project, in which they work with companies with a global outlook.  

For Thomas, this is the crown jewel of the program. He concludes that Copenhagen MBA graduates go away with an understanding of “what marketing is, what it can contribute to a firm, and how to set targets and ambition levels”. 

Thirty-two percent of the school’s MBA graduates — with no previous experience in the field — step into a commercial role in which marketing is a critical component.

One MBA student who may hope to do so is Saskia Thießen.
 
For the majority of her early professional life, Saskia, 27, worked as a marketing manager for Sony Classical International, a sub label of Sony Music Entertainment for classical, jazz and crossover artists.
 
Based in Berlin, Saskia worked with big movie groups — such as Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox — to promote the soundtracks for films such as the James Bond epic Skyfall and Batman's The Dark Knight Rises. She was also was responsible for the marketing of several high-profile artists, such as Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva and Russian pianist Igor Levit.
 
Marketing people is very different to marketing products, she says. “Products don’t talk back!”
 
Diplomacy is key. “Most of the time they have their own, strong ideas about how marketing should be done. And you need to respect those ideas.”
 
Eager to learn more about marketing consumer goods, Saskia decided to relocate to Copenhagen, characterized by flat hierarchies and a strong emphasis on work-life balance, for her MBA.
 
“The high standard of living, the lively culture, and being able to cycle everywhere make Copenhagen a fantastic learning environment and a very desirable place to live,” she says. 
 
At CBS, the small MBA class size makes relationships with professors more personal. “Each and every one of us is known and cared for.”
 
One whose classes have really stood out is fellow German and marketing expert Thomas. “He has a fresh, sharp-minded, enthusiastic teaching style that sets him apart from other lecturers —  and he is not afraid to speak his mind,” Saskia says.
 
“He really manages to put marketing into perspective: not as a fluffy subject [based] on shiny ads, but as an important and sometimes difficult part of business.”
 
What will Saskia do after her MBA? For now she is undecided. But she will have strong support from the school.
 
Claire Hewitson, Copenhagen MBA careers manager, says the office offers a personal service; it has been known to put students forward for jobs directly.
 
And students who are interested in working in Denmark are matched up with a careers mentor, she says. “[They] can provide insight and advice.”
 
Published by Marco De Novellis in Business Because 29 January 2016. Go to www.businessbecause.com for more MBA stories.