A photo of marketing graphics for an article about why marketing courses are beneficial. (Photo by Carlos Muza from Unsplash)

Why Should College Students Take a Marketing Course?

Learn about the business world as well as how to better your communication skills and your understanding of advertising, all in just one class.
May 15, 2021
8 mins read

We all have our own extraordinary identities that both fulfill our psychological and physiological demands and contribute to the shaping of our external environments. Some may define themselves as diligent college students so that they can not only motivate themselves to study harder (by reminding themselves of “who they are”) but also to find peers who share similar mindsets that further catalyze their desire to study.

The presentation of identity is organically developed from a strategic scheme of an individual or entity and serves to realize a desirable outcome. Marketing, a necessary component of a successful business, serves similar purposes; it makes possible the desired end for a brand and can even reshape the psychology of the customer. Taking a college marketing course can allow you to deepen your insights into the business world and even broader human society.

The Business World

A marketing course can sharpen one’s business sense and encourage more informed decision-making. The purpose of marketing is to boost the productivity of a business — generate revenue while minimizing input. In a marketing course, a student will normally be able to learn about how a company strategizes and implements the marketing plan for a product from the initial stages to the end result.

In addition to exposure to the marketing process, a student will also have to understand the underlying principles behind each of its steps as well as grasp all the critical components that contribute to the ultimate decision and execution.

Someone who takes a marketing course can gradually accumulate knowledge about the key drivers in different businesses and how their interactions can impact each other both qualitatively and quantitively. For example, to assess the effectiveness of the marketing strategies of Zara, a well-known clothing brand, someone has to be aware of the factors that contribute to a consumer’s purchasing decisions. Afterward, they then must know how to use these components to shape the brand’s image and subsequently enhance its distinct value among targeted customers and, thus, the revenue.

A marketing course will normally include analyses of companies across the most robust industries, including technology, health care and so on. A student will gradually form a clearer understanding of the basic needs fulfilled by these industries and develop a comprehensive model that will guide the critical thinking process from a business perspective.

Other Benefits

You may be starting to wonder: “A marketing course definitely seems effective, but what if I’m not interested in business?”

Great question! I was motivated to write about this topic primarily because of this dilemma. Apart from its benefits for business students, marketing courses can further develop one’s worldview holistically like many other liberal arts subjects. The mindset cultivated through the process of learning about marketing can be translated to many other important facets of our daily lives.

For example, when we watch a political candidate’s election campaign, we may start to contemplate which issues he or she emphasizes compared to others. Similar to marketing a brand, a politician is trying to sell himself or herself to the public in order to gain popularity and support. There is an underlying logic behind the communication process that has been delicately researched, prepared and delivered.

If you have taken a marketing course, you may start to think about the “customers” a politician is trying to “sell” to as well as the methods used by the politician to maximize his or her intended benefits.

Communication Skills

Marketing courses can also help us become more efficient communicators that have a keen eye for the sense of purpose and clarity in communications. No matter what we are aiming to achieve in life, communication is critically important in facilitating the exchange of information with others.

I heard quite an interesting statement from an academic friend, who said that being an effective communicator is a necessary precondition to becoming a Nobel Prize winner. Such a statement doesn’t sound intuitive to me at first. However, my friend’s explanation sounds totally sensible: The academic world is no less competitive than the business world. A professor has to know how to communicate his or her ideas in order to gain financial and institutional support from others. All accomplishments will be built step by step, one after another.

But “if a professor isn’t a strong communicator, how can others be persuaded that his or her research is the ‘most demanding and meaningful’ and that he or she is the one to continue it?”

Well, I still believe what ultimately matters is the quality of the academic research, but it is hard to deny the value of communication in efficiently obtaining resources from any external sources, which is essentially what the “marketing” aims for.

Understanding Consumer Marketing

Last but not least, as consumers ourselves, we can become better critical thinkers who make more informed purchase decisions with insights into how marketing works. If someone thoroughly understands a few key points — how a marketing campaign is designed and implemented, how a customer is targeted and how a commercial goal realized — they can become less manipulatable by the marketers and think independently about how an advertisement aims to influence their consumer behavior.

For example, a brand can capture your attention and motivate you to buy by using words that you are naturally drawn to in its advertisements. If you understand the underlying rationale behind such a strategy, you may think more about the necessity of your purchase instead of being purely driven by the impulse intentionally engineered by the company.


Besides all the above-mentioned practical benefits, what I found particularly memorable during my marketing courses were all of the “unexpected” and “wow” moments that occurred when I came to realize how brands attract their customers in subtle and intangible yet still powerful ways. Overall, examining the benefits of marketing was an intellectually rewarding and stimulating experience, so I hope you’ll consider signing up for your first course today.

Benjamin Chen, Columbia University

Writer Profile

Xiaobin (Benjamin) Chen

Columbia University
Economics and Psychology

Benjamin Chen is an economics and psychology student at Columbia University. He is always motivated to innovate and change the world for the better. He is driven and guided by values, principles and love.

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