With the ever-increasing need for companies across all industries to use effective digital marketing and data analysis to reach their potential consumers, social media has never played such a large role in this process. While social networks are used by millions of individuals, they provide a valuable platform for tremendously effective marketing efforts in the business world – a platform that hardly existed just a handful of years ago.

Saint Leo University is proud to offer an MBA with a specialization in Social Media Marketing to help students get a full grasp on the many forms of social media marketing while also getting an in-depth background on business decision-making based on data, trends, and other consumer behaviors.

We recently caught up with Dr. Ioannis Pantzalis, an associate professor of marketing in the university's School of Business, to discuss the ins-and-outs of what this unique curriculum offers and how it can benefit students in their professional endeavors.

Q: Where is this program offered?

A: This program is conducted entirely online, allowing students to complete their coursework wherever they can get an Internet connection. This online delivery offers plenty of flexibility and convenience, providing both traditional-age college students and the working professional an opportunity to pursue this graduate degree

Q: What can students expect to take away from the completion of this MBA specialization?

A: Students will gain a number of valuable skills through hands-on experience, which they'll acquire by completing assignments and projects that demonstrate real-world uses of this media.

Upon completing this degree, graduates should be able to take the next step in their careers by joining and making significant contributions to a variety of companies and organizations.

Q: What topics are covered in the curriculum?

A: This program is designed to teach students the principles of application when it comes to conducting effective marketing and promotional activities using various social media platforms, along with the endless data at their fingertips that can be used to more precisely target consumers.

The younger generation has seemed to move away from Facebook in favor of Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat because younger people don't want to use the same platforms as what their parents or grandparents are using. But even as social media channels evolve and new ones become popular, the skills you'll learn in this curriculum will allow you to flourish on any given platform. It's like learning to swim in your pool at home and then being able to swim anywhere else you go.

Specific concepts covered in the coursework include:

 - Critical knowledge and skills for gaining marketing insights to better influence business decisions

- Strategic and effective marketing best practices on the traditional, web, and social sides

- Customer relationship management and customer retention and engagement via gamification

- Web analytics tools and techniques to target customers and to assess and evaluate company marketing activities

Q: Who are the faculty teaching in this program?

A: The main faculty members teaching in this specific MBA specialization are:

- Ioannis Pantzalis

- John Lax

- Keith Jones

- Stephen Baglione

- Rhonda Mariani

These faculty members have a wide range of skills and backgrounds in both traditional and digital marketing, as well as a large amount of real-world business experience. They bring many years' worth of practical experience to this MBA program.

Q: What separates this MBA in Social Media Marketing program from others?

A: The biggest separator is that we focus on practicality. We're not a research institution, so all of our courses are taught with the focus on preparing graduates to succeed in the "real world." We are very focused on the students and want them to get as much hands-on experience as they can so they can go out and be great candidates for all kinds of career opportunities.

Plus, Saint Leo prides itself on offering small classes with one-on-one support from faculty. This applies to all online programs as well, and faculty members are always willing to make themselves available to students through various communication channels whenever they need guidance.

Q: What types of career opportunities can graduates of this program expect to be considered for? 

A: The completion of this MBA program can help graduates become desirable candidates for positions that include:

- Social media marketing manager

- Brand marketing manager

- Public relations manager

- Digital marketing manager

- Sales and promotions manager

Of course, earning an MBA can also help professionals with work experience become entrepreneurs and pursue successful self-employment endeavors should they eventually choose that route as a full-time venture or on the side.

Q: How can students learn more about this program?

A: Feel free to e-mail myself at Ioannis.pantzalis@saintleo.edu , and I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.

You can also visit this page to learn more about this MBA specialization.