Social Media Courses in MBA Programs

March 30, 2010 · 1 Comment 

A New York Times article was released today about how MBA programs have started incorporating social media into their curriculum. More and more companies are generating customer interest by posting viral videos on YouTube, creating fan pages on Facebook, or posting short messages on the micro-blogging site Twitter. As a result, a growing number of job specs now have a requirement for social media knowledge. However, a limited number of MBA candidates actually have that experience.

To meet this growing demand for education in social media strategy, several top business schools are adding social network courses to their MBA curricula. These courses target MBA students who are planning to start their own Web 2.0 companies, or who are considering careers in high technology, entertainment, social media or consumer packaged goods. Harvard Business School, for example, has a course called “Competing with Social Networks”, taught by Professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski.

Using the case method of teaching that Harvard is famous for, the social network course at Harvard Business School examines why some social networks succeeded while others failed. Here MBA students examine: LinkedIn, Friendster, Twitter and mixi (a popular social network in Japan). The students then examine monetization challenges and opportunities by comparing MySpace and its music venture to Facebook Connect and Google’s Friend Connect.

The second module uses the network failure framework to establish conditions under which adding social networks helps or hinders competitive advantage of existing business models. Among others, we consider a matchmaking company, eHarmony, a peer-to-peer lending company, Zopa, an on-line reviews company, Yelp, and finally, Wikipedia Contributors.

Company executives are usually invited to contribute to classes. Students are also required to participate in a fun team project in which they aim to become a Yelp Elite member or Wikipedia editor, sell $1,000 of products or services on Twitter, or generate a 0.25% click-through rate on a Facebook ad!

Though younger students may live and breathe social media and know how to use embed hashtags in their Tweets, the social media space is fast-growing, ever-evolving, and innovative and is not yet well understood from a strategic perspective. Other top-tier business schools, such as London Business School and Insead, have also started incorporating social network into their MBA curriculum.


One Response to “Social Media Courses in MBA Programs”
  1. It is certainly a milestone for social media, and its impact on tomorrow’s leaders should be significant. Corporate media, here we come.

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