Answer: Out-of-touch professors

For my undergraduate degree, I studied marketing/PR/advertising from 2007 to 2009. During this period, I followed the dramatic transition from print to digital media caused by to the recession and accelerated by the use of smartphones, the emergence of social media to mainstream prominence, and the need for web-based skills that, at the time, weren't part of the college's curriculum.

During one weekend at an advertising conference in New York, I learned more than I had during an entire year in college. And in one day at a public relations conference, I learned more than in a whole semester. Why? Practitioners in the ad and PR worlds shared current, actualized experiences that worked in reality. I walked away from both conferences feeling more knowledgeable, inspired, and aware of what was going on in the contemporary marketing industry.

I'm not discounting my college's program. In many classes, there was a heavy emphasis on volunteering and doing extracurricular work that would add to your resume. And to be fair, this was during a transformative 30-month period for all media.

In my opinion, if you're going to college to study marketing, and learning marketing is the primary factor for going to college, maybe you should rethink that. Or, at least consider changing your major to something that would complement marketing, such as social psychology, business administration, design, English, or IT. Then minor in marketing, if possible. A few courses will help you develop the foundation.

Otherwise, paying $25,000+ per year is questionable it when you can self-teach for far less than the price of tuition. How? Create your own project. Find a thing that you love and learn how to sell it.

My point is illustrated by Gary Vaynerchuck, a marketer and promoter For promoters to succeed in whatever they're selling, whether it's themselves, their business, or an event, their own business, event, they have to be "out there and doing it." They have to be aware of who and what is motivating action in their ecosystem. Gary is a practitioner, and he does well at sharing practical advice and inspiration. I unabashedly follow his podcasts. which advance my knowledge faster than any of my college courses.

P.S. I once spoke with a separate, marketing-based, for-profit college, and was flabbergasted to find out they had REMOVED digital marketing from their curriculum citing a lack of demand from students. In that case, the school collected more tuition by bowing to the wishes of inexperienced students and allowing them to dictate the curriculum -- but that's a rant for another post.

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