About Professor Jenna Massey: Jenna Massey is an Assistant Professor and the Director for the online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. As Director, she oversees the program’s curriculum and supports faculty in the program. As an Assistant Professor, she teaches courses in marketing research and strategic IMC processes. In addition, she is the Director for Medill IMC’s global initiatives, and has helped develop new study abroad programs with universities in London and Paris. Before this role, she was the Director of Medill IMC’s Asia initiatives, and spearheaded partnerships with Peking University, the City University of Hong Kong, and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Prior to entering academia, Professor Massey led marketing, brand development and management, and public relations projects for several major clients on a global scale, including Motorola, Samsung, McCann-Erickson, Nestle, UPS, Tiffany, and Salvatore Ferragamo. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications, and uses her experiences in the program to optimally support students and help them make the most of the program’s curricular and extracurricular opportunities. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Advertising from Peking University.

Interview Questions

[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please provide an overview of Northwestern University’s Full-Time Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications program? What topics are covered in the core curriculum, and what are the key learning outcomes students can expect from this program?

[Professor Massey] The Northwestern Medill Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) master’s program prepares students to launch or accelerate their career in marketing communications. It combines the data and analytical part of the left brain and the creativity of the right brain to develop ways to engage with consumers that build strong brands. The program focuses on digital strategies and tactics as well as on the use of marketing technologies.

The core curriculum includes courses in marketing management, consumer insight, IMC strategy, marketing research and financial accounting. Electives cover a wide range of topics, from digital marketing, brand strategy and marketing analytics, to strategic communications, content marketing and media strategy.

Graduates of the program gain the confidence and skills needed to support, lead, manage and contribute at a high level to the marketing communications strategy in their current or future company.

[MastersinCommunications.com] Northwestern University also offers an online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications program. Could you please elaborate on how the online and the campus-based Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications differ, and how Northwestern University integrates online instruction into its curriculum?

[Professor Massey] The IMC Full-Time, Part-Time and Online programs have the same rigorous approach to preparing students for a marketing career. All students in the Medill IMC program earn the same degree, and which format it is from is not indicated on a student’s diploma. In addition, all three programs offer a variety of courses, led by many of the same faculty. All three programs offer students the opportunity to travel and take courses at Northwestern’s San Francisco campus as well as participate in immersive courses all over the world. Our Medill alumni connections and our Career Services are open to all our graduates, no matter what program they participated in.

That said, each program has elements unique to it.

The IMC Full-Time program, located on Northwestern’s Evanston, Illinois, campus, is designed for students coming from an undergraduate program or with one to three years of work experience. Another unique element of the full-time program is Immersion Quarter, an opportunity to gain hands-on experience working at a company within a collaborative team for 10 weeks. The program takes 15 months to complete and begins in the fall. Course sequences are offered to help students with choosing classes that align with their career goals and develop depth and breadth in marketing communications.

The IMC Part-Time program is designed for working professionals in the Chicagoland area. Students have an average of six years of work experience. The classes take place at our downtown Chicago campus, just steps away many of the city’s major agencies, companies, and leading marketing communications experts. Students complete evening classes, earning 13 credits before graduating. The program begins in the fall.

The IMC Online program is perfect for experienced working professionals, no matter where they are located. With an average of 10 years of work experience, students benefit greatly from their peers’ professional experiences. The online courses are a combination of studying when it’s convenient along with synchronous sessions to allow students and faculty to interact. Students can also choose to take all courses online, or take some short-term on-premise courses in the U.S. or abroad. Students can begin the 13-credit program in fall or spring.

[MastersinCommunications.com] The Immersion Quarter is a unique aspect of Northwestern University’s Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications program. Could you elaborate on the Immersion Quarter, and what students achieve during it? Are online students also required to participate in the Immersion Quarter?

[Professor Massey] Immersion Quarter is an experience in the IMC Full-Time program to help students gain work experience and hands-on application of what they learn in the classroom. Students work in teams of approximately four to five students at a sponsor company across the country and some internationally.

They tackle a marketing communications project of a specific and significant scope to help advance the company’s goals. Projects focus on a variety of areas, from digital strategy, analytics and media planning, to communications, brand strategy, shopper marketing and more. The companies range too—everything from large, global organizations to local nonprofits.

Each year, Immersion Quarter kicks off with a three-day Leadership Strategies Program where students work on developing an action plan for their quarter and build leadership, communication and teamwork skills.

Immersion Quarter helps students prepare for their careers by giving them work experience, marketing communications skills, networking opportunities, team-building skills, and a chance to learn more about what they’re looking for in a future role.

[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you also elaborate on the travel abroad opportunities students have in this program, as well as the Northwestern San Francisco campus and what students can learn in this environment?

[Professor Massey] One of the elements that makes the Medill experience unique is the opportunity to study in different locations all over the world. Our opportunities to travel frequently evolve. For example, this year, student from the full-time, part-time and online programs traveled to Chile to study innovation in large global organizations. Students also visited Asia—specifically Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo—to meet with companies to learn about how they implement IMC in Asia and globally. Another group of IMC students took a course in London to learn about global brand communication.

Northwestern’s campus in San Francisco offers opportunities to take courses at the center of the tech and media industries. Some of the most innovative companies in the world are located just blocks away from our San Francisco location and we put our students in touch with them to explore new tools and new ways to reach consumers.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What role does faculty mentorship play in Northwestern University’s Master of Science in IMC program, and how can students make the most of these mentorship opportunities and support systems? Additionally, what career development resources and academic services are available to students of both the campus-based and online programs?

[Professor Massey] Medill faculty are deeply invested in our students’ success, no matter how they are pursuing their IMC degree – full-time, part-time or online. Faculty make themselves available for students for questions about classes or careers, and to share their expertise on a wide range of topics.

Faculty are not the only resource Medill offers to support students, however. Medill’s Office of Student Life provides academic counseling and support to all Medill IMC students.

Medill Career Services provides support to students on a variety of career management topics, including job search strategies, resume and cover letter review, interview preparation and how to negotiate offers. Medill maintains relationships with alumni and many companies, facilitating interviews and information sessions, as well as informal connections. At Medill, academic and career advising are integrated, allowing staff to help students plan to take courses that align with their career goals.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What advice do you have for prospective students in terms of submitting a competitive application for Northwestern University’s Master of Science in IMC program?

[Professor Massey] At Medill, we review each application file individually and holistically to build cohorts of students who come from a variety of countries, schools, and undergraduate majors. In evaluating applicants, we seek intellectual curiosity, diversity of perspective, academic excellence, professional prowess and an enthusiasm for the subject matter. Due to the collaborative learning model of our institution, we also seek team players who will contribute meaningfully to class discussions and projects.

Medill is a school for storytellers. Successful applicants are able to share their story creatively, passionately and intelligently. Therefore, we advise all applicants to carefully craft their story throughout the application process to effectively articulate how Medill might help them continue their story. This means dedicating time and care to your professional essay and any additional writing submissions, selecting references who will speak to one’s academic and/or professional skills, and preparing for admissions interviews thoroughly.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What makes Northwestern University’s Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications unique, and a particularly strong graduate degree option for students?

[Professor Massey] The future belongs to those who understand the art and science of marketing communications. And that is exactly what you learn at Medill. This is a school for people who are fascinated by why people do what they do; by finding insights in the biggest or smallest nuggets of data; by using that data to develop creative strategies for engaging with consumers; by understanding how consumers interact with various forms of media; and by building brands that consumers want to be a part of and co-create.

Medill founded the IMC degree, at a top-ranked University no less. It has a long history of innovation in the field and is constantly pushing the boundaries of what it means to do marketing communications today and tomorrow. If you want to learn the latest in the field from seasoned academic and industry professionals and join a tight-knit and successful group of 17,000 alumni, Medill IMC might just be the place for you.

Thank you, Professor Massey, for your excellent insight into Northwestern University’s Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications program!