To fill this void, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) launched the NYU/ARF Certificate in Marketing Optimization and Insights program in 2021. Virtual classes enable students to learn on their own time and at their own pace.
According to the ARF’s president and CEO, Scott McDonald, “On the job training is, unfortunately, not what it used to be. This certificate program upskills people and fills the training gap with instructors and guest lecturers who are anchored in the media/advertising field.”
The partnership with NYU provides the best academic approaches combined with industry expertise to offer companies an inexpensive yet highly unique opportunity to train and retain valuable employees.
McDonald noted that, “The program reinforces best practices, especially in areas where there is fuzziness. We establish a stake in the ground, developed by practitioners who are respected in their field.” In addition, the coursework is very practical and pragmatic. “All exercises assigned in each course occur in every job. It is designed that way so as to have real-world applications -- practical with pedagogical oversight,” he added.
The program has just completed its first year with 88 students from around the world. Twenty-two of the students have already graduated, having completed the required Foundations of Advertising Research course, along with three electives.
The students come from a range of top companies -- including Google, Chobani, Levi’s, CBS, Kellogg’s and The New York Times -- and from a range of job levels, from analysts to senior vice presidents.
Feedback from the first graduates has been very encouraging. .
"It was great to have instructors who are seasoned working professionals and so many accomplished guest speakers to add new dimensions and perspectives to each course," one graduate noted. "There’s always more to learn, but this program definitely helped me close some gaps in my knowledge and gain deeper understanding across a broad range of marketing research and insights subjects."
For McDonald, “the launch of this program in 2021 is arguably one of the good things that have come out of the pandemic. There has been a historical lack of good training programs and as people found themselves confined to their homes, this has been an effective way for them to keep their skill set up to date and expand their knowledge.”
Year two of the certificate program begins in February.