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Muma College of Business Offers Degree in Advertising

Business school first in the nation to offer advertising major with two paths

TAMPA – Trustees of the University of South Florida approved a business advertising degree program today, a move that makes the university the only institution in the nation to offer students a choice between business and mass communications tracks for students pursuing an advertising degree. A handful of business schools offer an advertising major, but no other U.S. university offers two complementary pathways for students to study advertising.

USF's existing Zimmerman Advertising Program has expanded into a collaborative effort between the USF Muma College of Business and the School of Mass Communications in USF's College of Arts and Sciences. This new option allows undergraduate students to choose between a business-oriented sequence of study that emphasizes marketing, ROI, and core business education and a mass communications sequence of study that focuses on advertising campaigns, creative and messaging, and media strategy.

"Today's advertising firms do more than create artwork and advertisements; they assist clients with comprehensive promotional and corporate strategies and compete with firms that provide such services," said Robert Forsythe, dean of the Muma College of Business. "Graduates who want to work for such firms must successfully integrate the creative aspects of advertising with the business purpose of the client," said Forsythe, adding that the new program will complement the existing mass communications program.

"It will address the strategic and relative aspects of the field, which are becoming increasingly important to many firms' revenue stream," he said, "and will provide students the opportunity to combine their understanding of the creative aspects of advertising and brand management with skills in accounting, economics, finance, information systems and marketing."

Founder/Chairman of Fort Lauderdale-based Zimmerman Advertising, Jordan Zimmerman, a USF mass communications graduate who also studied for an MBA at USF, is a long-time champion of such inter-disciplinary education for advertising majors.

"Today's graduates need to know how to do more than simply create visually appealing ads," said Zimmerman, who uses the term "Brandtailing" to describe his firm's emphasis on building a brand over time and building sales overnight. "Every month is a year and every client puts a P&L out every month. Students need to be able to craft attention-getting, creative campaigns from a strategic, relevant positioning that enhances the client's long-term brand image, generate revenue and drive traffic that leads to profit."

Zimmerman has committed to making internships available to some of the new majors and pledged to help to develop relationships with Omnicom Group, the worldwide advertising agency under which Zimmerman Advertising falls. Students may be placed in other Omnicom agencies for internships as well.

Students choosing to pursue the new major can complete the degree with 120 credit hours, which will include all general education requirements, exit requirements, core classes, and a specified set of classes offered jointly by the business school and the mass communications program. Students may meet with academic advisors in the Muma College of Business to discuss immediate enrollment in the program, but since registration for the university's spring semester has already closed, university officials don't expect to see students pursue the degree until the summer.

Forsythe added that the new major would promote integrated interdisciplinary inquiry, research and innovation at the university. "As the only collaborative advertising major in Florida based in a college of business, the new program will support USF's overall strategic goals for student success and the strategic initiatives of the Muma College of Business focused on teaching and community engagement."