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The Reed College of Media and College of Creative Arts will merge to form the new WVU College of Creative Arts and Media as of July 1, 2024. Get details.

Choosing between DMC or an MBA? Hear From a Student Who Did the Research



A Master of Business Administration provides theoretical and practical training for understanding general business management functions, sometimes with a marketing focus.

But for professionals seeking to expand their education at the graduate level, specifically those interested in business and marketing—there are options. Some MBA programs have a marketing track, which is a good fit for professionals interested in an overarching MBA curriculum. However,  there is another option for professionals who are inspired by data and marketing but who ultimately have a passion for communications. Combining data marketing and communications is a revolutionary concept that allows professionals to utilize data to back all marketing strategies and decisions.

WVU's Master of Science in Data Marketing Communications (DMC) merges insights gleaned through data analytics to drive effective integrated marketing communications campaigns.

West Virginia University’s DMC program is the nation’s first online master’s degree focused specifically on the impact of data on marketing communications. It’s completely online and the faculty are among the best in the industry. Consequently, students receive personalized attention and guidance in an engaging, online classroom. You can also learn more about the DMC program by visiting our  DMC program page here.

James Goodwin is a current DMC student and a mid-career professional. He is the Associate Director of Strategic Communication for Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. James is also a chair of the Public Affairs & Marketing Network of National Cancer Centers.

James explored an MBA before ultimately pursuing his Master of Science in Data Marketing Communications. Here's what he had to say.

What was your thought process when deciding between an MBA and the MS in DMC?

I considered an MBA and took prerequisite courses before I realized the program never fully appealed to me. A news reporter-turned-PR professional, I am a communications person at heart. 

As my career evolved, I discovered marketing communications, which I now practice at one of the nation’s largest and most highly rated cancer centers,  Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis, Missouri. I also am board chair of the  Public Affairs & Marketing Network, a group of communications and marketing professionals from 70 cancer centers nationwide.

Serendipitously, I stumbled across the DMC program after a former colleague from that board proudly announced she had graduated from the sister IMC program. For me, DMC was the spark I had been seeking professionally – a graduate communications program with data analysis and business development at its core.

How has the DMC program been beneficial in your career?

As a mid-career professional, I know that now is the time for me to further develop my skills, to stay ahead of the curve and to carve out a greater role for myself in what clearly is the future of marketing communications.

I’m only three classes into the DMC program, but already I find myself engaging more, and more knowledgeably, with others on my integrated marketing and communications team. I’m better able to strategize, plan and execute – overall, to understand and contribute to – our mission. This will only progress as I work my way through the program.

Away from my professional life, I’m more attuned to the messages being directed at me as a consumer, and why they do or do not work.

What are you learning in the DMC program that is different from an MBA curriculum?

A common thread throughout my 20 years in scientific, academic, health-care, political and newsroom environments has been my interest in examining and understanding often-complex ideas and processes, and reporting on them in accessible and meaningful ways. Adding data analysis is a logical, smart next step.

No doubt, an MBA would have provided many of the same benefits. But again, that course of study didn’t speak as loudly to me as a career-long communicator. And DMC is such a new concept that I find it particularly stimulating. Indeed, I’m regularly asked to explain the program. My best response is that it’s data literacy + MBA light + marketing + digital platforms.

DMC enhances my past professional experiences, challenges me to do more with my natural abilities and fuels my excitement about the future.

James D. Goodwin 

Boost your marketing communications career today!

Whether you’re a seasoned marketing professional with several years of agency work under your belt or whether you’re just starting out in your marketing career, the  Data Marketing Communications graduate program is designed to teach you the skills you need to get ahead of the competition and make yourself irreplaceable in the rapidly-evolving marketing field.

Would you like to learn more about Data Marketing Communications and how it will help you excel in your career? Contact Ryan Minnigh at or request more information today!