Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies

Finding the perfect fit

February 21, 2024

Headshot of Brooke Baker

Brooke Baker MS’24 reflects on the research and decision-making that led her to choose Brandeis GPS.

I’m Brooke Baker and I am currently in my third session in the Digital Marketing and Design program at Brandeis GPS. I have a couple of years of experience in marketing and work as a Marketing Coordinator at DQS Inc. In this role, I mainly focus on social media and SEO for our U.S. market. My typical day involves creating graphics and descriptions to plan our social calendar in addition to doing keyword research, running page audits, and editing content on our site for improvements. Although those are the main things I do every day, there are also new challenges and tasks to mix things up.

After earning my Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Gonzaga University, I found myself at a crossroads contemplating what to do next. I was interested in pursuing my master's at some point, but the decision of when to take that next step posed a significant question.

When coming to a decision, I sought out the advice of many mentors and friends. One of the biggest takeaways was that gaining real-world marketing experience prior to undertaking a master's degree enables you to get more out of the program. Additionally, another piece of wisdom that stuck with me was that completing a master's closer to undergrad makes for a much smoother transition back into the student mindset, an insight that proved true in my experience.

In making the decision on when to pursue a master's, I aimed for a balanced approach, seeking to gain the benefit of having some work experience but not waiting too long after undergrad. While I felt that the sweet spot was within a couple of years of graduation, it truly varies for each individual and their unique circumstances. In my case, the timing happened to be about a year and a half post-undergrad.

When deciding to enroll at Brandeis, numerous factors played a role in shaping my decision. I was driven by a desire to continue to learn and dive deeper into marketing, specifically focusing on digital marketing. When I began thinking about pursuing my next phase of higher education, I initially looked into MBA programs.

However, after researching, I found that most of these programs lacked the specific focus on digital marketing that I was after. I realized that I wanted a program that was completely centered on marketing, and truly dove deeper into topics such as SEO, content creation, and analytics.

Another factor in my decision making process was that the program was entirely online, asynchronous, accredited, and run by a school with a strong reputation. The flexibility to maintain my full-time job while attending school was crucial.

Quickly, Brandeis emerged as my top choice, meeting all my criteria. The Digital Marketing and Design program truly stood out among the rest with its diverse mix of analytical, technical, and creative marketing courses. In the end, one of my main goals for pursuing a master's was to broaden my skills and become a more well-rounded marketing professional. Brandeis' program ended up being the perfect opportunity for that.

I get asked often as a graduate student how the transition and learning experience from undergraduate is. In my experience, one of the most notable differences is the increased emphasis on critical thinking and application. While instructors provide the expertise and knowledge essential for grasping the fundamentals of a topic, it is up to the students to independently evaluate the information, draw their conclusions, and apply these insights in practical scenarios.

Engaging in hands-on learning through projects and assignments is a great way to absorb a wealth of information and combine it with personal experiences and research to come to a conclusion. I’ve found that learning extends beyond your personal experience and the assignments. Every week I learn new things from my peers in the weekly discussion boards. This interactive aspect has proven to be one of the program's most valuable experiences as it brings everything together.

What I have truly come to appreciate about the Digital Marketing and Design program is that there isn't always a correct answer to a discussion board prompt or assignment. The true learning experience comes from each individual's diverse and unique personal expertise and experiences, which can challenge your thinking and lead to new perspectives.

Another notable advantage of our diverse cohort is the wide variety of career paths and varying stages in our professional journeys among students. Regardless of the difference in experience levels, every student contributes a distinct perspective. Those with less experience gain valuable insights from seasoned experts, while individuals with more experience may find themselves challenged to approach things differently when engaging with their younger counterparts.

The diversity in experience levels and specialties within the program creates a two-way learning dynamic. Students of all ages and backgrounds have valuable experiences to share, which makes learning together beneficial for everyone.

Although it varies for each individual, in my experience it was perfect timing to begin pursuing my master’s after gaining about a year or more of professional experience. As I look to the future, I am not entirely sure what it holds after my time at Brandeis. I am excited to continue applying what I have learned in each course to my current position as well as the new opportunities that come with a completed master's degree.

To learn more about the online M.S. in Digital Marketing and Design, please visit our website