Top Business Schools Pumping Out Social Media Savvy Graduates

harvard-business-schoolSome of the world’s top business schools are offering courses in social media as part of their strategy to keep their students on the cutting-edge of the business world. These schools emphasize using social networks as complimentary, but not necessarily central, to current business strategies. It is important that students have a firm understanding of traditional business strategies before jumping on to YouTube or Twitter as their specialty, in order to use social media effectively.

Schools like Harvard, Insead, and London Business School have implemented social network courses for their students, after hearing the demand for social media savvy graduates from recruiters. One of Harvard’s courses, “Competing with Social Media”, for instance, offers students a theoretical “network failure framework” from which to analyze the effectiveness of LinkedIn, Friendster, Twitter, mixi, MySpace, Facebook Connect, and Google’s Friend Connect. The course also looks at particularly successful businesses that have leveraged the social element of networks such as these, including eHarmony and Yelp. This course attempts to bring traditional business strategies to bear on social networks, equipping students with both practical and analytical skills.

Insead offers a course entitled “Advertising and Social Media Strategy”, aimed at showing students how to utilize social networks effectively to advertise. This is a hands-on course that requires students to implement social media marketing strategies for clients as a major project throughout the term. And because of the relatively new and dynamic nature of social networks, the professor requires that students keep up to date on some of the industry’s top blogs rather than read an assigned course textbook.

Most of the social media courses offered at these elite business schools are electives, but they will no doubt prepare students for a career in the fast-paced world of social media business. As the social network space is still a “Wild West” of sorts, successful students need to not only absorb the practical knowledge of current social networks, but also the theoretical rational behind their successes and failures. These courses are designed to produce graduates who are flexible and entrepreneurial in nature, able to adapt to change quickly.