Master Marketing Strategy and Tactics

The strategic product and marketing immersion (SPMI) in the two-year MBA program is a central part of the marketing track within the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

This immersion is designed to equip future business leaders with the toolkit to understand their customers inside and out. Using this depth of understanding, students learn to make strategic and tactical decisions based on customer insights. Our students come from varied industry backgrounds and move into a wide array of roles after graduation, from traditional brand management and marketing to product management, general management, strategy consulting, and entrepreneurship.


Strategic Product and Marketing Immersion Overview

SPMI includes three interwoven components: lectures, guest speakers, and an immersion project.

A person with long hair stands in front of a large group.


Lectures in the strategic product and marketing immersion cover foundational marketing concepts, theories, and frameworks as well as practical examples and case studies. Students learn to gather customer insights and apply these insights to develop relevant, effective marketing strategies. Topics include product and brand strategies, customer analytics, growth strategies, and digital marketing.

A professor stands in front of a large theater-style classroom.

Guest Speakers

Lecture topics come to life through seasoned guest speakers who have successful track records as marketers, executives, and business owners. These interactive sessions provide not only new knowledge, but also excellent networking opportunities.

A man with a stopwatch hanging from his neck talks with his hands in front of a small group.

Immersion Project

The final component of the immersion is the project, conducted in teams. Each team selects a real-world company or startup and tackles a marketing challenge central to that company or venture. Each team receives an actual marketing budget to conduct primary and secondary research as they shape their business recommendations, receiving guidance from faculty, second-year MBA course assistants, and external industry experts. The project serves as a perfect “dry run” for students to hone the skills that are critical to a successful summer internship.

Examples of SPMI Projects

Past SPMI project examples include:

Recommendations for a major packaged goods company to launch a new product within an emerging snack category

A strategy for the cloud division of a Big Tech company to increase market share by targeting small and medium enterprises

A marketing plan for a payment app to acquire more users in the Gen X and Baby Boomer demographic groups.

Career Paths: Working in Product Marketing and Brand Management

The skills and knowledge from this immersion are applicable in nearly every industry. Three particularly popular career paths include:

Two people sitting at a table with a laptop and papers with highlighting on them.

Brand Management and Marketing (Including Product Marketing and Marketing Analytics)

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Product Management

Four people sitting around a conference table with laptops and coffee cups in front of them.

Strategy Consulting

Career Outcomes: After the MBA

With their specialized knowledge and real-world experience, SPMI students find internships and full-time positions with prominent companies such as:

American Express logo.
Colgate-Palmolive logo.
General Mills logo.
Johnson + Johnson logo.
Mars logo.
P&G logo.
SC Johnson logo.
Unilever logo.
Amazon logo.
Hewlett Packard logo.

Student Reflections: The Immersion Experience

Collaborative learning. Accomplished classmates. Broad perspectives. These are just a few of the many reasons students value their SPMI experience.

Nithya Kocherlakota MBA ‘24 headshot.

“I was drawn to the strategic product and marketing immersion to deepen my understanding of customer behavior and preferences. Coming from a background in technology and financial services, I realized how important it is to connect with and cater to the needs of customers in today’s dynamic business landscape. This comprehensive exploration is crucial for any successful product or marketing strategy.”  — Nithya Kocherlakota MBA ’24

Patrick McNamara MBA ‘ 24 headshot.

“One of my favorite aspects was the opportunity to learn from a diverse and accomplished group of individuals. The immersion program featured an impressive array of speakers, including industry experts, alumni, and senior leaders from various fields. These speakers not only shared their insights, but also provided inspiration and real-world context for the concepts we were learning. This exposure to a wide range of perspectives and experiences was invaluable in broadening my horizons and shaping my understanding of marketing and product strategy.” — Patrick McNamara MBA ’24

Aditya Sindhu MBA ‘24 headshot.

“One of my favorite aspects of the immersion and the overall MBA program is the diverse and collaborative learning environment. The opportunity to work closely with fellow students from various professional backgrounds has enriched my perspective, enabled me to think more deeply, and provided insights into different industries. I feel like this collaborative atmosphere helped foster creativity and prepared me for the dynamic, cross-functional teamwork often required in the business world.” — Aditya Sindhu MBA ’24

Marketing Immersion Highlights: Program Distinctions

Among the many benefits of earning an MBA at the Johnson School are the rich learning and networking experiences within your semester-long strategic product and marketing immersion. Distinctions include:

Team-based immersion project based on a real-world marketing challenge

Engagement opportunities with industry-leading practitioners

Rich curriculum with foundational courses and options for specialization

Areas of Focus: Finding Your Specialization

After your immersion semester, you can continue to explore marketing and strategic brand management concepts by choosing a related area of focus. During your second year at the Johnson School, you’ll have a chance to take a series of electives surrounding a theme such as:

  • Brand Management
  • Data Modeling & Analytics
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Leadership & Ethics
  • Technology Product Management

Our Faculty: Industry-Spanning Expertise

With the immersion’s mix of theory and practice, it only makes sense that it is co-taught by a dynamic duo with a range of academic and industry experience.

Headshot of Shreya Kankanhalli.

Shreya Kankanhalli, Academic Lead

Assistant Professor of Marketing & Management Communication

With a strong interest in developing economies, Kankanhalli’s policy-relevant research focuses on helping traditional small-scale retail firms adopt modern technologies. Her work with econometric analysis and consumer behavior also aims to improve financial and business performance for micro-entrepreneurs.

Headshot of Doris Huang.

Doris Huang, Practitioner Lead

Visiting Lecturer, Marketing & Management Communication

With a background in consumer packaged goods and luxury retail brands like Godiva Chocolatier—as well as executive leadership experience in healthcare—Huang brings a wealth of industry experience to the Johnson School. Also an entrepreneur, she founded The Deco Food + Drink, a New York City food hall.

Clubs and Organizations: Make Your Mark at Cornell

The Johnson School’s two-year MBA program is bursting with extracurricular activities, including student organizations dedicated to marketing-related careers. Consider joining one or more to broaden your skills and expand your network.

Cornel Marketing Organization logo.

Cornell Marketing Organization

Partner with startups and other companies to grow their brands and gain professional experience.

“Cornell Johnson Marketing and General Management Club” written over the exterior of Sage Hall.

Marketing and General Management Club

Join a supportive community of peers: the next generation of marketing and general managers.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

If you’re looking for a graduate-level strategic marketing education, we encourage you to apply to the two-year MBA program at the Johnson School, where you can immerse yourself in the topic for a semester.