MSMRS Program Director Interview

To better understand the newly launched MS Marketing & Retail Science (MSMRS) program, we sat down with the program’s academic director, Professor Russ Winer, William H. Joyce Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern. Professor Winer shares details about the program development, unique and relevant curriculum, and career trajectories for the students in the program.

Can you tell us about the MSMRS program? What makes it unique from other MS Marketing programs?

The distinguishing feature of the program’s curriculum is that it combines both a solid foundation in marketing skills with courses designed to demonstrate how increasingly large amounts of data available to marketing managers can be used to help make marketing decisions. Therefore, it combines the best of two worlds: the latest in marketing concepts and frameworks and a deep understanding of how those concepts and frameworks are augmented with consumer data analytics. In addition, the context of the courses is doing business in Asia in order to prepare students for careers in that part of the world.

Walk us through the design of the program. How did the curriculum come together? Are there any courses in particular that you think are especially relevant?

A team of marketing faculty from both NYU Stern and NYU Shanghai considered three types of courses. First, we wanted students to have some foundational business and methodology courses. These include business communications, statistics and data analysis, and Python programming. Second, we listed the marketing courses we felt were necessary to provide students with an essential education in marketing. These include Marketing Management, Brand Strategy, Digital Marketing, Consumer Behavior, and more. Finally, we developed courses that brought the “big data” aspect of today’s marketing into the curriculum. One of these is a new course focusing on new retail technologies such as augmented/virtual reality, mobile, new in-home “smart” devices, and the like. Others such as a course titled Marketing Analytics gives students experience in integrating the statistics they have learned into using “big data” to make marketing decisions.

The Capstone project is a hallmark of this program. Can you share an example of what the Capstone projects will look like for this program?

Yes, this is an exciting part of the course. In the last term of the program, student teams will tackle interesting projects with real companies. One example is where a company is seeking to enter a new market segment for its brand. Students could analyze purchasing data provided by the company and develop a survey of the potential new customers to test the market. A second example is to analyze data from a company like Alibaba for some of their new interactive shopping technologies. Our program’s advisory board represents companies like Microsoft, Apple, Unilever, and Estee Lauder so we hope to obtain projects in these companies and others.

This program takes place in both Shanghai and New York. How is the dual location incorporated into the curriculum and program experience?

The great aspect of this duality is that students will be exposed to two different consumer and business cultures. In addition, there will be company visits and guest speakers to add to this global feature. At the same time, there will be a lot of course content focusing on Asia where we expect graduates to take positions upon graduation.

What are some of the jobs/positions/industries that you think students may pursue after this degree?

There are many different industries for which our graduates will be attractive. The target industries are those that sell their brands online or operate online platforms. The latter include Amazon, Alibaba,, and others. The former include almost all companies today who have expanded their channels of distribution to include digital channels. They could include companies that sell FMCG, or fast moving consumer goods, like Procter & Gamble and Unilever, durable goods like Apple, tech products such as Microsoft, financial services like Vanguard, and personal care products such as Estee Lauder. In addition, our graduates will be popular with communications firms such as advertising agencies and consulting firms, both of whom have clients who operate in the digital space.

What are some marketing trends you're seeing in the US and/or China that students will explore in the program?

The biggest trends in retail are the explosion of customer data that is available and the expansion of channels of distribution or points of access for consumers to buy products. This program is custom-built to address these two trends. For example, we will offer two courses in data analytics focused on using data to solve marketing problems, Data Driven Decision Making, and Marketing Analytics.