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The Advertising vs. Marketing Smackdown: What's Your Major?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- For college-bound students across the country, August is already looming large. As if finding the perfect dorm room bedspread and choosing the ideal meal plan weren't enough to worry about, students must also choose a major and decide once and for all what they want to be "when they grow up."

No matter your desired field of study, some majors are more difficult to choose among than others. Advertising and marketing, for example, are often lumped into the same category -- but which one offers more earning potential, more excitement, more fulfillment?

"Honestly, the future belongs to people who understand both marketing and advertising, and more importantly, to people who can help bring these areas closer together," says Julie Vessel, group account director at creative agency mono.

Today's students should ensure their degree provides them with a healthy balance of understanding how to solve marketing and business challenges and how to harness the power of creativity and ideas, Vessel says.

"They are inextricably linked, and will continue to be as the consumer landscape becomes more congested and as consumers take more and more control over deciding what content they want to see and with which they want to engage."

Unfortunately, students must choose a major, and there is a "right" answer. We checked in with experts to find out the best option for the undeclared.


For an eager, well-spoken grad, the earning power in advertising is "unlimited," says Michael Harbron, sales and marketing director at SEOHaus, an internet marketing company specializing in search engine optimization.

As for job opportunities within advertising, Harbron says there will always be jobs for qualified and non-experienced sales people.

"When done right, you can go far with advertising. I've seen lots of marketing grads bounce from one job to another because they're unhappy and not where they thought they'd be at 25! With advertising you can earn more money quicker."

In 10 years' time, Harbron says that sales directors have the most potential to earn the big bucks, because there's no "ceiling" for them to hit.

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