UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two years ago, Cody Brutlag and Matthew Kreider were among the first students to enroll in the newly offered online Master’s in Marketing Analytics and Insights program. Come May 7, they’ll be among the program’s first graduates. 

“It’s such a unique experience to be among the first to graduate from the program,” said Brutlag. “I didn’t realize when I enrolled that this was a new program. That’s a testament to the quality of the university and its instructors.” 

Brutlag serves as the director of marketing for a not-for-profit health system in California and oversees the strategy and execution of marketing initiatives for the division.  

He said that he’d always considered earning a master’s degree but let his busy life and career deter him. When five of his coworkers decided to go back to school, that was Brutlag's catalyst to make his own educational goals a priority, he said.  

Cody Brutlag

Brutlag's undergraduate degree is in communications, and because he didn’t have any training in marketing prior to enrolling through World Campus, Brutlag said he wanted a program that would round out his skill set. After researching his options, Brutlag said the online program was exactly what he was looking for.  

“I felt it would make me a stronger marketer, help me think more strategically, and most importantly, teach me the data analysis process that would help me derive solid, data-driven insights for my organization,” said Brutlag. “Having entered the marketing field on the creative and content development side, I was certainly not a numbers guy. This program was exactly what I needed to become one.” 

The online Master’s in Marketing Analytics and Insights program was launched in 2019 through a partnership between Penn State World Campus and the Penn State Smeal College of Business. 

Over the course of 30 credits, including a culminating capstone experience, the program is designed to teach students the theoretical foundations, analytical tools, and critical thinking skills to efficiently apply data to make strategic marketing decisions. 

Students can learn to integrate, visualize, and leverage data to generate meaningful insights in the areas of digital marketing communications, customer experience and lifecycle, and brand management. 

“This program was developed based on an overwhelming demand in the marketplace to help marketers understand how to turn raw data into actionable insights across a broad spectrum of marketing topics,” said J. Andrew Petersen, associate professor of marketing and faculty director of the program. “We have been incredibly fortunate to get so many high-quality students like Cody and Matthew who have excelled throughout the master’s program and are ready to apply what they have learned right away to advance their marketing careers.” 

Matthew Kreider

Matthew Kreider said he knew he needed to go back to school when he realized that he wouldn’t have the career advancement he desired without further education, and for him, being raised a Penn State fan made the decision to attend World Campus a no-brainer. 

Kreider’s wife was pregnant when he decided to go back to school, so he started by enrolling in the online Graduate Certificate in Marketing Analytics program. When the master’s program was later announced, he said he knew he had to keep going.  

Despite the challenges of balancing his education, career, and growing family, Kreider said he knew he made the right choice to go back to school when he made significant career advancements before graduating. 

“I knew I would have a lot on my plate, but I took the challenge head-on and am glad I did,” said Kreider. “Had I waited to go back to school until after my son was born, I probably would feel like I wouldn’t have enough time for school. And now, considering I’ve experienced an immediate impact on my career even before graduating, I know it was all worth it.” 

Kreider serves as the manager of member insights at an organization in Arlington, Virginia. 

Both Kreider and Brutlag agreed that their continued education at Penn State World Campus has proven to be worthwhile and they are proud to be among the first graduates of the program. 

“I’m ecstatic,” said Kreider. “It’s a historic milestone that can’t be undone. I think this program is primed to grow quickly and am glad to be at the forefront of this area of study.”