Northwood University Offers Educational Opportunities for Careers in the Auto Industry

By: Toni Cunningham | May 9, 2014
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As residents of (and around) the Motor City, it’s only natural that so many people gravitate toward the automotive industry. While this year’s students are currently going through graduation ceremonies, others are making plans for furthering his or her education.

Interested in the automotive industry? You might find the perfect fit with Northwood University’s Automotive Marketing and Management field. While there are several Northwood campuses located in Michigan and other parts of the U.S., the main campus is located at 4000 Whiting Dr., Midland.

Michiganders looking to work in the automotive industry are at an advantage—Northwood is the only university in the United States to offer a full dealership educational program, and its students are thus better prepared for working in the field.

Students are taught business models, supply chains and financial strategies, and are trained by industry leaders who share their knowledge and experience in order for students to learn from real life situations as well as course materials, according to William Gagliardi, Associate Vice President of Marketing, Communications and PR.

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“An internship is required for graduation and many students work more than one summer with a business in the automotive market. Northwood students are taught by people from industry so they are learning business practices, regularly give presentations and prepare written reports throughout their college career,” said Gagliardi. “In addition, students attend trade shows and industry events to learn about current issues and network. All of these elements give Northwood students an edge because they are productive for their employers from day one.”

The graduation rate of students in Northwood’s Automotive Marketing and Management program last year was 89 percent. Post graduation, students with a Bachelors of Business Administration have found employment with General Motors, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Suburban Collection, Volkswagen Credit Inc.,, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and many more.

“Northwood alumni are well-represented throughout the entire industry and are in hiring positions,” Gagliardi said. “Students get internships and post-graduation careers which are generally entry level, but they tend to move up faster than others because their learning curve is shorter and they have a better understanding of the industry.”

The training students receive is incredibly hands on. Inspired by the North American International Auto Show, the Northwood University International Auto Show takes place in October at the Midland campus. The student run show includes 600 plus volunteers, and last year’s show brought in more than 60,000 attendants.

The Automotive Marketing and Management program prepares autoworkers to get a job in the Motor City and includes an extremely adaptable curriculum.

“Autoworkers who may not want to attend college full time can take courses through the ADP (Adult Degree Program) either at a satellite office or online. The same program taught in the classroom is taught online by industry professionals, so adult learners also benefit from industry examples and experiences,” Gagliardi said.

As for those who are already part of the automotive industry, Northwood University and General Motors created a higher education partnership last fall that allows GM employees to continue their education in automotive marketing, business and leadership.

There are three programs, including GM/Northwood University Advanced Leadership Program, Automotive Marketing and Management Bachelor of Business Administration, and GM/DeVos Graduate School Executive Master of Business Administration. To date, over a thousand GM dealers and dealership employees have earned or are earning a degree in Automotive Marketing and Management from Northwood University.

Right now, the auto industry is looking for workers in plenty of areas, including sales, marketing, product management, accounting/finance, category management, supply chain and product management, to name a few. The Automotive Marketing and Management program is perfect for anyone interested in automotive business, as well as taking advantage of any networking and internship/career opportunities presented.

“We currently have more jobs available than students and starting salaries can be higher than other disciplines. Students graduating from this program not only earn a BBA, but learn an industry and walk out with practical work experience and a resume,” Gagliardi said.

For more information on Northwood University and its Automotive Marketing and Management field, visit the official website.