Southwark Consulting was contacted by an urban business school in the northeastern U.S. that wanted to ensure it was implementing the best admissions practices for its MBA, MS, and EMBA programs. The school also asked us to examine its prospecting and branding process across all of its programs to make sure that the best and brightest students were drawn to the school. Finally, they wanted us to assess how the admissions team could most effectively allocate resources to the numerous marketing channels at their disposal, including the school web site, information sessions, social media outlets, community sites, print media, MBA fairs, and more.
We conducted a full review of the admissions processes for each of the school’s graduate business programs. This included speaking in person with multiple members of the school’s administration, faculty, and student body to analyze each program’s applicant processing systems, application components, and prospecting efforts. Southwark also engaged the Constituent Research team at Huron Consulting Group to conduct an extensive survey of hundreds of prospective students to help the school better understand the perception of its reputation and brand. In addition, in collaboration with the school’s career services department, Southwark surveyed current, former, and potential recruiters to learn how the school and its graduates were perceived in the workforce.
Following our research and analysis, Southwark provided the school’s dean and senior administrative officials with a written report documenting our recommendations and also met with key stakeholders at the school to present and discuss our findings. Ultimately, Southwark was able to identify real opportunities for the school to enhance the efficiency of its application processing. We also offered extensive recommendations for redesigning and standardizing the application requirements and interview processes across its graduate programs to improve the rigor with which candidates are assessed. Lastly, we presented data that offered guidance for the school’s overall branding among prospective applicants and employers. The school is currently in the process of implementing our operational suggestions, and they have reported substantial increases in efficiency thus far. Senior administrators are also using the extensive survey data from our report as a foundation for a major re-branding campaign they have embarked upon.