How to Attract Students for MBA Admission

We’ve talked previously about how to recruit graduate students, but today, let’s get more specific and talk about how to recruit MBA students. Today’s higher education recruiting environment is competitive and rapidly shifting, and you’re going to need more than your standard strategies to achieve success recruiting MBA students. Luckily, with over 400 universities and 30 years of experience under our belt, Thinking Cap Agency is here to help you achieve success.

So, how can your higher education university attract high-quality student inquiries from prospective MBA students? Let’s find out. 

Who are MBA students? 

Before we get into strategy, it’s important to have a clear understanding of who your prospective MBA students are, how they behave, what motivates them, and why they would choose to enroll in an MBA program. 

First, your prospective students are coming in with work experience. A recent study found that 89.6% of full-time MBA applicants have already been in the workforce with an average of 4.3 years of work experience. Part-time MBA applicants have even more work experience: 6.4 years on average. 

And second, though higher education strives for a gender balance in MBA programs, men still outnumber women in most MBA programs. In fall 2016, fewer than 40 percent of incoming MBA students were women. Part-time MBA programs tend to have a higher concentration of women.

So, your prospective MBA students are going to be inherently different than your undergraduate, transfer, or professional certification students. MBA students are career-minded and are pursuing higher education to advance in their careers or potentially make important pivots. They have work experience, so they’re highly focused on what they’re trying to get out of their degree. And they’re going to be picky about which MBA program they select, because they want to ensure that the program will help them reach their goals. 

Read next: How to Create Data-Driven Student Personas for Higher Education Marketing

Here are our top strategies for attracting prospective students for MBA admission. 

1. Highlight your flexible, online, and hybrid learning solutions

The rapid transition to remote learning proved to the world that it was possible all along and established a thoroughly troubleshot framework for successful remote learning programs. At this point, your prospective students expect your programs to naturally fit into their lives. 

And speaking of MBA students lives—they are busy ones, often with families and caregiving responsibilities in addition to their higher education pursuits. Flexible education options allow for your prospective students to fit your program into their lives when they might not have been able to before. 

To communicate with 2021’s pool of prospective students, highlight the remote learning programs that you’ve streamlined and mastered since the pandemic. Show your prospective students exactly how your programs can be tailored to fit their needs—and you’ll win them over. 

Read next: How Has COVID-19 Impacted Higher Education? 3 Trends to Watch

2. Create data-driven student personas for your MBA students

A student persona is a representation of the ideal student that you want to enroll in your program, based on a combination of real data about your existing students and market research. You should have student personas for students in every program you offer—and your MBA program is no exception. 

Wondering how to create a student persona that will help you leverage the data you have to identify, communicate with, and influence prospective MBA students? First, analyze your current student database. Then, fill in the gaps by reaching out to current students, conducting focus groups and informational interviews, and sending out surveys. After that you should gather market research relevant to your student population. You can find a more detailed breakdown as well as examples here

3. Use CRM for higher education to deliver personalized messaging

A CRM (customer relationship management) tool is your secret weapon when it comes to recruiting qualified students for your MBA program. A CRM tool allows enrollment marketers to learn about their prospective MBA students and keep track of their journey through the enrollment funnel, allowing marketers to nurture relationships with prospects, produce data-driven results, and streamline their efforts to benefit teamwork and save time. 

The real benefit of using a CRM tool for recruiting MBA students is that it allows your whole team to keep track of each student and deliver personalized, timely messages based on where they are in the enrollment funnel. Personalized marketing is important across sectors, but for busy MBA students, it’s crucial. 

Read next: Your Complete Guide to CRM for Higher Education

4. Short-form video storytelling for maximum impact

In today’s short attention span world, engaging your prospective MBA students is more challenging than ever. That’s where short-form video social storytelling comes in—cutting through the digital noise, catching students’ attention where they already are, and influencing your future students through episodic video content. 

Video is an incredibly powerful medium—it’s uniquely able to evoke emotion and forge human connection at scale. And not to mention, video generates ten times more engagement than static posts on social media. We developed U-SOCIAL™ to help universities leverage their unique stories to drive impactful campaign results with their future students.

Read next: Video Is The Future of Enrollment Marketing

The world of higher education marketing is no longer rapidly shifting—it’s already shifted. Make sure that your university is ahead of the curve and ahead of the competition. 

Are you ready to increase your qualified student inquiries? Thinking Cap Agency is here to help. We leverage our 30 years of experience, data-driven omnichannel solutions, proprietary research, and team of specialized experts to drive exceptional campaign results. Contact us today to get started. 

Christina OToole

Christina is a data-driven, full stack marketer with over 20 years success leading marketing in higher education, tech and publishing industries. She lead enrollment marketing programs for the both the University of California, Santa Barbara and UC San Diego continuing education divisions. Christina has developed hundreds of marketing campaigns and built all facets of programs including lifecycle journeys, creative direction and lead generation.