Category Archives: Twitter

October 9, 2013

Trends in MBA Admissions

Selecting students for admission into a competitive and prestigious MBA program is no easy feat. In order to effectively evaluate applicants, the admissions offices draw upon a wide variety of data, including applications, essays, interviews, and test scores. Programs are constantly looking for ways to improve their admissions procedures by streamlining the process, vigorously screening applicants, and by searching for the subtle personality qualities that make an applicant stand out.

Trend #1: Smart Data, Smart Decision Making with AMP

  • Analyze data with data reporting tools to compare applicants.
  • AMP is a college admissions software built specifically to handle complex admissions processes. Originally developed for medical admissions, it is an extremely flexible product that can be customized for your existing processes.
  • AMP can handle complex admissions procedures such as Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI), interview scheduling, committee evaluations, and applicant screening.
  • AMP’s powerful custom reporting tool means that you’ll be able to generate statistics to better evaluate your applicants and more efficiently narrow the pool to only the most promising prospects.

Trend #2: Evaluating Ethics with Turnitin

  • Turnitin.com is an online tool commonly used by professors to screen submitted papers for plagiarism. It has also proven useful for screening application essays in the admissions office.
  • Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal School of Business used Turnitin during the 2012-2013 admissions season and subsequently rejected 48 applicants because of plagiarism. At the UCLA Anderson School of Management, 15 applicants were rejected as a result of plagiarism.
  • Especially in an MBA program, ethical decision-making is a very important quality in a strong applicant.

Trend #3: Rethink the essay question

  • Several MBA programs are getting personal & creative when it comes to their evaluation criteria. These unorthodox methods put the applicant in an unexpected situation, catching them off guard. Then, the admissions office can better evaluate an applicant’s personality and grace under pressure.
  • At Chicago Booth’s MBA program, they allow applicants to submit a 4 slide powerpoint presentation instead of a traditional essay response.
  • Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business challenged applicants to tweet a reason why they want to attend the school’s MBA program.
  • The University of Toronto’s Rotman School has replaced a traditional written essay question with a 90-second video interview. “We wanted to know more about the personality and passions of our applicants”, explains Niki da Silva, Rotman’s Director of Admissions. “Candidates were picking out keywords from our website for their essays, and we felt that we were losing in authenticity.”

With abundant resources, here are many ways to improve the performance of your admissions office.

Has your school implemented any new evaluation methods?

March 14, 2013

Social Media in Higher Education: Teach what you Preach

In the past several years, colleges and universities have almost universally accepted the importance of social media. Increasingly, schools are actively using social media outlets to recruit prospective students, maintain relationships with current students, and build their brand identity. The administration “gets” social media, but does the curriculum reflect this cultural shift?

As of 2011, a whopping 98% of schools had a dedicated Facebook page, with many also owning accounts on YouTube, Twitter, Linkedin, and other social media sites. According to a Zinch survey, a majority of prospective students are using social media to research their schools of choice – 70% of prospective students go to Facebook, 40% look at Twitter, and 20% browse YouTube. Gil Rogers, director of College Outreach for Zinch, suggests that universities should be aware of these findings and reevaluate their social media strategy. “While it might be free to create accounts on these new, popular social media sites, universities should focus recruitment efforts on where they’re going to get the highest return on investment,” Rogers said.

When utilizing social media, schools need to focus on engaging with students. Simply creating a Facebook page isn’t enough; there needs to be a human behind the page to maintain the page, answer questions, give advice, and offer means of connecting with other students and the campus as a whole. Guest postings from financial aid officers, admissions representatives, and professors are ways to offer credibility and variety to social media efforts. Efforts to humanize the ivory tower are paying off for many schools.

Dr. James Nolan of Southwestern University can personally vouch for the positive results of an engaging social media campaign; “With social media as an enormous powerful ally, we broke all enrollment records this past year, for each quarter, and overall, and our credit hour production was great as well. (That record will be broken next year. I can see that already…) Prospective students now show up routinely, saying “I feel like I know you guys already from your videos and blogs and Facebook page … I’ve been following you for months…” It is gratifying, and it is good business, and it is authentic.”

So, it is clear that the admissions and marketing departments of schools understand that social media is now a necessary part of doing business; but does marketing and business curricula reflect the change? For the most part, no. “Overall, the higher education system is failing to prepare students with the needed digital and social skill set in any meaningful way,” says Dr. William Ward of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.  ”Higher education, like business, needs a culture shift.”

Dr. Ward teaches social media courses at Syracuse University and approaches the subject methodically to show that social media, like other marketing efforts, can be applied in a business setting in a results-driven, goal-oriented, and measurable manner. His approach to social media education prepares graduates for the growing demand for media-competent employees. Of 2,100 companies  surveyed by Harvard Business Review, only 12% of those using social media felt they were using it effectively. Schools with a solid social media curriculum are uniquely positioned to attract students looking for a degree in a field that is in hot demand. “Learning how to use social media smartly gives employers a reason to hire,” Ward says. “Helping individuals and organizations harness digital and social communication to their advantage will become one of the fastest growth segments.”

Syracuse University and Dr. Ward are on the cutting edge of preparing students for lucrative and in-demand jobs, and many other schools are following their lead. Harvard, NYU, and Columbia (among others) have already added social media classes to their offerings. In the near future, businesses (and schools!) will no longer use trial and error in their social media campaign. Soon, there will be a new class of professionals manning the computers behind corporate social media accounts. It will be interesting to see the evolution of social media’s place in the higher education classroom; maybe we will soon see BA’s in social media alongside majors such as marketing, advertising, and business development.

How does your admissions office utilize social media? Has your school added any courses on the subject?

September 25, 2012

Taking Social Media to the Next Level

In a survey conducted by The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research, researchers found that 100% of Colleges and Universities are now utilizing social media. Now that everyone has recognized the importance of social media, the question becomes: How will your school’s social media efforts rise above the noise of the crowd?

So, how can your school distinguish itself and take social media to the next level? The answer may not be as complicated as it seems. To answer this question, we looked to the Top 100 Social Media Colleges list.

Harvard topped the list with their All Harvard Social Media page. Using a dashboard-style layout, you get a quick, easy-to-swallow overview of what’s happening with featured tweets, Facebook “likes,” and YouTube videos. Because it is featured in the footer, this social media dashboard is easily accessible from any page in the site. My favorite feature? A menu to organizes all Harvard-affiliated social media profiles in one elegant, easily to navigate location.

Harvard Social Media Directory
The University of Oregon has taken full advantage of Foursquare’s features by creating a robust profile with helpful descriptions of campus landmarks. No time to take a tour? No problem! You can guide yourself through the campus with the help of a smartphone.University of Oregon Foursquare

And, last but not least, Emerson University has done a great job in promoting social media both for the university and in the classroom. Each semester, Emerson’s social media class targets a well-known person who would be impossible to contact via traditional means, and then use Twitter to communicate with them directly. Their Fall 2011 efforts were very successful, and they had the opportunity to have a social media Q&A session with athlete Chad Johnson (formerly known as Chad Ochocinco) and his ex-wife, star of “Basketball Wives,” Evelyn Lozada.

Emerson Students meet Chad Johnson