6 Ways GMAC Tours Can Elevate Your Recruitment Strategy in 2024

Posted by Amy Hughes
Amy Hughes is a freelance writer covering higher education and graduate management education. She has written sponsored and non-sponsored editorial content for BusinessBecause as well as GMAC Media and works regularly on content marketing pieces for business schools around the world. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of York and a master's of studies degree in English with American Studies from the University of Oxford.

Posted on Feb 20, 2024 9:43:44 AM

Blurred figures walk in a hallway above a staircaseWhen it comes to making strong connections with prospective graduate management education students, GMAC Tours is one of the premier opportunities for business schools. 

Over 11,000 candidates attended GMAC Tours events over the summer and fall of 2023, with a slate of 50 events spanning numerous continents, cities, and event formats.

In a recent webinar, managing director of GMAC Tours, Danielle Boland, laid out the opportunities available for business schools to level up recruiting in 2024, whether your goals are to enter new markets, boost your brand, or supercharge diversity.

Here are 6 ways GMAC Tours can help.

1. Connecting with highly engaged candidates

One of the major advantages of attending GMAC Tours is the access they offer to highly engaged candidates.

More than three-quarters (76%) of attendees in 2023 intended to apply to MBA programs, with 69% hoping to enroll in 2024. In fact, almost one-fifth of attendees in summer and fall 2023 had already taken the GMAT exam by the time they reached the events.

The data from previous years suggests this translates into enrollments. Of the candidates who attended GMAT Tour events in 2021 and 2022, half have enrolled in a program or already completed one.

This degree of focus from candidates greatly benefits business schools. Instead of making a case for business education or MBA degrees in general, GMAC Tours give you the opportunity to make genuine connections with candidates lower down in the funnel, showcasing the benefits of your program specifically.

2. Increasing diversity

GMAC Tours has also introduced innovative solutions to boost diversity, such as through breakfasts and mixers for women in business and Black, Hispanic, and Native candidates.

These opportunities are programmed before the main in-person events and give candidates from marginalized communities the chance to network with schools and peers and hear insights from guest alumni speakers.

This additional programming has a tangible impact on the diversity of prospective students at the events. At the GMAC Tour event in New York City, which started with a Women in Business Breakfast in collaboration with the Forté Foundation, 51% of attendees were women.

The feedback from participants was that the breakfast helped to break down impostor syndrome around the business school application process.

“[The breakfast] helped me build my confidence to meet other women in the same boat as me,” said one attendee of the New York Women in Business event.

On average, 45 people attended each mixer in 2023, with 10-12 schools in attendance. That’s a 5:1 average candidate to school ratio, perfect for making deep connections with candidates and cultivating a diverse incoming class.

GMAC Tours also offers virtual “Spotlight Events” for candidates from underrepresented backgrounds, including a Spotlight on MBAs for Veterans.

3. Reaching more candidates virtually

Building on lessons learned after networking events moved online in 2020, GMAC Tours’ virtual offering has evolved to bring more value to schools and applicants in addition to their in-person event offering.

In 2023, schools saw an average of 65 virtual booth visitors (an almost 200% increase from 2021), 75 virtual MBA Talk attendees, and a 44:1 candidate to school ratio.

In some cases, the virtual events offered even more highly focused candidates than in-person events did. For instance, on the North America tour, virtual candidates were more strongly in favor of the MBA, with 93% focusing on the program, and 23% had already taken the GMAT.

In Asia, a third of virtual attendees had completed the GMAT before attending the tour.

This offers a prime opportunity for schools hoping to strengthen their brand in overseas markets without needing to travel.

4. Activating alumni connections

MBA graduates are often told that “Your network is your net worth,” and this is true for business schools, too.

Your students and alumni are some of the best ambassadors for your program. Not only do they share the application experience with Tour attendees, but they ultimately selected your program and are reaping the benefits.

GMAC Tours offers ample opportunities to activate your network in recruitment, whether that’s through alumni talks at diversity events or at the wider tour events.

Cassie Streich, associate director of graduate admissions at Emory’s Goizueta Business School, recommends the tactic of inviting MBA students who are currently doing internships in a Tour city to do talks about the program.

This is a winning strategy—attendee feedback shows that networking with alumni is a huge draw for attendees, which could help raise your profile in your target markets.

5. Boosting your brand with sold-out events

Another highlight of GMAC Tours events for applicants is the professionalism and structure of GMAC Tour events. Each program is packed with high-value programming that not only delivers value for candidates but creates connection opportunities for business schools.

The strongest example is the Resume Clinics, in which business school admission experts review attendees’ resumes and give feedback. These events invariably sell out, providing admissions experts with exposure to a broad array of candidates.

Streich says she has made valuable connections with candidates through the Resume Clinic, even inviting them to send her their updated resume once they’ve applied her edits, continuing their connection after the Tour.

6. Expanding into specialized master’s

Finally, GMAC Tours is rolling out opportunities to expand your recruitment marketing to specialized master’s programs through a series of on-campus recruiting events.

So far, four on-campus events have taken place, for instance at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. There was a total of 289 attendees, 56% of whom were female.

Hosting these events on campus ensures an audience that aligns closely with the target market for specialized master’s—85% of attendees had less than five years’ working experience.

They are also highly focused on enrollment:—81% of event attendees in 2023 were looking to join a program in 2024, with just 12% saying they didn’t have any imminent plans for enrollment.

Registration is open for spring 2024

Don’t miss out on the chance to connect with great candidates around the world. Register for Spring 2024 events by contacting your GMAC Solutions Rep or toursupport@gmac.com.

Topics: Recruitment & Marketing, MBA Program, graduate management education, GME, MBA

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