The Official Blog of the Graduate Management Admission Council

Virtual Events: How to Elevate Your Business School Brand

Posted by Simon Lovick
Simon Lovick is a Senior Writer and Video Content Manager at BusinessBecause.

Posted on May 12, 2021 11:45:10 AM

With applications on the rise this past year, business schools should not lose sight of keeping their brand top of mind with potential candidates.

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Brand is as important as ever. The 2020 GMAC Prospective Student survey found that the largest proportion of prospective candidates (48%) were at the stage of researching programs, and graduate management education in general. Consider this an opportunity to make an impression on undecided students with a clear and distinct brand message.

A lot has changed in the past year when it comes to engaging candidates for your programs. Most communications have moved online, and in-person events have largely been replaced by virtual events.

In the GMAC Connect webinar, Keeping Your Brand from Getting Left Behind, we explored how to approach virtual tour events, and four things you should consider doing to ensure your brand stays top of mind for candidates.

1. Maintain virtual booth presence at tour events

Having a virtual presence at an event allows you to engage directly with candidates with a live chat feature. Your school’s brand will be visible, while candidates can watch videos and learn about what differentiates your school. Also, you’ll have access to all the pre-registrant information to send them one email prior to the event. As well as receive the leads of all consented candidates who you interacted with at the event and those who entered your virtual presence. In addition, you can do one post-event e-blast to all registrants who consented, to keep your brand top of mind.

2. Use past tour data to target candidates

Given the vast range of cities and countries where The MBA Tour events take place, it may not be feasible for schools to be at every event. You should think about how you can strategically approach certain locations in order to more effectively target candidates.

During the recent GMAC Connect webinar, Vivien Francis, admissions marketing manager at Asia School of Business (ASB) in Malaysia, shared how she used the past tour data for ASB to help plan her next tour season strategy.

The post-tour data allowed her to identify geographic locations where candidates were most responsive to ASB, and where she felt ASB could be highlighted. The data revealed that the ASB brand resonated well with candidates from Mexico, Turkey & Lebanon, as well as Southeast Asia, and in general had a good return on investment.

Also, this data provided Vivien the guidance to effectively target specific locations with different tour features like meet-ups at some events, plus an MBA Talk. While other events maintained a virtual presence to keep the ASB brand front and center with other schools.

3. Host a resume or mock interview clinic

One way of creating a lasting impression of your school brand is to become a trusted brand with candidates.

Chris Wszalek, executive director of graduate admissions at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, explained during the GMAC Connect Webinar another tactic the school adopted at virtual events to draw interest and build brand trust.

Chris decided to invest in the new tour feature, the resume clinic. He recruited help from his school’s career services to assist with candidates and the outcome was a success. This clearly resonated with the candidates, their schedule was packed all the way through the event. This has subsequently been followed up by strong conversations, which will hopefully convert into applications.

4. Offer prizes and fee waivers at your Virtual Presence booth

To attract attention to your booth, and have candidates engage with you, consider offering some sort of prize or fee waiver. According to the most recent MBA Tour candidate survey, 84 percent of them said prizes can be a factor to attend an event and 75 percent told us they hoped to receive a fee waiver.

Many schools offer an admission fees waiver in exchange for leaving contact information at their virtual presence and The MBA Tour offers free GMAT prep material during the event.

There are certainly opportunities to be creative with this. Be sure to offer something that entices participants to remain connected with you.

While virtual tour events are an important way of making that first point of contact with prospective students, they’re also a crucial opportunity to establish and strengthen your brand in a crowded market. Approach these events in the right way and you’re sure to reap the rewards.

For more information how The MBA Tour can help, please contact us directly at gmacconnect@gmac.com.

Topics: Recruitment & Marketing, Prospective Students

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