SOURCE: Veritas Prep

Veritas Prep

December 11, 2009 10:44 ET

Authenticity, Interactivity and Integration Are Hallmarks of Effective Social Media Outreach to Bolster Business School Recruiting Efforts, Says Veritas Prep

Veritas Prep White Paper Identifies Trends and Best Practices for Leveraging Social Media to Connect and Engage With MBA Applicants

MALIBU, CA--(Marketwire - December 11, 2009) - The proliferation of the Internet and the subsequent emergence of social media platforms have significantly altered the MBA admissions landscape, most notably the ways in which business schools connect and engage with applicants. Veritas Prep, a leading GMAT prep and MBA admissions consulting firm, today released "Social Media in the MBA Admissions Process," a white paper compiling best practices of MBA programs that have effectively leveraged social media tools to bolster the admissions process, examples of those principles in action and insights from admissions directors at leading business schools regarding their admissions-centric social media outreach.

The white paper, now available for download at http://www.veritasprep.com/whitepapers/VP_Social_Media_Audit.pdf, is based on the findings of the "Audit of Social Media in MBA Admissions," a comprehensive evaluation of social media outreach among the top 50 business schools nationwide, according to bi-annual rankings compiled by BusinessWeek. The research found that despite business schools' heightened use of social media in general, a significantly smaller subset of MBA programs leverage homegrown and third-party platforms to bolster recruiting efforts and communicate meaningful information to applicants. Among those schools recognizing the benefit of leveraging social media in the MBA admissions process, a series of best practices emerged for effectively using social media tools to connect with a wider pool of increasingly tech-savvy applicants, including:

Communicate from an authentic voice. Consistent with applicants' desire to "get the real scoop" in MBA admissions, business schools' tactics tend to be more successful when they use a credible, authentic voice as opposed to "brochure speak" or overly polished language. Soojin Kwon Koh, Director of Admissions at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, has found that the more applicants learn about the school from sources other than the traditional glossy prospecting brochure, including sentiments from admissions personnel and current students via social media, the more interested they become in the program.

Implement a push/pull communication philosophy. To capitalize on the wide variety of engagement opportunities afforded by social media tools, schools benefit most from a push/pull communication philosophy that offers a balance between distributing meaningful information to applicants and encouraging an interactive dialogue. Rose Martinelli, Associate Dean of Student Recruitment and Admissions at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, recommends pushing messages out through platforms like Facebook, Twitter and blogs, and using calls to action to pull applicants back into the MBA program's greater website to engage with admissions personnel via chats, blog comments and other tools.

Think integrated. An effective social media strategy is deliberate and integrated, combining homegrown and third-party tools that work together with traditional prospecting tools including print brochures, websites and in-person events. Peter Johnson, Director of Admissions at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, encourages heightened collaboration with business schools' marketing departments to establish a meaningful presence on select social media platforms and help maintain the integrity of recruiting messages online and in print.

"Despite observed challenges such as staffing and accurately tracking results, our research confirms that emerging social media platforms offer significant advantages to both MBA applicants and the business schools themselves," explains Scott Shrum, Director of MBA Admissions Research at Veritas Prep and co-author of "Your MBA Game Plan." "Applicants benefit from real-time access to non-promotional, uncensored communication from authentic, credible sources, while MBA programs are able to directly communicate with the applicants whom they are trying to attract. Additionally, the results of the audit reveal that there is still plenty of room for a business school to take the lead in social media, possibly leapfrogging the competition in terms of attracting high-potential applicants."

For more information on the emerging social media trends in the MBA admissions process or to download the complimentary white paper in its entirety, visit http://www.veritasprep.com/whitepapers/VP_Social_Media_Audit.pdf.

About Veritas Prep

Veritas Prep is the world's fastest-growing test preparation and admissions consulting provider, offering industry-leading programs to help applicants improve their test scores and gain admission to the world's best graduate schools. Founded in 2002 by graduates of the Yale School of Management, Veritas Prep now offers live GMAT prep instruction in more than 80 cities worldwide, as well as interactive online courses available everywhere. Additionally, Veritas Prep offers industry-leading admissions consulting services for applicants seeking admission to the most competitive business schools, law schools, and medical schools in the world.

Contact Information