SOURCE: Veritas Prep

Veritas Prep

November 11, 2009 15:27 ET

Veritas Prep Research Findings Beg the Question: Is Business Schools' Heightened Use of Social Media Making an Applicant's Job Easier or More Difficult?

Comprehensive Audit of Top 50 Business Schools Reveals Emerging Trends in Social Media Use Across Multiple Platforms in the MBA Admissions Process

MALIBU, CA--(Marketwire - November 11, 2009) - Veritas Prep, a leading GMAT prep and MBA admissions consulting firm, today released the results of proprietary research designed to identify current and anticipated social media trends in the MBA admissions process. The "Audit of Social Media in MBA Admissions" evaluated the top 50 business schools nationwide, according to bi-annual rankings compiled by BusinessWeek, on ten social media platforms, including third-party channels like Facebook and Twitter, as well as proprietary mediums such as institutional blogs, discussion forums and video.

Overall, the findings gleaned from the evaluation found a rush by MBA programs to capitalize on emerging social media opportunities, yet relatively little creative use of social media to connect with prospective students in the admissions process. Notable results include:

--  Blogs are extremely popular among leading programs, with 31 of the top
    50 b-schools offering applicants more information about admissions from a
    variety of different perspectives. While some programs have blogs penned by
    the admissions office offering tactical application strategies and deadline
    reminders (32 percent), a more popular approach to blogging taps current
    students to share their experiences with prospects (50 percent).
    Interestingly, 20 percent of business schools employ both admissions- and
    student-penned blogs.
--  MBA programs largely tend to adopt a broadcast versus engagement
    objective in terms of social media usage. One-sided communications in the
    form of application deadline reminders, admissions event notifications and
    links to video are particularly prominent in third-party social media like
    Facebook and Twitter. While the proprietary tools also broadcast
    information, they tend to offer more opportunities for engagement with
    admissions staff or current students through live chat and discussion
--  The most highly leveraged resources among top b-schools using social
    media in the admissions process include video (66 percent), blogs (62
    percent), webinars/podcasts (48 percent) and live online chats (46
    percent). Less than half of programs targeted information to prospective
    students through Facebook and Twitter. Surprisingly, LinkedIn was only
    utilized as a resource for prospective students by two schools, potentially
    hinting to the need to be a current student or alumnus to be considered
    part of the school community.
--  There is no discernable difference regarding the use of social media
    between top-ten ranked schools and lower-ranked schools, suggesting a
    possible opportunity for lower-profile schools to distinguish themselves
    and reach potential applicants with creative social media strategies.

"The audit confirmed that business schools' marketing and recruiting messages are showing up in more forms, and in more places, than ever before," explains Scott Shrum, director of MBA admissions research at Veritas Prep and co-author of "Your MBA Game Plan: Proven Strategies for Getting Into the Top Business Schools." "With more information for applicants to sift through while creating their applications, these findings beg the question: Is this abundance of information among various social media channels making a business school applicant's job easier or more difficult?"

This research was conducted in October 2009 and accounts for the social media tools that can be readily found online. The comprehensive findings of Veritas Prep's "Audit of Social Media in MBA Admissions" -- along with best practices and perceptions of admissions directors at top business schools that have effectively leveraged social media tools to bolster the admissions process -- will be compiled into a white paper, available shortly for complimentary download.

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.