US Market Engagement

Growing the candidate pipeline and extending value to schools in the Americas region.

Dear Industry Colleagues,

Can you believe we are already in December? Like many of you, I am trying to wrap up activities for 2015. I was preparing notes for our December Board meeting and thought I’d highlight for you a few of the initiatives we’ve launched in the Americas region to grow the candidate pipeline and extend our value to schools.

Growing the Pipeline: Undergraduates 

We remain committed to growing the graduate management pipeline for our schools and the industry at-large. A critical component of our growth strategy is targeting undergraduates. If you attended GMAC’s Annual Conference, you are probably aware we held a series of pilots on 10 US campuses this past spring. As you can imagine, we learned a lot about undergrad perspectives, messaging, and media. In addition, we were able to increase GME brand awareness on all of our pilot campuses as evidence by nearly 8 million impressions and more than 70,000 click-throughs. This fall, we expanded our reach by increasing the number of campuses to 53. In addition to marketing designed to build the category of graduate management education we are also offering discounted GMAT pricing ($150) to encourage undergrads to test now and “bank their scores” until they are ready to attend b-schools. Michelle Sparacino ( heads up this initiative, so feel free to connect with her for more information.

Growing the Pipeline: Underrepresented Minorities

Increasing the number and quality of under-represented minorities in the classroom has continued to be a challenge for many selective business schools in the US.  (URM enrollment at for-profit institutions has been on the rise and is now approximately 37%). To better understand the URM segment, GMAC partnered with Global Sojourn, a marketing research firm to uncover the motivations, career aspirations, influencers, barriers, perceptions and other factors impacting GME consideration.  

Space prohibits any in-depth reporting, but key findings include:

  • The scarcity of URM GME success stories results in few role models for students to emulate
  • Parents comprise the largest role model group yet less than 25% have completed college
  • The shadow of GME’s historical image – White, affluent, elite – supports self-exclusion
  • With families viewing a Bachelor degree as enough and pressure to focus on financial stability, investing in a graduate degree is inhibited

One of our goals in 2016 is to create a series of white papers (or digestible “data to go” slides) that we can share with you to support your recruitment activity of URMs.

GMAC on the Road: Regional Meetings

Recognizing that budgets are tight, and many school professionals can’t attend the Annual Conference or Leadership, we attempted to take some of the benefits of these industry events to you by hosting 10 meetings in various US cities this year. For those not aware, Regional Meetings are half day interactive sessions designed to foster learning, sharing, and networking among industry colleagues in the same region. We usually cap attendance at 30 participants to facilitate conversations around industry trends and best practice sharing. If you have never attended a regional meeting, or if you have staff who might benefit from the camaraderie and learnings that GMAC events foster, make plans to join us in 2016. The calendar will be posted in January- but tentative plans are to be in San Francisco the 18th or 19th of February. If you attended an event in 2015, the Research decks have been posted, and to the schools that hosted us in 2015, "Thank You!"

GMAC “On Demand”: GMAC 101

In our conversations with some of our schools, you conveyed the need for a “standard” virtual orientation to GMAC resources.  You thought this orientation would not only be helpful to new staff, but also to faculty and colleagues in other departments that might benefit from our research and other services.  To address this need, we launched GMAC 101: a series of 20 minute monthly webinars that introduce everything from School Finder to GMASS to the research surveys and interactive tools. GMAC 101 does not replace the engagement you have with members of the Americas team, but is simply another resource to support you and your teams as you work to recruit and develop today and tomorrow’s leaders. (If you need more info, connect with Glenda Lucas at

It seems that I am well beyond my word cap for this update, but if you have questions about any of these initiatives, don’t hesitate to contact me (, or any member of the team.  And please know that during this time of jingle bells and silent nights, round 1 or 2 application deadlines and file reading, the team I wish you a happy holiday season and a restful winter break!

Best to you!