GMAC Viewpoints: Reaching Out to Undergraduates Benefits Schools and Graduate Management Education Worldwide
We’ve set a course to expand the pipeline of qualified undergraduates into business schools – and into your classrooms.
As CEO Sangeet Chowfla mentioned last month in Graduate Management News, “access” played an important role for GMAC in 2015. We worked hard to open new points of access to the GMAT® exam as we continued our efforts to expand the pipeline to graduate management education, which, we expect, will benefit graduate business programs worldwide.
As we kick off 2016, communicating the benefits of a graduate management education to the undergraduate audience is one area of that pipeline that we at GMAC are committing resources. This year, we will be working hard to reach undergrads early in their academic careers to get them thinking about how a graduate business degree, whether an MBA or specialized master’s, can complement what they’re studying and position them for success, no matter what area. A passion for mathematics? An MBA can help you become a data analyst. A talent for fashion? Get an MBA to start your own small business. A love of numbers? A Master’s of Finance can be your first step toward a career as a financial advisor. An entrepreneur spirit? An MBA can get your “start-up” started faster.
This year, we will be embarking on a three-pronged strategy to reach undergraduates early, tap into their passions, and get them thinking about business and building the skills they need to launch or advance a career, including:
- Increasing access to the GMAT exam through an expansion of on-campus testing opportunities.
- Creating compelling marketing content that gets undergrads thinking about how a business degree can help them fulfill their passions with a roadmap for successful planning.
- Connecting with key influencers to further reach the undergraduate market and create conversations around the benefits of graduate management education.
To execute on our objectives, we’ll be increasing access to the GMAT exam by expanding our on-campus testing pilot programs to 54 campuses in the US and additional initiatives in the Asia Pacific and European/Middle East regions. At US schools, we will be piloting special, on-campus testing events for the GMAT, leading informational sessions, and canvassing campuses with collateral material designed to build awareness for graduate management education and career outcomes. We will also be providing a roadmap (pdf) to help students proactively plan throughout their undergraduate career – from maintaining a strong GPA and getting involved early in leadership opportunities, to setting their academic goals and taking the GMAT exam as an undergraduate while they are still in study mode. We’ll be reaching out to key undergraduate-focused influencers (such as NACAC, BAP, BGS, and Golden Key) throughout the year by conducting webinars, attending conferences, and facilitating conversations.In most European and Asian countries, students consider postgraduate degrees as a must after completing a bachelor program, so capturing their attention and building awareness in the early stages of their undergraduate experience can go a long way toward expanding the pipeline and creating access.
To this end, we’ve developed on-campus initiatives in Europe that aim to raise awareness of the benefits of graduate management education and the prep that is needed, not only for the GMAT exam, but also for the application and admissions process. We’re partnering with student clubs, international relations departments, and career advisors at universities to provide information to prospective students via the university’s channels and organize on-campus information sessions. We are also piloting events at which we bring together schools and external speakers to provide an overview of different programs and the admissions process. We’re also exploring options to make the GMAT more accessible to undergraduate students, including on-campus GMAT testing.
Similarly, in North Asia, we expanded our on-campus GMAT promotions last year to an additional seven undergraduate campuses in Wuhan, Nanjing and Chengdu, and will continue to expand further in 2016. In 2015, we established relationships with 11 undergraduate campuses and student associations those same cities. We’ve also embarked on an outreach program for Vietnam, which has included GMAT information sessions at undergraduate campuses, a coffee chat in Ho Chi Minh City, and distribution of localized collateral.
At GMAC, we’ve set a course to expand the pipeline of qualified undergraduates into business schools – and into your classrooms – by focusing our energy and resources on easier access to the GMAT exam and by appealing to students’ emotions and demonstrating to them that regardless of their undergraduate course of study or career aspirations, an MBA or other graduate business degree can help them achieve their dreams.
About the Author
Michelle Sparacino is Director, Key Initiatives, Americas, Market Development