Today we’re offering small compliments to a small thing that UC Berkeley did a few months back (we’ve been trying to find a slow day to post this and that’s apparently never going to happen in 2020* so here it is at random).
This is what we mean:
What Berkeley did was:
1. Acknowledge reality. Applicants are totally bombarded with often-repetitive and many-times-fairly-useless emails from the schools. Haas recognized this, from the recipient’s perspective. How refreshing.
2. Follow their own mission. One of the so-called Defining Principles at Berkeley Haas is “question the status quo.” How novel of them to do so within their own industry!!!
3. Ask permission. They didn’t assume that someone receiving their existing emails would be interested in what they are doing next. They gave the recipient a choice. True opt in. Thank you Haas!
4. Offered benefits. They were transparent in what they were trying to do and how they would do it, and they tried to articulate to the audience that it would be useful to them. This is Marketing 101, and it’s not implemented terribly well by many schools.
The other interesting thing here is that Haas is understanding the balance of power is shifting. Advertisers finally woke up to the fact that their ad dollars spent in traditional campaigns in magazines were not necessarily the most valuable of investments, and realized that all these influencers on Instagram and YouTube were much more powerful voices in marketing to today’s audience. In the past two admissions seasons when the numbers of applications dipped, top business schools started rolling out new policies and programs, such as formalized tracks for college students to apply with a built-in deferment, or schools like Columbia dropped the requirement for the TOEFL. Berkeley’s campaign messaging and their new orientation to their audience of MBA hopefuls may (or may not) have come out of the new thinking that coronavirus challenges and pressures have forced on the business world. Either way, it’s giving its marketplace of possible-applicants-to-their-program a choice, and showing them that Haas realizes that they need to earn your application.
So that’s kinda cool.
*Today we coulda posted about how MIT and Harvard are suing the US Government to allow international students to stay in the U.S. even if they’re doing online-only educational programs which other schools like Northwestern have now joined, and whose outcome will apply to all schools; or about how the Ivy League canceled fall football , possibly to be held in the spring (but we’re not holding our breath); or about how Stanford will be dropping 11 of its varsity sports programs next year, programs that have been major feeders into the U.S. Olympics programs. All of that happened in the past 24 hours. Does sports impact your MBA? No, but it impacts colleges and universities tremendously on the financial side.
Giving a small shout-out to Berkeley Haas for respecting its audience of prospective students seems like a worthwhile use of our blahg space today. Are we trying to suggest that you should want to go to Berkeley because of this? No. But positive things are worth highlighting, and observing a school’s outward actions can give an outsider a sense of the culture.