Evidence-Based Innovation Blog

Leveraging Limited Resources for Biggest Impact – MBA Brand Research

Posted on Sep 27, 2011 12:17:00 PM

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As a dean or program manager, there are often many things that you would like to improve in your graduate management program, but you do not have the resources to tackle all of them.

One of your biggest managerial challenges is to allocate your limited resources to where they will have to biggest impact. So how do you know where they will do the most good?  Where can you "get the most bang for your buck?" One way to determine the best course of action is to conduct a Key Driver Analysis of your GME student surveys.

What is Key Driver Analysis?

head with key lock KeyDriverAnalysisKey Driver Analysis (KDA), sometimes known as an importance-performance analysis, is a study of the relationships among many attributes to identify the most important ones.  

Key Driver Analysis can help you understand what your students feel is important to them in regards to their MBA student experience. By conducting an analysis of student survey responses and correlating their ratings of individual performance attributes to overall loyalty, you can derive which factors have the greatest impact on the students’ perceived level of satisfaction. You can then plot this data in a scatter diagram called an importance-performance map.

Importance-Performance Maps

An importance-performance map plots the results of a KDA in a graphical format that can be quickly read and easily understood. Each program performance factor is plotted on the graph by its importance to the students’ loyalty (on the x-axis) and your MBA program’s performance in that area on the y-axis.

This process generates four quadrants. The most important is the lower right quadrant.  The attributes plotted here have high importance to your students, but your performance in those areas is low. These are the areas where your action will have the biggest impact and generate the greatest improvement in student satisfaction for the effort expended.

Key Driver Analysis Example Quandrant

Action Planning from Key Driver Analysis

The lower right quadrant (II) is the most important area of the importance-performance map.  It identifies the key drivers of student satisfaction.  The graphical KDA map helps you plan the action you need to take to improve, but it also tells you what to not change.  The attributes that plot in the upper right quadrant (I) are those that are important to your students’ satisfaction and are areas in which you are currently performing well.  Any changes you make to improve the issues in the lower right quadrant must not disturb the attributes in the upper right quadrant.

The attributes in the upper and lower left quadrants are of lower importance to your students.  How well you perform in these areas will have less impact on your students’ satisfaction.  You should not expend your limited resources on these factors.

How Do I Conduct Key Driver Analysis?

Key Driver Analysis is a value-added statistical analysis package integrated into the Program Roadmap & Market Trends Reports for all of the Percept Research GME Lifecycle surveys. The KDA provides graphical quadrant analysis of the MBA program based on program performance compared to derived importance to student loyalty. (Note: The KDA for the GME Student Entry Survey is based on stated importance.)

An importance-performance map is generated for each dimension within the survey (e.g., Faculty, Curriculum, Teaching Methods, Course Areas, Professional Development, Operations/Administration, etc.).

KDA is a powerful tool for business school quantitative research that can help you discover which factors have the greatest impact on important program outcomes and determine where to focus your limited resources on the issues which are both important and performing relatively poorly.

UPDATE: Percept Research is now integrating Key Driver Analysis in the Program Roadmap & Market Trends Reports for all MBA Lifecycle surveys. Click here for more information.


Brian Mahoney, author for this article, is a marketing research consultant and Managing Partner of Percept Research. Brian welcomes your questions and comments.

MBA Student Entry Survey

Topics: Brian Mahoney, Analysis/Reporting, Key Driver Analysis