Evidence-Based Innovation Blog

Freeze the "Summer Melt" and Optimize MBA Enrollment

Posted on Jul 24, 2012 4:46:00 PM

MBA MarComm Blog   Summer MeltJuly may be best associated with Independence Day parades and fireworks, but did you know that it also happens to be National Ice Cream Month?  The average American eats 48 pints of ice cream per year - more than any other nationality – and July tops the list for ice cream sales.  With record heat waves sweeping across the nation this summer, chances are consumption will be even higher this July.

Then again, some may be less inclined to take a big bite into this favorite summer-time treat when triple-digit temps transform your Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk into a gooey pool of chocolate milk.

MBA Admissions officers know all too well about the dreaded “summer melt” although in business schools the term applies to candidates rather than ice cream cones.  If you have been through a complete MBA admissions cycle, then you know that this can be a tough time of year when a number of matriculated students (who always seem to be some of your best) decide to defer their admission.

While disappointing, there are often good reasons involved.  Perhaps a full-time MBA candidate came into financial difficulty.  Or a potential EMBA student may have received a promotion and isn’t able to juggle the demands of weekend studies with a more intense travel and work schedule.

Still, it can be challenging when you have already formed teams for program residencies, or now have to tell your dean about the revised (read: lower) enrollment numbers.  So is there anything you can do – other than chalk up the lower numbers this year and wait for fall breezes to blow in a brand new recruiting season?

Even at the last minute, there are ways to boost your enrollments this September. Here is a checklist of some actions you can take, even at this late stage:

  • Contact all MBA information session attendees in the past year who have not applied.

  • Reach out to MBA prospects who registered for an information session but did not attend.

  • Ask current students and alumni for referrals.

  • Ask matriculated students for interested colleagues who would like to join them this year.

And there’s always a chance that you can change the mind of a deferral.  Ask a current student or alum, preferably one who deferred their own admission, to reach out to the candidate with compelling reasons why they wished they had pursued their MBA sooner and ideas on how to make it work this year.  The outreach will carry more weight and appear more genuine if it comes from a peer rather than a school spokesperson.

There's still time to increase your MBA enrollment numbers this year.  With just a little extra effort, every additional matriculated student will be another sweet scoop in this year's cohort.

Barbara Coward, author of this article, is a marketing communications consultant at Percept Research.  Barbara welcomes your questions and comments.

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Topics: Barbara Coward, Admissions, Marketing Strategy