Best Practices in Using Market Intelligence to Build a Successful Recruitment Strategy

James BarkerInaugural Conference for Business School Professionals exhibitor and speaker James Barker, Market Development Manager, GMAC shares insights into his session and examines how Business Schools can use market intelligence to build successful recruitment strategies.

The session

The session will begin with an overview of some of the market intelligence resources available to admission and marketing professionals from GMAC. This will begin to get participants thinking about the kinds of information that they can use to identify and profile the different types of candidate that they may encounter. There will then follow an interactive segment, where, in small groups, the participants will be given a range of typical candidate personae that GMAC has identified. Using the information provided to them about candidates from that segment, they will work to build some tailored messaging for that group. We will then feedback to the group and share ideas. This approach can then be utilised for their own programmes once they return to the workplace.

Why is it important to understand candidate profiles and use that information in communications?

The way in which Schools communicate with our candidates is absolutely crucial in helping them to identify the key features of your programme in a compelling way that will resonate with their interests, aims and ambitions.  In an increasingly competitive marketplace, presenting this clear value proposition to each of your candidate segments can help your programme to truly stand out.   Using information that you already have about typical applicants to your programme, in conjunction with industry data such as that provided by GMAC, will allow you to make your recruitment strategies more targeted and make your communications seem authentic in the eyes of the recipient – thus hopefully growing your candidate pipeline, application numbers and enrolments!

What are your top tips on better positioning our programmes in an increasingly competitive marketplace? 

In my opinion, the best method for positioning programmes in a competitive marketplace is to ensure that you know who your potential candidates are, what they look like, and what they will be looking for.  From there you can ensure that your School and programmes have a clear brand identity and offering – that is, being specific in the messaging and images that you deliver to your target group in order to inform them as to just what makes your School different or special for their own particular needs. 

It is insufficient to simply state facts or make bland statements – the discerning candidate will always be asking “so what?”.  Therefore it is essential to back up your claims with evidence – testimony from alumni being just one example – to ensure that you speak with an authentic voice that will resonate with your identified candidate pool.

James Barker is Market Development Manager for GMAC based in their London office. He works with institutions to help them to understand and use the range of GMAC products and services to aid their recruitment and admissions processes. 
He also engages with prospective graduate management education candidates, primarily to raise awareness of the GMAT exam. Previously he spent seven years in the admissions team for the full-time MBA programme at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.


James will be speaking at AMBA's Inaugural Conference for Business School Professionals in Porto, taking place on 14 and 15 June 2016.