Social Media and Business Schools – An Analysis of the Top 20 UK and US Schools

The Business of Education

The Business of Education

A recent graduate of mine, Dawn Henderson, conducted her final year dissertation on the above topic. The Executive Summary of her key findings makes for interesting reading.

Executive Summary

The overall aim of the research was to evaluate the social media progress made by the top 10 US and top 10 UK Business Schools and to explore awareness/attitudes towards the opportunities and threats presented by the social media revolution.

An evaluation framework was developed for auditing progress made and for building social media engagement profiles of the 20 Schools. Personal interviews were conducted with 7 leading Schools.

Key findings were as follows:

– The majority of Business School applicants will use social media at some stage in their application process, especially MBA peer review and recommendation web sites

– Despite the above, the majority of Business Schools have been very slow to respond to the opportunities and threats presented by social media. Few Schools have fully embraced social media as a channel for two-way dialogue with potential applicants, preferring to promote themselves through tightly controlled ‘about us’ web sites.

– The 20 Business Schools analysed fell into 3 main categories in terms of the number of social media channels used and their depth of engagement with each channel: Progressive Adopters (3); Cautious Adopters (7); and Non-Adopters (10). The most advanced user of social media was the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

– Three of the main barriers to social media adoption were lack of knowledge, unclear business benefits and lack of senior management support.

– Even in ‘Cautious Adopters’ where some progress had been made, this was mainly experimental rather than strategic. Few Schools had a clear social media vision or strategy in place, key performance measures or targets.

– Based on the above, the overall conclusion of the Report was that significant progress still needs to be made before leading Business Schools are fully embracing the opportunities presented by social media. To remain competitive, Business Schools should develop and implement an agreed Social Media Strategy as a key element of their marketing communications plan.

Social media profiles for the 20 Business Schools examined are shown in the table below based on the number of channels used and depth of channel engagement.

As usual, comments and feedback are very welcome.

Jim H

Engagement Profiles

Engagement Profiles

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2 Responses to Social Media and Business Schools – An Analysis of the Top 20 UK and US Schools

  1. Alan Stevenson says:

    Jim and Dawn, thanks for sharing. This is a robust piece of work and I believe it has already attracted attention from an Ivy League Business School. Not a “typical” student dissertation by any stretch.

  2. Bin Gao says:

    I personally think that it is not only the the universities’ lack of awareness of the significance of social media, but also the users, especially the applicators’ lack of awareness that keeps those institutes away from involving them in the social medias frequently. The leading academic institutes, especially the business schools, should be encouraged to be the pioneers of leading the trends of using social medias as new channels for communicating, and implementing them in more formal conditions despite of ideas’ exchanging.

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