When leaders at Glasgow Caledonian New York College (GCNYC) were looking to stand out in the oversaturated higher education market, they came upon a more critical finding – graduate program growth in America is outpacing student interest. There were nearly 40,000 master’s programs available in the U.S., a staggering 24% increase from 2012. With program growth outpacing student interest, the institution needed to grow its graduate programs against fierce competition. To reach this untapped demographic’s faltering interest, GCNYC enlisted help from experts at edtech software solutions provider Anthology. As a result, GCNYC was able to identify and understand learners’ unmet needs and bolster recruitment efforts throughout its graduate programs.
In pushing forward to capitalize on a target niche, GCNYC tapped Anthology for its data-driven expertise to get in front of the right prospective students, with the right channel, at the right time to meet their aggressive enrollment growth goals. They needed to attract more interest from qualified students, enable better data transparency to inform a baseline, determine ways to stand out among the competition, support their small marketing staff, and expand resources in other high-converting student success areas for the institution.
Anthology’s Online Program Experience team members worked closely with GCNYC’s admissions team to appeal to this student profile. Through this work, they determined how they could grow and differentiate themselves in the graduate space while also ensuring that they’re meeting the modern student’s needs.
Through data-driven insights and a holistic view of each student’s journey, Anthology helped GCNYC identify and understand learners’ unmet needs by focusing on both the students outside their core demographic as well as their mainstream, traditional students to determine where the opportunities were.
The process started by interpreting enrollment data from current students to understand the school’s users, including where the students were located and what motivated them to join the institution. They could then leverage all available data to understand their learning experience at a granular level. GCNYC also utilized aggregated insights from Anthology to identify what course content resonates and what study habits can be identified to help attract new students.
Anthology provided the institution with critical market insights to gain a 360-degree view of demographic changes for MBA students. These insights helped GCNYC understand which student needs required the most attention to grow its online graduate programs.
From there, Anthology deployed a highly trackable, performance-focused paid media services and management system that enabled GCNYC to grow enrollment with measurable ROI. After a 12-week implementation period with the integration of brand and institutional stakeholders, GCNYC launched a strategically owned and earned marketing support that promotes optimal user experience while laying a solid foundation for paid media.
The results of interrogating data on the institution’s mainstream and unconventional users uncovered a clear unmet need: many graduate students are motivated by aspirations beyond their careers. They want to drive sustainability, equity and fairness within their chosen industry. Knowing this helped GCNYC meet graduate student needs and interests that went far beyond the four walls of a classroom. As a result, they could now recruit and retain students interested in DEI jobs and positions within sustainability.
As a relatively new institution, GCNYC’s campaigns with Anthology are positively impacting brand recognition and program awareness. For example, in only three months, its marketing efforts have generated 516 leads and 45 applications.
Empowering the next-generation of leaders
In addition, GCNYC kept the positive momentum by recently creating the “For the Common Good” graduate program, which allows students to focus on making a change in the world, becoming a disruptor, and powering the next generation of leaders and change-makers. They offer verticals within the program, including a Master of Science in Business in Social Impact and Sustainability, a Master of Science in Sustainable Fashion, and a Master of Science in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership. GCNYC also allows a fully flexible study schedule to accommodate students from different backgrounds and a dynamic curriculum to which the students contribute. The institution also extends scholarships to every student to demonstrate their commitment to equitable learning.
GCNYC’s commitment to exceeding the expectations of graduate students and utilizing Anthology’s robust data insights enabled them to identify a genuine unmet need for students and set learners up for success, even amid the most challenging of times.
“Our campus was found intentionally as the Graduate School for the Common Good, to offer master’s programs in which students can skill up and learn how business and NGOs can redefine success, delivering measurable positive impact in accordance with ESG principles and aligned with global principles such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Our growth strategy is targeted to reach those prospective students who desire career advancement with purpose,” said John F. Albanese, dean of enrollment at GCNYC.
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