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Why a business school’s faculty is the best comms tool they have

The business education market is becoming increasingly crowded every year – with over 16,000 business schools in the world currently according to AACSB International – so you have the tough task of convincing students, corporate partners and faculty that your school is the right one for them.

One effective way you can do this is through utilising the media. Media relations and external communications are invaluable to business schools as it helps to enhance the reputation of the institution. Public relations, and communications generally, are worth much more than just where you turn in times of crisis, but the reality is that PR is just as important when you have good news to share.

Why are media relations effective?

It's a great way to build your brand by allowing you to reach audiences you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Receiving validation from a third-party source, that is not paid or sponsored content, will be trusted by prospective students and faculty members, thus making it a fantastic tool to promote your school. If you’re smart with your strategy, you can tailor the media outlets you target to fit in with your chosen audience – whether that’s prospective students, the parents of students, and faculty members. You want to be seen where they are already reading and engaged.

There are several different ways you can promote your business school in the media but a compelling way is by using your faculty. As well as news pushing your new master’s programme, or announcing your new campus, to get journalists interested, you can showcase the incredible knowledge you have at the school.

Why you should use your faculty

With everything that is currently happening in the news, and situations that have happened previously, faculty expertise has become worth its weight in gold for journalists. Your faculty members are reliable sources, that are experts in their industries, and this allows them to educate, advise, and provide journalists with commentary that they can trust. It gives a journalist’s story that extra credibility, especially when writing about hard-hitting news.

That being said, faculty research and expertise are so diverse these days, it doesn’t just have to be reactive to hard hitting news. You can be proactive with the media, sharing new research and expertise that hasn’t be said or provides us with a different angle on a topic that has been discussed.

Academic writing doesn’t appeal to the press

There are lots of different ways you can promote your faculty but the important thing to remember is that complex academic writing doesn’t appeal to the media. Often academic writing consists of words that are not in your average person’s everyday vocabulary, and as a result it can make the text inaccessible. As soon as journalists see any complicated jargon that they won’t easily be able to simplify, they could switch off and likely won’t look any further at your comment or research.

This is where having a specialist PR consultancy would come in handy, we can take a piece of academic writing and make it media friendly. We also consider who the audience is and what prior knowledge they may have, as each publication varies depending on whether they are a trade or national outlet, and rephrase it so it is not patronising. It’s important for faculty members to know that we’re not ‘dumbing’ down their research, just making it more accessible therefore increasing the likelihood that a journalist will pick it up.

Your faculty represent your school, and they will be the ones interacting with the students on a day-to-day basis, so it makes sense to utilise them. In my experience, faculty members are more than happy to promote their research, and more often than not are flattered when you ask them.

Advice to business schools

My advice to business schools everywhere is to refocus your communications strategy to include promoting faculty commentary and research. It will do the job of promoting your programmes and what students can learn in an interesting way, and highlight your school as an expert in particular industries or even that it’s multidisciplinary – the choice is down to you, it’s worth having a clear plan.

Every business school will say that they are different – that their new programme is “unique”, or that their new research is “game changing,” but actually showing target audiences this is an extremely effective way to promote your school.

If you would like support with developing a PR strategy for your business school, contact BlueSky Education today.


Author: Katie Hurley

Katie is a Senior Account Manager at BlueSky Education.

She is an education communications specialist with journalistic flair thanks to a degree in Multimedia Journalism and a stint as a reporter at the Financial Times.


Originally published March 2018, updated June 2024

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