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Why PR will keep student applications rolling in over the holidays

As the holiday season approaches, professors, students and staff are beginning to look forward to a much-needed relaxing break – especially after what has most-likely been a busy, challenging year.

It may be easy for schools to begin to wind down in this period, focusing a lot less on key areas like student recruitment. But doing so may be a tad complacent. In fact, the holiday period can be a key time for potential applicants, especially to business school.

Read our guide to PR for business schools

The short break for working professionals offers a reprieve from their busy schedules and a time for reflection on longer-term goals, rather than the day-to-day of their working schedules. And for those working professionals who are keen to perhaps study an MBA or a Masters programme, this extra free time is often used to research programmes, gathering as much information and insights as possible on potential schools.

That is why PR and marketing around the holiday period is so important

Schools must be as visible as possible to potential candidates who are using this period to research. But, of course, it is difficult to be visible and available when the majority of your staff are not in the office, and are also taking a well-earned break. That is why targeted PR before the holiday period is key and can help to drive student applications over the holiday period.

The fundamentals of really giving valuable insight to potential students, and helping them to form a positive opinion of your programmes and your school, is by offering real-life student and alumni stories. That way, potential applicants can get an opinion on the school and the programme from a third-party, who is able to tell their exact experience, and how it has helped them in their professional career.

Over the holiday period, it is important that universities and business schools are pushing content out to the wider public through PR, focused around this student and alumni experience. That way, when potential applicants are researching into programmes over the break, your institutions are the ones seen time and time again on influential news sites and portals that these potential applicants use to research MBAs and other programmes or courses.

Here are a few examples of some of the business schools who have been doing just that

These business schools have been ensuring that their students and alumni are seen in key target publications, talking about how their programme has helped them and what their experience was like on it.

The Financial Times recently released their European Business Schools ranking, which offers a comprehensive list of the best schools in Europe alongside insightful and informative pieces on the wider market. Of course, this report is well-read by any professionals considering studying a programme, and is therefore key for business schools to set themselves out from the crowd and be visible in the report’s editorial. In the latest report, a student from Vlerick Business School featured in a piece discussing their experience on the programme.

Another regularly-read news outlet for those looking to study at business school is The Economist, who not only rank business school programmes, but also create editorial content such as alumni stories from those who’ve studied at business school. Clearly The Economist is a key target for business schools. In a recent blog post, an alumnus from BI Norwegian Business School shared his compelling experience studying an Executive Education programme during the pandemic, giving real-life insight and inspiration to prospective students.

Whilst for those who are specifically looking to move from their home country to another in order to study, Study International is a key news outlet to get both an understanding of the programme, but also an understanding of a new country’s culture, opportunities and experiences. That is why this news outlet is a key target market for business schools. It has many prospective students using it as an information source. Recently, an ESMT Berlin alumnus was interviewed by the news site on their experience on the programme and how it helped them to launch their own school afterwards.

Medium’s Authority Magazine offers interesting alumnus stories focused on management, entrepreneurship and sustainability, giving prospective students a long-form insight into how a business school programme has helped an alumnus in their career. Here a Nazarbayev University alumnus was interviewed on how they have used their skillset to help youth in poverty.


It’s clear that the holiday period is a time for many to relax, but those working professionals who already have a busy schedule will use this time period to research programmes and look into which schools may suit their aspirations, helping them to meet their career goals. Therefore, it’s key business schools continue to push programme related PR in the lead up to the holiday season.

Peter Remon-2Author: Peter Remon

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