3 Business Admissions Essentials to Strengthen Your Reach and Impact

Prioritizing brand awareness, expanding the applicant pool and minimizing administrative tasks
By: | Issue: January, 2018
December 7, 2017

Your admissions tool options are expanding, and prospective students’ expectations continue to rise. Yet business admissions can still be simplified down to three essentials: prioritizing brand awareness, expanding your applicant pool and minimizing administrative tasks.

In this webcast, Bob Alig, Robert Ruiz and Ron Hyman talked through ‘3 Business Admissions Essentials to Strengthen Your Reach and Impact.’ They described how programs across the U.S. are benefiting from BusinessCAS™, the Centralized Application Service (CAS™) for business programs, by:

• promoting their programs in a central graduate management education marketplace

• driving application completion through a streamlined interface and targeted, personalized communications to prospective applicants

• eliminating the burdens of manual tasks with a processing team that takes on scanning transcripts and packaging application components


Ron Hyman

Executive Director of Association Partnerships

Liaison International

Bob Alig

BusinessCAS Strategic Consultant

Liaison International

Robert Ruiz

Vice President of Strategic Enrollment

Liaison International

Ron Hyman: Liaison is currently processing over 2.2 million applications annually across more than 40 Centralized Application Services—in addition to BusinessCAS—to over 7,000 programs on 800 campuses. We’ve learned a lot from working with this number of institutions over the past 25-plus years. Another important number is our 300 employees, over half of whom are dedicated to customer support. The bottom line is that we are viewed as a trusted partner when it comes to admissions and enrollment.

Our Centralized Application Service, or CAS, is truly the cornerstone of our company, dedicated and configured to serve the individual needs of educational disciplines and affinity groups. Because that CAS is web-based, implementation is quick. Upgrade and maintenance is all handled by a liaison at our site, not yours.

A CAS will allow candidates and potential applicants to research and apply to one or many programs using a single portal. Our roots are in working within education for health services, but we have expanded over the last several years to include other disciplines such as business, engineering, professional science and architecture.

What makes this platform so unique is that we combine the software with a comprehensive set of services. Our staff handles over three-quarters of a million calls and emails per year. We also work with the programs on different facets of the service, including how to configure the program within the CAS, providing any ongoing support and helping with sharing best practices that we learn from working with so many programs. Finally, we take as much as the administrative work as possible away from the admissions office—things like transcript verification, scanning or document processing, collating documents, and so on.

We view the CAS as a win-win-win proposition—good for applicants, for the institutions and for the disciplines as a whole.

Bob Alig: One of the key challenges that each of you face is how to develop, organize and communicate an outreach strategy that reinforces your school’s brand. You also need to be thinking about who the competition is today and who the competition will be tomorrow, and positioning your programs with that in mind is challenging.

You’re also trying to create a student-centered experience in terms of the admissions process itself. A few months ago, my colleagues here at Liaison conducted a survey and determined that among the top 50 graduate management programs in the country, nearly one-third took upward of three weeks to respond to prospective student requests for information. In this age of instant gratification, that kind of a delay just doesn’t work. Prospective students want to feel a personal connection with the schools, and responsiveness drives that.

The other thing you’re probably thinking about is how to develop your team—how to support them to do the work that matters, and how you can use your staff resources to connect with prospective students, to engage them, to help them feel supported. When I met Liaison 2 1/2 years ago as a part of my work at GMAC, my aha moment was when I saw the operations team and the scanning of hundreds of thousands of applications. I saw the support service over the phone lines. I saw the email responsiveness. I saw GPAs being calculated. I saw backgrounds being verified. All of those things were pieces of the application process that my team and I struggled with. I found myself desperately wishing that I had known about Liaison before.

We’re here to help you to do your tough jobs better. We’re here to help you be heard above the noise, to connect with prospective students, to find the ideal candidates for your program, to better anticipate what your competition might look like two or three years from now. It’s exactly these principles that have formed the foundation for the creation and the rollout of BusinessCAS.

Robert Ruiz: BusinessCAS was created with a very easy-to-use applicant portal, one that requires very basic information to register. That’s important because that data can then be shared with programs for which applicants indicate an interest. You don’t need to wait until the application is completed or submitted; as soon as an individual expresses interest in your program you’ll have the ability to run your normal nurture campaign and start the relationship-building that is so important in the admission process.

BusinessCAS gives students the ability to review, to compare and contrast, and to find the programs that are most appealing. This also has a very important impact at the program level, as it helps ensure that you get students who are a good fit. They understand the nuances, the rewards, the benefits and the eligibility requirements, and are able to choose accordingly.

The principle of a student-centered experience is incredibly important to us because we wanted to create an application that’s easy to use, streamlined, efficient and doesn’t cause undue burden. We don’t want students to have to go to five or six different websites. The experience is also optimized for mobile—the ability for students to apply on the go, from wherever they are, is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

In the end, it’s still outcomes that matter. We can eliminate about 90 percent of your administrative tasks—tasks that are high-touch, low-value. If we can take review time or file-building time from eight days to one and a half days, we’ve effectively given you more time to review your applications. We’re giving you time back to do the important work, resulting in 69 percent reduction in time to decision. Your applicants will certainly like that. Your ability to get your decision in the hands of your candidates earlier and more promptly than your competitors can have big dividends in enrollment and yield numbers.

To watch this web seminar in its entirety, visit www.universitybusiness.com/ws110617