Insights from the Higher Ed Experts

BY Anthony Campisi | June 16th, 2022

Making the case for specializations to prospective students

Making the case for specializations to prospective studentsSpecializations can make your program more attractive to prospective students, especially if they are positioned and explained well. The key is to not only focus on the features of your specializations but also the benefits for the students. In other words — your marketing needs to spell out the “why” for them because adding a specialization takes extra time and focus. Beyond a generalized MBA that will certainly give them a leg up on the competition and a springboard to career advancement, what can a specialization add to their toolkit?

Here we have a few ideas on positioning specializations to prospects to convey the value.

Focus on their career path

The value of an MBA is clear – students will emerge stronger business leaders with a broader business perspective and able to tackle complex issues. Where a specialization becomes valuable depends on the student’s intended career path. If a student has a defined focus in a certain industry (like tech), a specific functional area (like marketing), or has the desire to pursue a unique path (like international business), a specialization can enhance their marketability. It’s important to frame your specializations to match up with your prospects’ career desires. For those that are extremely driven and focused, specialization can be a huge selling point as it will allow them to dive deeper into their intended area of interest and position themselves amongst their peers.

Focus on what employers want

A commitment to a certain skillset or industry may be seen as invaluable to employers and may make job candidates even more desirable. In today’s economy, anything candidates can do to upskill shows ambition and commitment to go the extra mile. When you are marketing specializations to prospects, make sure you focus on why future employers will find their specialized skillsets valuable:

  • In some industries and roles, specialists are seen as more desirable than generalists
  • Employees with specializations are often seen as loyal and dedicated to their craft
  • A specialization may increase your propensity for being an innovative leader, especially if the professors who teach the courses are leaders in their fields
  • Some jobs require extra certifications for candidacy

Focus on the value of added certifications

If your specialization offers an additional certification, be sure to tie in the value prospects will gain with the additional credential. For example, some specializations offer training for and/or the ability to earn an additional certification in a selected career path:

  • Finance: Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Accounting: Certified Public Accountant (CPA); Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
  • Technology: Statistical Analysis System Certified (SAS)
  • Human Resources: Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI)
  • Marketing or Operations: Project Management Professional (PMP)

Additionally, if your healthcare specialization is taught by a policy leader or a top-ranked physician, or it includes in-person immersions, highlight those. If your HR specialization includes a certification from an organization that would otherwise cost an additional fee, be sure to include that in your messaging. If your strategy specialization includes working with a real client company to solve a business challenge, find ways to tell that story.

Many of these certifications are nationally and internationally recognized so adding them to a resume proves candidates have received in-depth training from top instructors in a certain field. In fact, some employers require specific certifications for certain roles — and having them can even boost salary.

Need help?

If you need help crafting a campaign around MBA specializations, GPRS can help. With over 20 years of experience working in the higher education industry, we are skilled at customizing your message for your unique audience to increase enrollment. Contact us today to start the conversation.