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Business Schools Fail to Track Whether Social Networking Yields Applicants, Survey Finds

Though the overwhelming majority of top business schools use social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to promote their programs, far fewer actually follow through to determine which social media interactions yield applications, according to a recent University of Massachusetts—Dartmouth study.

The study found that a whopping 96 percent of the 70 surveyed business schools promote themselves on Twitter, and 87 percent do so on LinkedIn, U.S. News reports. But of those schools, which were selected for their top U.S. News rankings, 65 percent don’t track whether social media interactions actually yield applications, the survey found.

“They are heavily involved in social media and they think they’re doing a hell of a job, and in reality they’re not ever tracking these people—these thousands and thousands of people coming to their Facebook page … to see if they become applicants,” Nora Ganim Barnes, director of UMass—Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research, told U.S. News. Barnes, who conducted the study with Stephanie Jacobsen, the former MBA coordinator at the university’s Charlton College of Business, called the findings a “wake-up call” for business schools.

Business school applicants, meanwhile, should look at social media interactions as a means of collecting information about schools, but not as a way to improve their chances of admissions, Sarah Ramsey, director of MBA recruitment and admissions at the University of California at Irvine’s Merage School of Business, told U.S. News. The school doesn’t formally account for those types of interactions, she says, “but candidates are being observed.”

The UMass—Dartmouth study did find that schools value social networking, with 75 percent maintaining an official MBA blog and 82 percent reporting plans to invest more in social media in the next year.

Even if it can’t increase your chances of getting in, UMass’s Barnes recommends using the portals as a means of networking before getting to campus. “Once you get there—to be able to say, ‘Hi I’m Charlie. We had that discussion.’ I think it opens doors,” she told U.S. News.

Read the U.S. News article, “MBA Programs Don’t Connect Social Media Dots.”

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Posted in: MBA News

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