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Redefining Strategy: Using Partnerships to Expand Capacity at the University of Kansas School of Business

David Art
Jul 15, 2021

KU’s graduate business programs had an application-to-enrollment yield of 70% in 2020 and an expanded cohort

Dee Steinle, Executive Director of MBA and MSB Programs at the University of Kansas (KU) School of Business, faced a common managerial challenge. She was asked to walk the proverbial tightrope — grow enrollment without additional resources.

In the highly competitive marketplace for GME, overall enrollment has been fairly static while the number of offerings has dramatically increased. Enrolling a class of MBA students who have the chance to improve rankings has become so competitive, in fact, that some schools have started offering their degrees at zero cost to attract top students. Steinle needed to determine how to grow enrollment in a rapidly changing environment, and do so without any additional resources.

Harder to predict — and more competition

At KU, enrollment in the full-time MBA program has long been targeted to a class size of 40, but like many schools in the late 2010s, enrollment in the full-time MBA program has become increasingly harder to predict. High competition among schools for applicants, the increase in quality and quantity of international competitors, a challenging US student immigration system and a dramatic shift in costs have had a chilling effect on full-time enrollment at the majority of schools. KU was certainly not immune to these challenges, and as such, the year-over-year application-to-enrollment yield at most schools was a tense roller coaster for leaders like Steinle.

Steinle led KU to adopt the BusinessCAS solution for the 2019 cycle, and results took shape quickly.

With BusinessCAS filling the gaps in recruitment, KU’s graduate business programs went from an application-to-enrollment yield that slipped to 40% in 2018 to a yield of 70% in 2020, a remarkable increase. During the same period, the program went from enrolling as few as 25 students in 2018 to an expanded cohort of 45 in 2020.

A partnership with BusinessCAS translated into a no-cost solution to Steinle’s enrollment challenges. When asked to reflect on her success, she observed, “Because of BusinessCAS and some strategic partnerships, we are getting better-quality applications. It is not about more applications, but better applicants.”

To learn more about how KU’s School of Business accomplished those results, click here to read the full case study.

David Art

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Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 31,000 programs on more than 1,000 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.