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Some Business Schools Adopt Tracking Software in a Bid to Increase Yield

tracking softwareA number of top-tier business schools have begun to use software to track prospective applicants’ interactions with their school in an effort to gauge how interested they are in attending, according to a recent article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The data points – which can include whether a student has emailed admissions staff, how many admissions events they’ve attended and whether they requested program information – are now included in candidate profiles alongside test scores and essay responses, Bloomberg BW adds.

Most schools report that student interest isn’t a main factor in admissions decisions, but the fact that increasing numbers of schools are using the tracking programs suggest that the data gathered counts for something.

“I don’t know if that makes or breaks anyone’s admissions decision, but when you’re getting down to the nitty-gritty and trying to factor in likelihood of matriculation, that’s the kind of thing we look at,” Liz Riley Hargrove, Fuqua’s associate dean of admissions, told Bloomberg BW. She noted that the tracking system Fuqua uses, called Talisma, helped the school increase its yield by 2 percent last year.

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Kellogg use a similar software called Slate, which is marketed as a tool to “maximize your yield and build the desired class.” Booth Dean of Student Recruitment and Admissions Kurt Ahlm told Bloomberg BW that it is “very rare” for the school to make an admissions based on student interest level but allowed that the measure has become one piece of the overall application.

Does this mean that you should begin to flood the admissions office of your top school with dozens of calls to show your interest? Not necessarily. Some schools – including MIT’s Sloan School of Management and the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business – have not adopted tracking software, according to the Bloomberg BW article.

Sloan Senior Director of Admissions Rod Garcia would rather spend the tens of thousands of dollars the software costs on extra recruiting trips. “I think if we go into the tracking business, we completely change the goal of the office. We become an analytics outfit rather than educators,” he told Bloomberg BW. “I guess we still do business here the old-fashioned way, and that is relationships.”

Read the complete Bloomberg BusinessWeek article, “Business Schools Get Smarter About Weeding Out Uninterested Applicants.”