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Business School PR: Storytelling - once upon a time

Why storytelling is vital to Business School PR

Why we tell MBA stories to increase applications for Business Schools

Storytelling is often considered vital for human survival. It’s how we have communicated since we were sat in caves – I think it is just as important now as it was then. And in the world of PR there often needs to be an emphasis on storytelling over selling.

I truly believe that in order to successfully engage with the media and secure meaningful press coverage PRs need to be telling a story, a powerful story that educates and entertains readers, whilst properly positioning clients.

The specific angle you choose will of course vary greatly based on your client’s unique history, culture and people. Therefore, it is important that you are choosing an engaging story that conveys your client’s individuality.

Speak to alumni about their experiences

The same idea can be applied to Business School PR. If you want your client to stand out from the crowd you need a powerful story that resonates with humans. It’s very easy for prospective students to get preoccupied with MBA statistics and comparing business schools based on salaries after graduating and class sizes. It doesn’t need to be so dry and lifeless.

The only way to really get a feel for what a business school is like is to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, their alumni.  Many prospective students will want to get an idea of what it’s really like to attend a school and is there a better way than to hear their personal story?  We as humans remember stories, they mean something to us, I’m not sure the same can be said for the percentage of faculty with PHDs.

Every one of our business school clients has as a handful of quirky elements that make its culture unique. If you as a business school PR person can capture the essence of that in a personal story you are bound to secure interest from journalists.  Here at Bluesky PR we have secured numerous articles for our clients which tell individual stories. I have picked out some of my favourites.  

Tell interesting unique stories

Amany Haniya told The Economist that due to Travel and visa restrictions she had to leave her family behind in Gaza when she started her MBA at the University of Edinburgh Business School. She said that although it has been tough, its been worth it. The story reiterates how inclusive the University of Edinburgh Business School is and how hard they work for their students, something they pride themselves on.

Maria Garcia Salmones and Oliver Regidor met while studying for an EMBA at Vlerick Business School’s Brussels campus. They live in Brussels with their son and plan to start a company together one day. The Financial Times covered their romantic story and it again emphasises the close knit and familiar class sizes that Vlerick boast. If a prospective MBA student is looking for love, friendship, or simply support, this might just persuade them to apply for Vlerick Business School.

Yann Cedric Kouame, a student ambassador for ESCP Europe spoke to TopMBA.com about his MBA experiences and how his ambassador role allows him to help students from Africa and the Middle East undertake MBA study. With a background in finance, including jobs at Citi Bank and KPMG, he’s passionate about development in his home nation and the rest of Africa. Again, this shows the diversity and inclusion that ESCP Europe strives for in their MBA programs. If a prospective student wanted an MBA that has strong roots in corporate social responsibility, they might just pick ESCP Europe.

There’s power in third party validation

Ultimately all of these articles focus on the human- interest aspect of these people’s success. They have a unique and newsworthy angle but they also explain how the business school helped them and ultimately had an impact on their achievement.  

All of these real-life success stories also help the potential students understand the reality of your business school from a third-party source in an interesting way, and as Jay Baer said “If your stories are all about your products and services, that’s not storytelling. It’s a brochure. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger.”

If you’d like our help in promoting student stories, adapting academic writing to suit popular media channels or you want some communications support for your university, please get in touch via email or via telephone on +44(0)1582 790 704. We look forward to hearing from you.

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