Agriculture. Aerospace. Construction. Consumer Products. Energy. Financial Services. Government. Health Care. IT. Manufacturing. Non-profit organizations. Pharma.
The EMBA Program at Purdue University makes a point of attracting students from a variety of industries. In fact, with this focus, the program rose to top a list of 70 U.S.-based EMBA Programs recognized for industry diversity.
“When we look at the cohort, we do believe the wider the diversity, whether that means diversity from gender, race, or industry, the more educational that cohort can become, the broader the spectrum they have for views on learning becomes,” says Brian Grimes, associate director of recruiting at Purdue University’s Krannert Executive Education Programs.
Knowing the competition for top talent diversity, the Krannert marketing team concentrates on broad reach, visual representation of diversity in marketing materials, word of mouth, and alumni referrals. They also tap into Purdue’s strong reputation in engineering.
“We like to believe that engineers are needed in every aspect of business,” says Grimes. Purdue’s engineering alumni offers a healthy bank of both potential EMBA students and referrals from many industries. The program also draws potential students from Krannert’s custom programs for companies and professional development programs.
To take a deeper dive into the industry pool, Krannert often uses grassroots approaches. For example, if the program wants more students from the energy sector, it will look to marketing and outreach in Texas. Five years ago, the program did not enjoy a strong foothold in pharma, but now it does because it recruited one student from pharma, which led to another and then more.
Marketing involves strategic and coordinated online and personal approaches. Krannert routinely sends current students and alumni information that they can post about the program on LinkedIn. Social media ads may target key groups. On the personal front, when Grimes meets with alumni, he often asks them to bring along colleagues, which can spark interest.
“It’s a multiprong approach in the end, anywhere from marketing to my boots-on-the-ground position,” says Grimes.
Along with four other universities – Marian University, Indiana University, University of Notre Dame, and Butler University – Krannert also is participating in another unique avenue that melds education and recruiting. The brainchild of Leon Jackson, PhD, from Marian, the Diversity and Leadership Program brings MBA education to underrepresented populations, primarily African Americans and females.
Students spend two-to-three days on each campus, studying different subject matter. Purdue delivers the leadership portion with the same faculty member who teaches in the EMBA Program. Corporate grants financially support the students’ participation.
A win for all, students benefit from a taste of the MBA curriculum, and the participating schools also sometimes find students who are interested in pursuing more. For Purdue, the program has attracted some potential students.
Whether in industry, gender, race, or geography, Purdue will continue recruiting to ensure students who represent diversity on many levels.
“The power of our program is the people,” says Grimes. “We always look at our program as being a collaborative approach to an MBA. The more diverse that collaborative approach is, the more that is learned.”