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31 July 2019

Helping students on their path to HE: how I connected with Unibuddy

If you had asked me three years ago what an MBA was, you’d have gotten a pretty blank stare. Now, I can easily talk to prospective MBA candidates about the benefits of a programme, how it can accelerate their career and the specific programme structure. What I can’t do? Tell them exactly what the experience is like. How hard are the exams? Is it easy to network in London? Do people wear business attire for every lecture? Even if I did have the answer to some of the questions, they wouldn’t seem genuine as I had the word ‘Recruitment’ in my job title. 

So what would I do? Like most MBA recruitment teams, it was common to connect candidates with current students to get that authentic voice across to them. The students are the ones who are actually experiencing the programme and are your best cheerleaders, so why not utilise them? But the manual process of having to match them up (and via email or LinkedIn) is time-consuming for us and annoying for the candidate. If only there was a product that allows prospects to start that conversation easily and naturally…?

Enter Unibuddy! A dynamic startup that had a solution to our problem, and further solutions that we didn’t even know we needed. Coming from a global leading business school which focuses on entrepreneurship, I’d always had an interest in startups and their tendency to challenge the industry. This is exactly what Unibuddy were doing, and challenging the higher education sector was a bold move. However, they came in with a friendly attitude, a product that was proven to work and most importantly their drive to improve the student experience.

We were set up quickly with our ambassador’s profiles embedded on our website ready to receive questions. A common phrase to candidates became “and if you want to know more, you can message one of our students on our website.” The uptake was phenomenal, with candidates at multiple stages of the recruitment cycle asking questions to current students. It allowed our team the time back to focus on other tasks and, with the candidates starting the conversations themselves, it no longer felt forced. Speaking to a student directly allowed them to build a sense of belonging to our institution and become more confident in their decision to accept their offer.

After working within higher education for 3 years, I knew (and had dealt with) the struggles that recruitment, marketing and programme management teams had. I had made lots of small changes to improve the candidate’s experience and to alleviate stress for my teams, but couldn’t make that big change. Once I saw the impact that Unibuddy had on both sides, I knew I had to be in that innovative environment to help candidates on a broader scale and help universities attract and retain successful students. 

Now, I’m very fortunate to say that it’s my job. On the one hand, I get to provide solutions that help recruitment, admissions and marketing teams to improve their applicant’s journey and focus their energy on other tasks. On the other, I know that students are having the best experience they can have, are feeling confident with their decisions when applying to university and go on to have successful careers. My ambition to facilitate an easier peer-to-peer engagement experience for all is starting to be fulfilled.

If you wanted to know more about my experience as a Unibuddy customer or want to know more about how you can implement our platform, drop me an email at [email protected] 


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