Students talking and laughing outside
Posted on 22 Sep '23

10 Key Takeaways from our 10th Postgraduate Marketing Conference

Building on the success of our Spring conference back in May, on Thursday 14 September we travelled to London to host our 10th Postgraduate Marketing Conference supported by Havas People - Education. The day was packed with postgraduate-focused discussions, networking opportunities, and enlightening talks from industry experts.

Here are my key takeaways from the event.

#1 Welcoming international students

In light of recent policy changes affecting international students in the UK, there's a pressing need to showcase the country as a welcoming destination. The inspiring #WeAreInternational campaign aims to emphasize the economic value these students bring while sharing their transformative journeys. Interestingly, Hollywood A-lister Ryan Reynolds and his journey with Wrexham Football Club played a role in inspiring this campaign, drawing parallels with advocacy for international students.

And they even feature a student from Wrexham University in their campaign (they haven’t met Ryan yet!)

You can create your own assets to support the campaign using the free #WeAreInternational toolkit.

#2 Making connections with the right supervisor

Choosing the right supervisor is key for prospective PhD students. Our student panel emphasised that the supervisor-subject fit often outweighs the university choice. Therefore, it's crucial for PhD supervisors to actively promote themselves and their opportunities online, including on social media platforms.

#3 More than course information

Prospective postgraduate students attending open days seek more than just course details. They require information on funding, career prospects, advice from experienced students, and available support services. Providing a holistic experience during open days can make a significant impact.

#4 The power of email

Prospective students are reading your marketing emails! Our student panel revealed that prospective students find informative emails from universities they are considering to be highly valuable. However, striking the right balance between frequency and content is essential to ensure your messages are heard.

#5 PGR pivot

There's been a remarkable 49% increase in the proportion of international students searching for research-based Masters degrees (such as MRes and MPhil programmes). This could be attributed to government policy changes that don't necessarily affect PGR courses. Keep an eye on this trend as it unfolds, as it will be a topic of discussion in our future Pulse reports.

#6 International shifts

International audiences have shifted quite dramatically for PGT with smaller changes at PGR. There’s notable growth in Arts and Humanities subjects at PGT and Computer Science and Business at PGR.

#7 Cost of living crisis and student sentiment

Surprisingly, in the midst of a cost of living crisis, prospective Master's students are feeling more positive about costs and are increasingly eager to start their courses sooner. This could be an opportunity for universities.

#8 The AI revolution

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not a recent phenomenon; it traces its roots back to the 1940s with the enigma code. Today, the AI available to us can help us in our marketing and recruitment roles, from generating images and content such as social media posts to simplifying complex reports. Embracing AI can free up time in our day to day roles to do more of the stuff we enjoy.

#9 Engage your existing audiences

When promoting postgraduate study don’t forgot about your current undergraduate students and alumni audiences. Engage with them through various channels, including collaboration with internal departments such as Careers and Finance, as well as your academic community.

#10 Career Focus

In the cost of living crisis students have become more career focused. They view postgraduate study as a means to advance their careers. Anything you can do as a marketer to convey the career benefits and jobs support will be welcomed by this audience.

Keen to attend our next Marketing Conference? Sign up for updates and be the first to know when our next event is announced!

FindAUniversity take pride in being experts in postgraduate education. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram for regular insight, comment and case studies.

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