Within the next seven years, master’s degrees will account for nearly a third of all postsecondary degrees. But unlike the tremendous growth in awarded master’s degrees over the past two decades, this new increase will come from Master of Professional Studies (MPS) programs, according to a report by the Education Advisory Board (EAB).
These are programs focused on specific job skills that help students gain a new job or advance in an existing career.
Who is driving demand for MPS programs? Mostly, the students are “working professionals” — nontraditional, somewhat older and often employed. But the term “working professionals” is not precise enough to describe their specific needs, according to EAB. As part of the report, “Understanding the Changing Market for Professional Master’s Programs,”researchers outlined four kinds of students likely to be interested in MPS programs. They divide them into:
- Career Starters: Recent graduates seeking a professional degree before entering the workforce.
- Career Changers: Mid-career adults seeking graduate degrees to move into new fields.
- Career Advancers: Mid-career professionals seeking graduate degrees in order to earn a promotion or a raise.
- Career Crossers: Mid-career professionals seeking cross-training to advance in current fields.
According to EAB’s report, these students want similar things from an MPS program. They want a program that is tailored to their needs. They want opportunities to network within their field. Because most students are working — and their time is limited — they want a master’s program that has an accelerated format and flexible class times that can work around their schedules.
Where are these career starters, changers, advancers and crossers searching for such programs? Overwhelmingly on an institution’s website. These mostly nontraditional students cannot be marketed to in a traditional way. A college or university that wants to market to them most effectively needs to know when these prospective students are on its .edu site and what programs they are researching.
That’s where marketing automation comes in.
Marketing automation technology, like the kind Capture Higher Ed has developed specifically for colleges and universities, monitors visitor behavior on an institution’s website so that its admissions department can learn more about what a specific student is looking for, and then send her targeted messages in real time. Marketing automation provides the right message at the right time, delivering the content the prospective student’s own online behavior says she is ready to receive. The intelligence enables more intentional real-time marketing opportunities.
Do you have the tools to engage the growing number of students interested in your MPS programs? Find out more about Capture Behavioral Engagement (CBE).
By Kevin Hyde, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed