Strategic enrollment management during COVID: a case study of Agile teaming in academia

The COVID-19 pandemic correlated with marketplace shifts that resulted in prospective earnings shortfalls for the majority of academic institutions. To address this concern, the dean at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business brought together a small and daring team to pursue something that had never been accomplished outside of high-profile fundraising events for the institution — generate over $2 million in revenue on a “zero cost basis” while focusing on beneficial outcomes for students. Through a marketplace analysis, the committee determined a new Master of Science in Business Analytics program could accomplish this objective. Within 45 days of high-paced, innovative marketing and administrative processes, the program had generated over $2.6 million in committed tuition funds.

The following action items were fulfilled, most of which involved some form of innovative administrative process or new route for marketing:

  • The dean lobbied the Provost’s Office to obtain approval for the use of a “.com” URL to enable the launch of the application portal within 24 hours of deciding to launch the new master’s program. The site and its quick turnaround infrastructure will be shared during the 45-minute session.
  • A market study was conducted and shared among all faculty and staff to “make the case” for the master’s program for all stakeholders (internal and external). This will also be shared during the session to give participants a blueprint from which to model.
  • The graduate admissions staff realigned their work schedules to review and interview over 100 applicants.
  • A professor with training in sales contacted over 200 human resource offices to inform their communities of the program, which resulted in over 100,000 email “touches.”
  • Through collaborations with multiple departments developing the curriculum during the marketing launch (simultaneously), the state gave STEM designation to the program.
  • All marketing channels for the institution were utilized, including large-scale email campaigns, social media and video mashups.
  • “Rock star” alumni volunteered quotes and video commentary, along with outreach to their early professional networks to help market the program.
  • All faculty and staff of the institution were invited to use hyperlinked graphic email banners that advertised the program.


Brandon Chicotsky — Texas Christian University

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