The commodification of education and especially career-specific training globally makes it necessary for universities and colleges to adopt effective ways to attract learners to their programs. Like the typical business setting, education currently appreciates the need to satisfy its customers by offering products that meet or exceed buyers’ expectations. Competition is real among the service providers, with some using policies and strategies to beat others. More universities now intend to realize a niche in the highly competitive sector by rivaling the other players. The University of West Georgia (UWG) is one such higher learning institution that aims to utilize strategies to realize a competitive edge. The facility already has a name, courtesy of its MPA program, which it intends to utilize as the flag program. The UWG wants to attract more students to the MPA program by increasing the course’s marketability and preference among persons seeking to advance in the public administration career. Accordingly, targeting special groups offers the UWG an affordable and certain strategic tactic for realizing its objectives.
The American education sector is extremely competitive relative to the past decades. The expectation for more learners by many universities based on the general rise in college degrees’ demand internationally remains a dream to many. Particularly, the graduate training programs exhibit an almost cut-throat competition as learners specifically target institutions known by the market to offer the best training. Emergent universities or those introducing new programs to realize a niche must adopt effective strategies to succeed, according to Peters et al. (2019). Realizing an outstanding name in the higher learning sector is not easy presently. The ease of copying strategic moves by competitors makes the whole issue complex, with players intending to realize real effectiveness doing so by establishing hard-to-copy systems (Argyres et al., 2019). The University of West Georgia faces a similar problem and intends to find a lasting solution. The institution’s MPA program faces notable challenges due to the inability to attract the anticipated number of learners. The institution thus aims to adopt strategic schemes to make the course more preferable among learners.
Possible Solution: Targeting Special Groups
Targeting special groups offer the UWG an excellent strategy to attract the volume of learners anticipated by the institution. The method beats several other suitable structures that involve increased costs and are easily duplicable. Bamberger et al. (2020) cheer the option by linking it to the success of some renowned global universities, such as Harvard. The initiative works through several ways that UWG can implement to realize synergetic force. Accordingly, aiming for talented students and minorities provides UWG with a rare opportunity to attain its goals. Like Harvard, implementing systems to pull talented persons to the MPA course will give UWG the required competitiveness among its opponents. Loosening admission requirements to make it easy for more learners to apply and join the university’ MPA course should form the first move by the institution towards the targeting mission. According to Bamberger et al. (2020), almost every university in the U.S. supports online learning and training time truncation, making the two strategies less competitive. Therefore, institutions searching for ultimate uniqueness must find innovative and sustainable tactics that are hard to copy to succeed.
Offering scholarships to the selected learners form an excellent strategic accompaniment to the streamlining of application processes for the targeting mission to work effectively. Mohammed et al., (2019) report that the rising cost of graduate education globally pushes many aspiring talented learners away from schools. Offering direct MPA scholarships to talented applicants will thus give UWG the opportunity to rival many other institutions providing the same course. Accordingly, the school can use applicants’ GPA points to directly award the scholarships other than waiting until one is selected to process the scholarship deals. Using the media to communicate the required GPA requirements, applicants’ success rate, and the direct awarding of scholarships to the applicants will increase the course’s traffic and grant the institution the much-anticipated learners’ population. Additionally, UWG needs to ensure that its MPA program offers the best possible training to the selected talents. The institution can partner with employers to secure direct employment for talented graduates, while maintaining active school website for timely communication.
Some universities, especially those introducing fresh graduate courses still operate traditionally. The approach requires learners to travel to the colleges, sit in classrooms, and undertake physical evaluations. Going online thus exists as one of the best strategic options for such facilities to attract more learners. However, UWG already has operational online classes with a significant success rate. The classes employ favorable training time and duration that favors those undertaking the MPA program. Nonetheless, UWG can still do more to go online further. Financing additional online presence is one such way through which UWG can try to acquire more applicants and scholars. Mohammed et al. (2019) approve consistent online marketing as an active way for service providers, such as universities, to realize a rising wired traffic. The scholars suggest the use of search engines, websites, and social media to realize the goal. However, the mission is significantly costly and involves much time, making it substantially weak. The threat of becoming a cliché is also real with this strategy, while its effects on the institution are hard to measure directly.
Alternatives’ Analysis Criteria
The cost-benefit criteria offer organizations appropriate opportunities to assess strategic plans’ effectiveness. The approach juxtaposes gains versus the involved overheads to lead strategists to the best alternative plan. The choice of strategy in the present UWG‘s case depends on its profitability and sustainability promotion to the institution. The ability to promote the MPA course’s preference among graduate learners and the capacity to establish a tangible connection between the institution and the community are some of the anticipated benefits of the targeted strategy. Other advantages include the ability to ascertain graduates’ success in life and the strategy’s impact on streamlining the admission processes. The following table provides the two possible strategy’s attached costs and benefits.
Table 1: Strategic Alternatives’ Analysis Results
|Targeting Special Groups||Promoting Online Operations|
|MPA course’s preference promotion among graduate learners||5||3|
|Establishing tangible connection between the UWG and the community||5||4|
|Ascertaining graduates’ success in life||5||2|
|Streamlining admission processes||5||3|
|Implied strategic cost||3||5|
Best Alternative Analysis and Evaluation
The positive benefit-cost ratios for the two alternative strategies prove their potential benefits to UWG. The institution will benefit significantly by undertaking any of the two initiatives. However, the need to choose one of the two alternatives necessitates the adoption of the option with the higher benefit-cost ratio. Accordingly, targeting special groups has a higher benefit-cost ratio in the present case, making it the best alternative for UWG.
In conclusion, UWG has the ability to draw more people to its MPA course by considering several strategic options. Selecting a specific target group of talented learners and adopting effective plans to streamline the admission process provides the best alternative with minimal cost. The other option involves increasing the marketing aspect through online platforms, which exposes the facility to mistaken identity by the public. Performing the cost-benefit analysis approach thus proves the first option as the most appropriate for the institution.
Argyres, N., Mahoney, J. T., & Nickerson, J. (2019). Strategic responses to shocks: Comparative adjustment costs, transaction costs, and opportunity costs. Strategic Management Journal, 40(3), 357-376.
Bamberger, A., Bronshtein, Y., & Yemini, M. (2020). Marketing universities and targeting international students: A comparative analysis of social media data trails. Teaching in Higher Education, 25(4), 476-492.
Mohammed, A. A., Hafeez-Baig, A., & Gururajan, R. (2019). A qualitative research to explore practices that are utilized for managing talent development in the higher education environment: A case study in six Australian universities. Journal of Industry-University Collaboration, 1(1), 43-51.
Peters, H., Zdravkovic, M., João Costa, M., Celenza, A., Ghias, K., Klamen, D., & Weggemans, M. (2019). Twelve tips for enhancing student engagement. Medical teacher, 41(6), 632-637.