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Barbara Coward

Barbara Coward, Enrollment StrategiesAlthough she didn’t realize it at the time, it all begin 25 years ago.  As part of Barbara‘s financial aid package in college, she worked part-time in her alma mater’s admissions office.

In the stately and historic Main Building on Vassar’s leafy campus, she cheerfully greeted and welcomed eager (and slightly nervous) prospective students, notified admissions directors that their appointments had arrived, and prepared applicant files.

Main Building, Vassar College

It became her favorite campus job and when the semester finished, she naturally assumed it was her one and only experience in higher education admissions.  However, it turns out there was much more ahead.

A Decade of Corporate Experience

After graduating with a degree in French, Barbara spent nearly a decade in the corporate sector, working in client services and finance in the mutual fund industry.  It was only a few years later when Barbara found herself quite unexpectedly back in admissions.

BostonWhile working for American Express in Boston,  Barbara was encouraged by her boss (and mentor), who was an MBA alumnus of Babson and HBS’s Executive Education program, to consider a part-time MBA program, especially since the company offered full-tuition reimbursement.  Two of her friends were studying at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management.  She thought highly of them, so her application was soon in the mail.  (Today she advises prospective MBA students to do a little more research, although she was very happy with her choice).

A Global MBA

Barbara was nearly a third of the way through the MBA when she moved to England for family reasons.  She continued with her studies on a full-time basis at the University of Bath, ranked as the third best university in the UK according to The Sunday Times University Guide 2013, where she was the only American in the class of students from all over the world –  including England, Malaysia, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Mongolia, Hong Kong,  Spain, the Dominican Republic, and  Japan.

Bath EnglandAfter graduating with her MBA, she worked briefly in London and Boston as a financial analyst for the global retailer, Laura Ashley, until she was called to the dean’s office (a good kind of call) and was asked to become the University of Bath’s first MBA admissions and marketing manager.

There, she oversaw full-time MBA and EMBA recruitment and marketing.  In an effort to reverse a decline in enrollment, she researched decision-making patterns of full-time vs. EMBA candidates and proposed a marketing plan to senior academic and administrative leadership.  As a result of her expertise, Barbara increased enrollment by the largest percentage in the history of the program.  As a result, the University of Bath received the Marketer of the Millennium award from the Association of MBAs in 2000.

Experienced MBA Recruiter and Marketing Professional

In 2001, she crossed back over the pond to Baltimore with her family,  and spent the next 7 years as a “CMO” (that is, Chief Mom Officer) to two young boys.

She parlayed her passion for admissions into volunteer work, serving as the co-chair of the Vassar College of Maryland Alumni Admissions Committee until she was hired as assistant director of Executive MBA programs at Loyola University Maryland’s Baltimore, MarylandSellinger School of Business.  There, she marketed and recruited for graduate business programs representing over $12 million of revenue for the University.  In addition to interviewing part-time and EMBA candidates, and leading onsite and corporate information sessions, Barbara launched Sellinger’s first blog devoted to MBA admissions and developed marketing communications and email nurturing campaigns to increase application volume and influence yields.  She also developed an alumni and current student ambassador program and influenced earlier applications through customer relationship marketing.  Barbara’s marketing and recruitment skills helped Sellinger Business School graduate revenue reach an all-time high in 2010.  She was also an instrumental leader on the team responsible for achieving Sellinger’s landmark debut in the Financial Times global ranking of EMBA programs.

MBA-inspired Entrepreneur

Connect with Barbara on LinkedInAlong the way, Barbara recognized a significant unsatisfied demand for specialized marketing services in higher education and, in true MBA entrepreneurial fashion, launched Enrollment Strategies in 2012 to provide marketing consulting services to domestic and international business schools.  Be sure to connect with Barbara on LinkedIn.