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Insights from the industry

Membership Bodies – The Unsung Hero for Business School Marketing

Membership Bodies – The Unsung Hero for Business School Marketing

Posted on October 29, 2018 by James Womack

Postgraduate students can be notoriously difficult to get in front of. For a lot of business schools, entry requirements are specific and require a reasonable pre-existing skills and qualification base, and internationally, language proficiency on top.

MBA websites and forums are very busy, with more ads than listings offering minimal share of voice, and postgraduate fairs presenting similar issues: potential students carrying around so many prospectuses they turn back to the computer as soon as they get home. The type of student you’re after is less easily targeted through social media, and paid search is expensive. So, what other options are there?

Membership bodies.

Membership bodies hold large pools of highly talented, skilled, experienced members who are career driven and who have studied hard to get to where they are now, and who will do so again to reach the top of their profession.

Take ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) for example. They hold 200,000 members, all of whom we can guarantee have studied extremely hard through 14 separate exams and, by definition, have a minimum of 3 years industry work experience. On top of that, 75% hold a managerial position and in the most recent British Business Survey 87% said they were keenly interested in studying at a postgraduate level in the future.

Having worked closely with ACCA in this sector for nearly 10 years, we can confidently state the effectiveness of marketing through membership bodies, to the point where ACCA now has a postgraduate specific portfolio and is the only accountancy body to do so. Such is the uptake from members that Accounting and Business magazine (ACCA’s flagship publication) hosts postgraduate features four times per year, and there are specific newsletters and email databases which are consistently and by some margin the best performing marketing channels that we offer.

The benefits of marketing in this way are many:

  • Lots of the work is already done for you – you are reaching an audience where 95% plus are suitable candidates and potential students. Of that 95%, all are hard-working and looking to advance their career. ACCA is also taught exclusively in English, meaning that there will be no issue in students passing the relevant IELTS certificates.


  • The competition is less than in the traditional sources. To maintain efficacy of advertising and ensure clients are receiving value for money, we limit the number of adverts in each newsletter and the number of emails sent out per week and month. This means a much greater share of voice and higher response rates than you might find elsewhere.


  • It’s flexible and cost-efficient. Because a lot of the portfolio is digital, you can drill even further down into detailed targeting to reach only those who exactly match your requirements. Length of membership, location, and postgraduate interest are all options to make sure your budget is being spent wisely.


So, give it a try. There are plenty of membership bodies with an untapped pool of would-be candidates, waiting to hear the right proposition. Reach out and see what they can offer you and get in front of the most qualified applicants.

If you want to learn more about ACCA’s proposition to get you started, click here for a breakdown of our services, and do get in touch to have one of the team put together a bespoke package for you.

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