Graduate Recruiting

Increasing and diversifying the prospective graduate student recruitment funnel through digital marketing strategies

Through research and departmental partnerships, the University of Michigan College of Engineering’s Communications and Marketing team (C&M) crafted and executed paid marketing campaigns that resonated with a more diverse applicant pool. As part of a push to both increase and diversify the pool of prospective graduate students, College leadership signed onto a three-year proposal by C&M to pilot paid tactics and build an infrastructure for success.  The goals of this partnership and investment were: 

  • Support the College’s focus on improving and diversifying graduate-level recruitment and matriculation, in particular female and underrepresented minority students in the U.S.
  • Pilot and test specific, strategic paid marketing tactics.

This pilot required heavy research and skills development within the C&M team, and collaboration across the College with communicators, recruitment personnel and faculty leadership. Because each department has its own unique recruiting priorities and goals, C&M designed campaigns to complement those goals.

Tactics utilized include:

  • Email drip campaigns: Salesforce
  • Individualized landing pages: Unbounce
  • Search Ads: Google PPC
  • Social media: Facebook/Instagram
  • Preroll video ads: YouTube


The campaigns, refined each year over the course of the three-year pilot, brought in more than 4 million impressions, 40,000 page views, 3,000 new leads and almost 400 new applications. This was accomplished with a budget of approximately $100,000 over the three years.

However, the most important result was successfully navigating such a complex project, filled with many stakeholders. We helped lead Michigan Engineering into new territory and emerged stronger on the other side.