Education Marketing and Advancement

Objectivity, transparency, and a collaborative spirit

Marketing Therapy

with Mike Connor

The Accidental Profession? (Series 2 of 9)

The second of nine blogs in serial format, adapted from Mike Connor’s Cornerstone Keynote Address at the Association of Independent Schools Admission Professionals’ (AISAP) Annual Institute in Nashville, July 8, 2013. Connor addressed 200 admission professionals from around the world. Connor's topic: Becoming Your Own Brand and Value Proposition!



The Secondary School Admission Test Board released a report this spring on the status of the admission profession in 2013. SSATB’s report was loaded with astonishing as well as alarming findings... particularly on gender-based salary.

I won’t dwell on details.  But right there in the Report’s introduction was a reference to admission as the Accidental Profession.” That got me thinking about my own circuitous road to the admission office via journalism, politics, professional music, and, much later, teaching.

But then I stepped back and wondered. Does a CEO emerge fully bloomed from an MBA program? Does a Henry Miller (once a bicycle messenger in New York City) or a J.K. Rowling emerge onto the scene as a fully blown great writer? Of course not. 

And neither do great enrollment management officers.

Our paths may be circuitous, but our detours and destinations along the way are rarely accidental.

The Intentional Profession

So it doesn’t really matter, does it, how you came to find yourself in enrollment management.

What matters is how you go from finding yourself in this so-called “accidental” profession to creating an intentional, on-purpose career.

To get started, you have to know how to lead from the middle, on purpose, and with intent.

I’ve held nearly every teaching and administrative position in schools. Now, as an education marketing and strategic planning consultant, my mission is to help private (primarily independent) schools become sustainable and resilient in this increasingly competitive and costly landscape. The key word in interdependence. Why would that be important?

We have every reason to expect that by 2030, half of all the private K-12s in the country will close, merge, or change their missions.

And as a consultant, two of the tools I employ to communicate value, inspire interdependence, and get to institutional resilience (and therefore sustainability) are what I refer to as the 6Ws of Great Branding and the Four Dimensions of Value.

So my intention for our time together is this:  That the idea of what makes a great brand and value proposition for your school may also suggest a blueprint, a design, for how you might advance your professional career and your personal life.   

This “blueprint” will help you lead from the middle as an enrollment management professional.

So what’s the payoff?

So that you can make a difference.

Isn’t making a difference in our world what motivates the best in us?  Especially for those of us who go into education – we seem to have this need to know we are making a difference — that we matter.  Even more important: we need to make sure others know they matter, and that they can make a difference.

So how can we use the 6Ws of Great Branding and the Four Dimensions of Value to make a difference?

Next: The Four Dimensions of Educational Value

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