You are on page 1of 2

VCU Graduate School Case Study The Challenge Virginia Commonwealth University’s Graduate School, the largest research

institution in the state, was having trouble sharing information across their many programs. “What existed before we all had a common system was akin to the Wild West,” said Ken Blaisdell, associate dean of external affairs. “Each program had its own graphics, slogan, and voice, making each group’s marketing efforts counterproductive.” Further separating the schools were their homegrown databases, which prevented the free-flow of information across schools. While the individual programs didn’t process applications, they still needed to make recommendations to the graduate school and were lacking a single repository for tracking students from leads to application. Within their databases, the programs had trouble accurately tracking their past interactions with students and corporate partners making personalized and informed communications difficult. Attendance was scarce at prospective student events and those who did attend were rarely received follow up communication and when administrative program staff would visit potential corporate partners it was difficult for them to see quickly if they already had students from particular companies or if they had partnered with them in the past. The Solution VCU assembled a cross-functional task force to speak with focus groups and refine the school’s identity. The committee realized each school’s information, tied up in individual databases, would need to be translated into a common format so the administration would have insight into what each school was doing and ensure all communication with constituents was presented in a singular voice. The committee chose Intelliworks to assist with prospecting, lead capture and events because of its flexibility. “We wanted our software to be more robust than a simple enrollment management system,” said Jana McQuaid, director of graduate studies in business. “I knew that if I could find a system that could assist more than one department with their needs, the chances of a successful adoption would increase.” The versatility of the system allowed VCU to use Intelliworks for prospect tracking, corporate relations, enrollment and online fundraising.

The Results Intelliworks helped the Graduate School to refocus its energy on providing quality customer service to prospective students rather than spending time wading through complicated databases. Admissions representatives are now able to respond to inquiries faster, instantly access student information and access the application remotely due to the software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery. Since implementation, they’ve been able to track students more closely and follow up with ease and they’ve seen their attendance at campus events almost triple. Before adopting the system, they had few mechanisms to develop an attendee list, send reminders or follow up. Intelliworks was an integral part in helping the school implement their new branding. The ability to create and save email templates creates a similar branding experience across all programs. This new branding has helped to increase community awareness of the school and allowed them to market to a broader group of constituents. The Graduate School has experienced a significant drop in the number of people who opt-out of receiving electronic communications- currently less than one percent of their entire contact database has unsubscribed to communications. McQuaid attributes their low number of opt-outs to the increased level of engagement Intelliworks has allowed them to pursue. VCU’s Graduate School began using Intelliworks in five departments and has gradually expanded the initiative into five additional departments. “Other departments within the Graduate School quickly adopted the system because they saw the advantages of having a repository of shared information. The advantage of Intelliworks is that many diverse departments are able to use the same software and information for their unique set of needs,” said McQuaid.