B-Schools Turn Up The Video Marketing

A scene from the new marketing video for the Tuck School of Business

A scene from the new marketing video for the Tuck School of Business

Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business today (Aug. 22) raised the marketing stakes for elite business schools, releasing a slick video to promote its prestigious full-time MBA program.

Tuck, of course, is not the first school to effectively use video to market itself. Columbia Business School used a pair of videos to sell the benefits of its New York City location, even requiring applicants to view them and write brief essays about the productions. The University of Minnesota’s Carlson School also has smartly used video to capture the essence of its MBA experience. After all, visual imagery and heart-stopping music tracks have natural appeal to millennials who have been raised on a diet of television and video games.

But Tuck’s three-minute video, which boasts Hollywood production values and a soundtrack reminiscent of the Academy Award winning film Chariots of Fire, is as polished and powerful a marketing tool as something out of Procter & Gamble. The video brings viewers up close to Tuck’s close-knit culture and features comments from superstar professor Vijay Govindarajan who speaks not about the superb academics at Tuck but rather the close relationships MBA students forge with professors.

‘WE NEEDED A WAY TO CONVEY TUCK’S UNIQUENESS AND EXCITEMENT’

That was exactly the goal of the school’s marketing officials. “Anyone who has talked with students or alums about their two years in Hanover has experienced first hand the enthusiasm and excitement, the bubbling over, about their experience,” says Gina Clark des Cognets, director of marketing and communications, who graduated from Tuck with her MBA in 2001. “We needed a way to convey that uniqueness and excitement. So our goal was to develop a video to give people an authentic view of what Tuck is like.”

The video starts with an early morning scene outside the school’s iconic Tuck Hall, where an attractive young woman is stretching before a jog. “I knew I would like Tuck,” she says in a voiceover beautiful photos of the Dartmouth campus. “I didn’t know I would feel changed by Tuck. I thought it would be two years, get a degree and make some friends. t feel like I am a different person. I’m so much better to reach out and articulate what is important to me because of Tuck.”

Clark des Cognets says that the planning for the video began last fall and winter, culminating with the shooting and production in the spring. The project took “a couple of months” and will be used to market the school in everything from admission presentations to on-campus visits.

‘WE DIDN’T WANT IT TO BE TALKING HEADS TALKING ABOUT TUCK’

In the video, there are no statements by deans or faculty–which can often appear dry and bland–but rather a focus on Tuck students and their enthusiasm for the school. “It was a very deliberate decision to tell this story from the viewpoint of our students,” says Clark des Cognets. “We didn’t want it to be talking heads talking about Tuck. It’s all about the people at Tuck and the students who embody and bring to life what Tuck is all about.

That approach builds on survey research which has consistently shown that the school’s students and alumni often play a powerful role in the decision of candidates to apply to Tuck. “I can use myself, a focus group of one,” jokes Clark des Cognets. “When i was making my decision about where to go to business school, it was my conversations with students and alums that made me want to be part of this thing. It is contagious and you want to be a part of it. Tuck is the best two-year business school experience there is. It gives people exactly that. We only feature a handful of students and faculty but we could have put any of them forward and that Tuck spirit would have come through.”