How Hult Became The World’s Largest Graduate Business School

Students at Hult's Boston Campus, long its most popular location

Students at Hult’s Boston Campus, long its most popular location


Internet forums overflow with anonymous criticism of Hult, much of it centering on the school’s hard-sell recruiting and eagerness to acquire students. “Hult’s recruitment techniques are on par with cold calling health insurance policy sellers,” says one post on

On, two unnamed writers identifying themselves as current recruiters for Hult describe a sweatshop atmosphere in the school’s call centers. “Pushy sales agents . . . work for low pay” to “SELL SELL SELL, and SELL more,” and get fired if they miss recruitment targets, says one of them, purportedly from London. The other, claiming to be from a Hult office in Dubai, says a senior staffer directed recruiters to “close the deal by hook or crook.”


This year, Hult boasts a $7.1 million marketing budget, covering staff pay, education fairs and other promotional events, brochures and print ads, digital marketing, public relations and a speaker series that this year featured Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, Unilever CEO Paul Polman and Zipcar founder Robin Chase, according to Hult vice-president of global marketing Michael Lu.

Philip Hult acknowledges that Hult spends a larger share of its budget on marketing than leading business schools. “A top-10 school spends almost no money on promotion,” Hult says. “They print some catalogs and then they wait for the applications to come in.” Hult shares with top institutions such as Harvard Business School and INSEAD the need to have a full class, but the important issue is the quality of the students, he insists.


Hult’s website and brochures portray a high successful school populated by attractive and engaged students in dynamic cities. The highly produced videos on each of its six locations feature a city’s tourist attractions more prominently than Hult’s academic program. The video for Hult’s San Francisco campus, for example, shows trolley cars, the Golden Gate Bridge, the marina on San Francisco Bay, and the Victorian and Edwardian ‘Painted Ladies’ houses in Haight-Ashbury — and not a single professor.

The school takes an active role in managing its reputation online. Staff monitor comments on business-school-related Internet forums and respond to criticism. On, a post identified as coming from “Hult Staff” responded to negative comments about the school, mostly concerning post-business-school employment.

Posts by Poets&Quants on various forums, seeking interviews with Hult students and graduates, generated a number of offers from students and alumni to tell their positive stories. One emailed response contained a correspondence chain leading back to Hult career services director Nav Dutta in Dubai, urging a Master’s of International Business student to share her “intriguing” story of “student success.”

Prolific pro-Hult blogger Heeba Martin notes in one post that she received a Master of International Marketing degree from Hult in 2013. Her Google+ profile and “Hult Mba Reviews” Facebook page say she “worked at Hult International Business School.”

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