Marketing failures

October 1, 2015

It was brave for Philip Moriarty to argue that university marketing approaches need to stop insulting the intelligence of students (“Words fail us: marketing-speak damages the brand”, Opinion, 24 September). I think that this is particularly the case for the postgraduate market in the UK.

The Postgraduate Experience Project, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, found that postgraduates wanted honesty in the marketing of courses and not spin. They needed to know the possible pitfalls that they could face studying at this level and how they could overcome them, but for many this had not been their experience. Marketing processes built up the promise of a high quality student experience that was often not delivered. Emma Pollard from the Institute of Employment Studies, who was project steering group member, summed it up nicely: “Undergraduates are naive shoppers, postgraduates are savvy consumers.”

We have to take responsibility for the conduct of our marketing departments, who have been driving the credential inflation of qualifications in the UK. Marketing courses on the basis that students who obtain a postgraduate qualification will stand out from the crowd and provide the skills that employers are seeking is not accurate and is irresponsible marketing. A postgraduate qualification is a rung on the ladder of lifelong learning, as the late Sir David Watson always stated, and with the increasing evidence that employers of all sizes want relevant work experience and a qualification is “nice”, Moriarty’s argument that marketing approaches need to be rethought is logical and sensible.

Michelle Morgan
Principal investigator and project leader, Postgraduate Experience Project,
Centre for Higher Education Research and Practice, Kingston University


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com

Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday. View terms and conditions.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Lecturer in Innovation and Enterprise UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE
Senior Lecturer in Project Management UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE
Research Fellow UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE
Head of Student Systems and Records YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest

Microlight pilot flies with flock of cranes

Reports of UK-based researchers already thinking of moving overseas after Brexit vote