With two years living with Covid-19, virtual education fairs are still the norm in many countries. Tough larger events are already possible in some countries, people are hesitant to join larger crowds.
How did virtual education fairs evolve in the past years? Not much... Virtual education events have become an extension of the university web. Digital brochures are uploaded from the web. Videos are links to existing videos on Youtube. The school presentations are the same that schools are offering through their events.
Here are 3 ideas to make virtual education events more engaging, and ultimately more successful:
Online events create a level playing field. There is no advantage if your campus is nearby. There are no budget considerations as every university has access to the same online tools as the fair provider. Creating interaction with candidates beyond the student recruiter is key and just a logistical challenge to mobilize the respective stakeholders. Imagine how many conversations you can create with alumni, current students, and faculty on your virtual booth through panel discussions, AMA sessions, and mini-learning snippets, you name it. Convert your booth into a micro-engagement platform during the fair. Every 15 minutes something new, something different is happening.
Showcase Online Capabilities
Since March 2020, universities are forced to deliver classes online in almost all parts of the world. Universities have been adapting their academic content to a virtual environment. Some have been more successful than others. Those who have a solid online/hybrid teaching model: showcase it! Hybrid learning will stay on for a while. The more you showcase your reinvention of the learning experiences, the more confident candidates will become.
Offer Original Content
Education Fairs, virtual or physical, are for many universities an essential tool for candidate outreach. Like any vital event in other industries, providing attendees with original content produced especially for the event can end content fatigue. Consider that many candidates have already visited schools web. With an outreach to candidates before the event, the content can be featured as "fair exclusive" or "global launch".
The MBA fair providers like QS TopMBA, The MBA Tour, or Access MBA should give sufficient flexibility on their platforms to universities to enable these 3 recommendations for their benefit. More engagement creates more value for the candidates, they stay longer on the fair platform, provide positive feedback on their fair experience. This positive candidate experience helps fair providers to onboard more universities on the next tour.