First of all, I want to state that this semester has BY FAR been the most difficult semester of my college career. From school, to fraternity duties, to searching for internships, it has been a challenging semester. One of the biggest, if not the biggest, projects of my semester has been my research project for Marketing Research and Strategy (BUSI-343). At the beginning of the semester, we were informed about our final project early; a research project to figure out why student enrollment has went down at West Virginia Wesleyan College. There are many theories as to why student enrollment has went down, everyone has their own personal opinion. Putting bias aside, we were tasked with conducting marketing research on the topic, and truly figuring out why student enrollment has went down over the past couple of years. In this blog post, I will discuss with you our research project, how it went, our objectives and whether we accomplished them, plus much more.
How the Project Ended
To create an analysis for our final project, we had to send out surveys to incoming college freshman who are 18 years of age. Our group focused on traditional, high school students, both from the state of West Virginia and from other states, such as Ohio. Traditional students (incoming students) can be defined as students who plan on attending a 4-year college/university after they graduate from high school. We asked them several questions in our surveys, such as: how important is the price of college, how important is the availability of receiving financial aid, how important location, and several other questions pertaining to making the decision of choosing a college or university. We also asked out-of-state students several questions about what drove them to either choose a school in their home state, or a school outside of the state. The results came back in exactly as we expected. Students main factors of choosing a college came down to the price of the institution, the availability of receiving financial aid, and the employability of graduates 6 months after graduating. We found out that a majority of students from other states find out about colleges and universities through the web, which was not a surprise because of the rise in social media. One thing that surprised me, was that 39.1% of the respondents from out-of-state said they first thing they look for in colleges/universities was the list of majors and programs. Initially, I figured cost would be the main factor. Overall, I thought the results were pretty accurate, and our group did a fantastic job of working together to analyze the data and place the information in power point and an outline
Learning Objectives: What Were They?
Back in February, we wrote a blog post that talked about the objectives we wanted to accomplish. The first thing we wanted to accomplish was figuring out the real reason why student enrollment is down at WVWC. The second objective was to figure out the proper way to conduct marketing research. The last objective was working on a group project with people that has high importance. I thought these objectives were good ideas to focus on because the school is using our research to base their future ideas on increasing student enrollment, and learning how to conduct marketing research is a tool I could utilize in my professional career. Also, learning how to work with a group of people during a big project is also a lesson can utilize in my professional career
Did We Accomplish the Objectives?
In my personal opinion, I felt that we accomplished every objective. From the survey we sent out, I felt like the results showed us the main concerns of incoming students. From the results of our survey, we can conclude that the answers high school students provided are things the administration can work on and focus on to change the way students think about Wesleyan. For the second objective I set for myself, I definitely learned the proper way to conduct marketing research. I realized there are many more steps to marketing research then I previously thought there were, and that marketing research is time consuming. I also learned that working on important project with a group of people will be tasks that I will potentially face as a professional, and this experience gave me great practice of what I may face in my professional career. Learning how to properly conduct marketing research is a tool I will more than likely have to use in my professional career, because with any marketing job, to solve a problem you may have to conduct research to figure out the solution to your problem.
Although this project brought my group and I plenty of success, there were many lessons learned. As I previously mentioned, marketing research has many more steps and takes more time then I previously imagined. During the semester, while we were simultaneously working on our project, we would learn about marketing research in our text book and lecture videos sent by our professor. One thing I learned about marketing research is that you should work in advance. One thing our group did not do well is work in advance. With our surveys, we did not send them out early enough and allow our respondents a surplus of time to respond. Yes, we did get responses to our survey. However, we got them very late towards the due date for our project and barely finished the project on time. We finished the project on time, and I now know to work in advance so it will allow yourself time to make corrections to anything you need to fix, and will allow yourself to prepare for any further actions such as a presentation.