The University of Iowa Tippie MBA program has gotten bored with the 800 word essays. Last year they had 307 applicants to their program. Imagine being in charge of admissions—how boring to read 245,600 words from people using big words to sound smart! (As I learned in college, never use a big word when a diminutive one will do.)
So they’ve decided to have a scholarship contest, and they will award one full-tuition scholarship to the applicant who most cleverly and creatively answers the following in 140 characters or less: “What makes you an exceptional Tippie Full-time MBA candidate and future MBA hire? Creativity encouraged!“ Applicants can also include a link in their tweet to a video, blog, or whatever they’d like.
While they say they they are doing this because “This would give us a lot more depth and show us more about a candidate than an essay would show,” it’s clearly a gimmick for marketing attention, and a brilliant one at that. Applicants still have to apply and be admitted to the program in order to take advantage of the scholarship. All other applicants are still filling out the standard application, which includes a personal essay and additional essays, so the formal application and essays still stand. It’s said that “Twitter is the Snuggie of social marketing,” because every news magazine wants to talk about it, regardless of its irrelevance. And this is a story news sites will pick up on. (As they have, including USA Today, Huffington Post, and even overseas at The Telegraph.)
Last year the MBA program only had 307 applicants, according to one such buzz article in Bloomberg Businessweek. I’m sure this contest will draw a larger pool of people interested in seeing whether they can compose a $37,000 tweet. Plus, I didn’t know the University of Iowa had an MBA program. Now, because of this contest, it’s on my radar.
So this post is my buzz article. And here is my Tweet for the scholarship, complete with kisses and hugs. Here’s to hoping I win!:
Pick me. I won’t use it, I just want to win for the publicity. So you don’t have to pay, and we both get the social media buzz. xoxoxoxo