Helping students find their ideal MBA at ESMT Berlin

“The options aren’t always clear to everyone, so the Study Choice Advisor makes it easier for them to find out which programme is the best option for them. We have four MBA programmes and this helps them figure out the structure of each programme.”

Mariana Macedo

Senior Marketing Manager

ESMT Berlin


MBA’s included in the "Advisor"


conversion rate


qualification rate of leads

Executive Summary

ESMT Berlin successfully implemented an MBA Study Choice Advisor on their website, to address the challenge of ensuring that prospective students could distinguish between their MBA programmes and choose the one that fit them the best. ESMT Berlin was also looking to add interactivity on their website to engage their visitors more.

Launched in November 2023, this digital tool has significantly enhanced user interaction by providing personalised MBA programme recommendations and securing the contact information of quality leads from sought-after geographical markets. The success was instant – within just a few months of going live on their website, both the Executive MBA and Global Online MBA had applications from students coming through the Study Choice Advisor.


ESMT Berlin’s website is the hub of their recruitment activities and, as a result, their online marketing strategy is very sophisticated. However, the marketing team saw an opportunity to appeal to more prospects by helping them to find out whether an MBA with ESMT Berlin was really something they should pursue and, if so, which type of MBA would be their best option. Dealing with prospective MBA students differs from other potential students, as MBA candidates’ professional and private schedules are typically less flexible, meaning they do not have the same amount of time to browse the website for in-depth information that is applicable to them.

In response to this challenge, ESMT Berlin launched a Study Choice Advisor for their MBA programmes on their website at the end of 2023. By March, CEO of House of Education (HoE), Pernilla Carlström, met with Mariana Macedo, Senior Marketing Manager at ESMT Berlin, to discuss the product’s performance thus far.

“I actually expected that it was going to take a bit longer to start seeing people from the [Advisor] applying.” - Mariana Macedo, Senior Marketing Manager ESMT Berlin


Helping students find their ideal MBA match adds significant value.

Prospects are often unfamiliar with the various MBA formats being offered, such as weekend and online MBAs, and are therefore unsure of which programme best suits their lifestyle and schedule. Mariana highlights this by stating, 

“The options aren’t always clear to everyone, so the Study Choice Advisor makes it easier for them to find out which programme is the best option for them. We have four MBA programmes and this helps them figure out the structure of each programme. It's more interactive, and makes it easier for them to choose the right programme instead of having to read four different brochures.”

The individualised manner in which the Study Choice Advisor conveys information to prospects also boosts the interactivity of the ESMT Berlin website. It allows prospects to engage with the website in a completely personalised and dynamic way, and find the information that they are personally seeking. Mariana states,

“They find out which programme is best for them immediately. So, they feel like they get something that is tailored to them. It adds a personal touch and gamification to the website that we didn’t have before.”

Why is a Study Choice Advisor efficient for MBA students in particular?

Mariana was happy to tell HoE that the Study Choice Advisor was the first touchpoint for several applicants in its three months since launching – and many of the eventual applicants had interacted with the Study Choice Advisor at some stage while browsing the site. Mariana was pleasantly surprised by this number, as she had not expected to generate such engagement so quickly after the product was launched. She believed that the ease of the product may be the reason it was so successful, and expressed that,

“The Advisor is more friendly than a brochure download, and they might not be willing to sign up for a webinar or any other activity. I think the Study Choice Advisor is more friendly as a first touchpoint and is more direct.”

Moreover, the Study Choice Advisor was able to gather contact information from these MBA prospects who, as a group, are often more difficult to reach. This is mainly due to their data privacy concerns, as Mariana points out that,

“The more senior leads are the most clued up in terms of data protection. They're really worried about sharing data online and about giving schools permission to contact them by email. So the fact that they’re giving us their information through the Study Choice Advisor is great.”

The Study Choice Advisor’s more friendly approach in making a connection with these candidates helps the marketing team to secure their contact information, as they are required to submit their information in order to get their programme match in return – making it a quid pro quo of sorts.  

Amplifying the value of an MBA

Many prospective MBA students are inherently focused on the financial benefits of paying for an MBA programme. Their ambition is to achieve a higher salary as a result of their new qualification, but they often fail to consider the additional value that an MBA may bring. Mariana explains their mindset:

“A lot of people think about the ROI on their investment – they just want to know about the salary increase they could get from an MBA. But if they use the Study Choice Advisor, they might see that they potentially could get more from an MBA programme. They might see some added value they didn’t think about.”

These additional advantages of getting an MBA may also assist in prospects actually completing the MBA process. Mariana points out that many candidates apply and pay the registration fee, only to not show up once the programme begins. Their lack of attendance may be due to multiple reasons, such as family or employment commitments; however, if there is enough incentive, beyond salary, to study an MBA, perhaps this trend could be curbed.

Making one-to-one consultations more personal with data

The Study Choice Advisor enabled the marketing team at ESMT to collect rich, personalised data on each lead, allowing them to tailor their pitches to the unique needs and motivations of each prospective student – an individualised approach which proved critical in showcasing to prospects why ESMT Berlin should be their business school of choice. Mariana echoes this as she says,

“Even if I get their LinkedIn and CV, I might not know what their biggest motivation is for doing an MBA. But if they answer, for example, that they want to do a triple jump, then I can already start the conversation with information that is relevant to them.”

Furthermore, the marketing team can also use this soft data from the Study Choice Advisor to gauge the trending subjects and interests of prospective students, and make sure that these preferences are reflected in the MBA marketing materials. According to Mariana,

“People’s main interest now is understanding and using data, so when we talk about the MBA on the website, we can use these keywords to draw their attention, and use data and analytics in our communication.”

The future

Mariana’s main goal for the future is to integrate the data that ESMT Berlin generates, in order to understand the popular website touchpoints and create automations that reach out to potential students based on their website activity. Mariana hopes that this will add even more personalisation to their recruitment process. 

Mariana states that ESMT Berlin has multiple sources for generating leads, but that the leads coming through the Study Choice Advisor product tend to be more qualified for the MBA programmes. Therefore, there is also a plan to launch a campaign for the Study Choice Advisor, in order to generate even more traffic to the product, and ultimately generate more quality leads. 

ESMT Berlin has continued to invest in HoE’s products, and is also currently in the process of launching a Study Choice Advisor for their Master’s programmes. We cannot wait to see whether this Master’s Advisor will equal the success of its MBA predecessor.

In conclusion, the MBA Study Choice Advisor has proven to be a valuable asset for ESMT Berlin, by enhancing the engagement and conversion rates of prospective students. Its success underscores the importance of innovative, data-driven tools in the recruitment strategy of modern academic institutions.

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