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City University

Secondary analysis of postgraduate applicant data

The brief

City, University of London commissioned Shift Learning to analyse data they had collected from postgraduate students during the 2015 application process. They were keen to gain an outline of the profile of applicants for each course, as well as at university level. In addition, City were interested in segmenting their postgraduate applicants based on their responses in order to develop a strategic marketing approach and refined application process.

Our approach and methodology

We cleaned and processed data from over 16,500 applicants, which included coding open ended responses. The data was then analysed using Snap and Q software. We generated 100 in-depth course level reports within 2 weeks, which outlined applicants’:

  • Demographic profiles, including international students
  • Employment history
  • Education history
  • Funding and sponsorship requirements
  • Awareness of marketing communications
  • Reasons for applying to the university

Each course report was benchmarked against analysis at university level. An additional Geomap Analysis was run on postcodes provided by domestic applicants.

A cluster analysis was performed on the data in order to identify groups amongst the postgraduate applicants to better understand and segment their characteristics, preferences and needs. 6 distinct cluster groups were identified by Shift Learning and marketing personas were developed accordingly to support the university with their future recruitment and marketing strategy.

Delivering results and value to our client

Shift Learning were able to deliver 100 bespoke PDF reports to inform strategy at course and university level. A separate segmentation analysis provided insight through an understanding that there are a variety of different types of applicant, with different characteristics, needs and preferences.