HAWAII AT WORK
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Ann Worth, assistant director of graduate admissions and marketing at Hawaii Pacific University, stood in front of a student's artwork in her office on Wednesday. Besides traveling the world to recruit new graduate students for the college, she also is working toward an MBA degree herself.
Ann Worth makes a lot of stops all over the world to recruit grad students for HPU
Title: Assistant director of graduate admissions and marketing
Job: Helps recruit graduate students from around the world to attend Hawaii Pacific University
Ann Worth liked the college she had been attending so much that a year and a half ago she went to work for it -- as a recruiter of other students. Worth had been working on a master's degree in business administration at Hawaii Pacific University when she hired on at the downtown college, which these days pays for her to travel throughout the world in search of new graduate students to enroll. Worth, 28, moved to Hawaii two years ago after working as a teacher on Saipan. She is a graduate of Maple Heights High School in Cleveland and has a bachelor's degree in marketing from Arizona State University. She is single and lives in Wailupe Circle.
Question: What is your title exactly?
Answer: Assistant director of graduate admissions and marketing. It changes depending on where I'm at. It's assistant director of graduate admissions when I'm recruiting, and when I'm in the office, it's assistant director of marketing.
Q: What does "assistant of graduate admissions" mean?
A: The "graduate admissions" element is all the services that would bring a potential student to the point at which they enroll. And marketing is part of admissions, because marketing is the part of the effort to attract the students to be admitted.
Q: How do you find the students you hope to recruit?
A: I work in the graduate office, so there's a difference between grads and undergrads, and typically they are differentiated by their age or level of education or at what level they're at in their careers. So from there we focus on region. First we have international -- about 39 percent of our graduate students are from another country. Then we have the continental United States. And then we have local -- Hawaii and the Polynesian islands. All three of those are completely different and people from those regions come here for different reasons. So location really does change their motivation.
For example, local students are typically busy business professionals at the graduate level, that have now seen a need for career advancement through education. So whether it be an MBA or a master's of science in nursing -- we have 11 master's programs -- that brings them to a higher level of career or advancement or certification.
Q: What about people from Asia?
A: Well, international students want to come to a United States-based school to get a Western education, because a Western education is regarded as very valuable, especially for international business. And they want to come to Hawaii specifically because of Hawaii's strategic location between the East and the West. Hawaii is a mix of U.S.-based companies and Asian-based companies, as well as from elsewhere, so it's a gateway, and it's an easy way to assimilate, especially if you're from an Asian country, because there are such heavy Asian influences here.
Q: What about the mainland students?
A: From the mainland we typically get students that commit to being full-time students. They're not here to find a job. They're here to commit to a full-time college education. They're the most traditional students. They come here for a quality education and a quality of life, and, of course, that's what Hawaii offers.
So now that you know the motivators, that's how you market to them.
Q: How do you reach these markets?
A: Well, we have a pretty dynamic marketing mix, really. We have an e-mail, HTML campaign, meaning if they're browsing our Web site and request more information, we always follow up with e-mails. Then we have a direct-mail campaign, which would be the most traditional way of reaching out to students. They request information and they get a nice brochure of the information they requested, and often times a postcard that lets them know about a reception or event where they could come and learn more. And that would be another form of marketing -- we do a lot of events.
One of the coolest parts of the marketing -- what people would consider the most exciting of what we do -- is our opportunity to go to where the potential students are, meaning Asia, Europe, the continental U.S., South America. Most often that would be a graduate fair.
For example, I was just in Asia for a month; seven countries and eight cities with the MBA tour. I traveled with 80 top universities that offer MBAs.
So students in Korea, for example, can go to the fair and meet representatives from schools and talk about their needs one on one, and maybe learn about schools they never thought of, or options or programs. As well, while we're there, we typically meet with local educational consultants and visa officials, and we update each other on processes, so they get the right information out to their populations and we secure the right processes to get them here.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
When she's not traveling, Ann Worth takes care of office duties and meets with students and staff. Above, on Wednesday she spoke with Joseph Salas, associate director of graduate admissions and marketing at the college.
How many grad students are there at HPU?
A: We have under 1,200, and about 8,000 undergrads. HPU is the largest private school in Hawaii. And we have the largest MBA program.
Q: What do you tell prospective students, basically, about why they should enroll at HPU?
A: Well, it depends on what they're looking for. You have to know that it is what they're looking for, because we want them to be happy and for it to be the right fit.
What we do offer is we're downtown, so we're in the heart of the business district, and our professors typically come from the business around us. Also, the classes are small, so they get individual attention.
Q: How much of a factor is money in the decision-making for these kids?
A: Oh, it's important. Tuition is always important. If you can't afford it, you can't go. But internationally, our tuition is excellent. It's not nearly as expensive as other schools.
Q: Do you travel a lot?
A: The traveling is much heavier in the fall. The fall is Asia. spring is a lot more local. I might go to the neighbor islands.
Q: Do you get airsick or anything?
A: Airsick? No. (Laughter)
I know the idea of traveling sounds so romantic, but it's a lot of work. Get up at 7 a.m., go to a lot of meetings, meet a lot of officials. I enjoy doing it, but it can be exhausting.
Q: When you're not traveling, what do you do at the school?
A: Oh jeez, everything. Can you just write that down? Everything. (Laughter). I update the Web site. I'm in charge of the e-mail campaign. And I follow up with all the students that we meet during the year, cultivating and building relationships. I deal with the print ads, update the external Web sites, and host a lot of events. There's a lot of information sessions, too.
Q: Whom do you report to?
A: I have two bosses: Harry Byerly, the associate vice president of the Center for Graduate and Adult Services, and Maria Fallon, the director of the center.
Q: What were you doing before you joined the college?
A: I was working with a mainland developer (Crescent Heights) doing the marketing for them, in conjunction with a local PR company, which later I joined full time. Then I started going to HPU, working on an MBA, and while I was submitting an assignment of mine, I saw that there were job opportunities at the school, and this position was posted. And it's perfect for me.