London School of Management Education Graduate Outcomes case study
'A success story'
The London School of Management Education (LSME) believes that the contribution of past students to the Graduate Outcomes survey will add to the collective voice of graduates in the UK and give current and future students an insight into career destinations and developments via the publication of the Unistats data for LSME. The responses will also support LSME in the evaluation of its services and the promotion of our programmes.
Since 15 months after graduation is a long time, there is a tendency that graduates may not remember to take part in the survey, or may have changed their contact details or even moved away. This will reduce the overall response rate and the quality of information obtained. To help maximise the response to the survey, the College has devised the following strategies to improve student awareness of the importance of Graduate Outcomes and to remind the graduating classes and alumni of the forthcoming survey:
Pre-survey information and advice
1. Before graduation
Publication of information on Graduate Outcomes
Information on Graduate Outcomes is published on the College website for all existing and prospective students. We also include this information on the General students’ handbooks and the VLE. Students are also introduced to the Graduate Outcomes logo and materials via their noticeboards and student activity boards.
During the induction of new students, Graduate Outcomes is introduced to the students as a vital component of their academic journey with LSME. The information is part of a PowerPoint presentation on student support services. A slide on career advice and guidance provides a unique opportunity to discuss what happens after graduation. We believe that introducing this survey at the start of students' studies would serve as a reminder of the relevance of their qualification. It will not only motivate them to achieve but also encourage them to start thinking about progression opportunities and employment.
Graduate Outcomes seminar for graduating classes
At the end of each term, graduating students are invited for a short seminar to discuss the Graduate Outcomes survey. In a short PowerPoint presentation, graduating students are allowed to reflect on their studies and to discuss the relevance of the Graduate Outcomes survey. They are made aware that they will be contacted 15 months after their graduation to take part in a survey to find out what they are doing and how LSME has prepared them for that role. We also use this as an opportunity to obtain their current contact details in case they are planning to leave the country or change their address. This is important for future communication and to track their whereabouts after they have completed their studies.
Graduate Outcomes announcement and publication during the Annual Convocation Ceremony
During the Annual Convocation Ceremony, graduates are reminded again to expect an email from HESA 15 months after their graduation asking them to take part in the Graduate Outcomes survey. Further information about Graduate Outcomes is shared with them during the concluding remarks and by watching a short video produced by the Graduate Outcomes team at LSME (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viW3ikEQRhE).
2. After graduation
LSME holds Alumni Events as part of its commitment to supporting students after their studies. During these events, the cohorts of graduates who are due for the Graduate Outcomes survey are invited to attend. The event highlights career development and progression, job opportunities, guest lecturers and career forums with employers and professionals from various relevant sectors. We use these events as additional opportunities to discuss the Graduate Outcomes survey and what to expect from HESA.
Publication of information on the Graduate Outcomes survey on the Alumni Portal
Additional information on the Graduate Outcomes survey is also published on the Alumni Online Portal for those who are not able to attend the Alumni Events at LSME. This idea is to ensure that by the time students receive their final email from HESA, they are very much aware of the Graduate Outcomes survey and are willing to take part.
Reminder emails and calls to graduates, one week before the survey begins
A week before the survey, LSME contacts graduates by email or telephone to provide a final reminder of the Graduate Outcomes survey and its importance to higher education students. It is much easier for us to contact students if their details are registered on the LSME Alumni Portal shortly after graduation and they have also taken the internal end of course review survey and updated their contact details.
Information about the survey as well as the deadline for responses is provided during this call. Graduates are advised to contact HESA if they do not receive the email notification. Graduates are also advised to check their spam folders if the notification is not in their main mailbox. They are also informed to expect follow-up calls from HESA when the survey begins.
3. During the Graduate Outcomes survey
Follow up calls by Graduate Outcomes team (HESA)
The Graduate Outcomes team from HESA will also follow up with graduates over the phone during the survey period, as part of their engagement strategy.
4. Post-Graduate Outcomes survey email
After the survey, the admin department sends emails to all survey participants to thank them for their contribution. The overall response rate is announced. The cohort of graduates with the highest response rate is acknowledged during Alumni Career Events.
Where did the idea come from?
Our first cohort of graduates who took part in the Graduate Outcomes survey performed well (73%) but not as we anticipated considering the positive reviews we obtain from our students. To improve on the response rate a Graduate Outcomes Working Group was formed by the Executive Director of the institution. The group is made up of programme Leaders and admin staff. In a meeting to discuss strategies to improve on the response rate to the survey, the ideas were developed, agreed and implemented accordingly.
How did you put it into action?
What was the process?
An action plan was developed to ensure smooth implementation of the ideas agreed by the Graduate Outcomes Working Group. Tasks were distributed to the key members of the Graduate Outcomes Working Group and deadlines for implementation was agreed. The task allocation included preparation of website information and PowerPoint slides, planning and incorporating Graduate Outcomes into key events and sending emails to Graduate Outcomes cohorts.
Was there any resource/cost implications and who else was involved?
This initiative did not present an additional financial burden to LSME. All marketing materials were developed in-house and the video was produced by the Graduate Outcomes team. The LSME Alumni and students also posted individual videos online to improve awareness among the student community.
What was the result?
Taking the extra mile to raise awareness has improved our Graduate Outcomes survey response rate considerably. In the last cohort, our response rate rose from 73% to 97%. The survey, in general, has improved the level of engagement we currently have with our graduates and would hopefully enable the strengthening of our alumni.
This initiative has led to an improvement in the response rate for the Graduate Outcomes survey which is traditionally thought to have a low response rate. Although this initiative will continue in subsequent years, we would consider obtaining feedback from students to generate more ideas on how they can be effectively engaged in the entire process. We are also in the process of developing our own videos to improve on the brand awareness of the survey.
Dr Ravi Kumar, Executive Director, [email protected]
Role in Graduate Outcomes
Lead, Graduate Outcomes Working Group.