University of Maryland undergraduates put their innovation and problem-solving skills to the service of their fellow classmates. Jamie Grossarth, Ananth Shrivatsan, Sylviane Alexion, and Isaac Adeeku presented their proposal for improving the application process to the university's education abroad programs to members of the University Cabinet as their final project for the fall 2016 Innovo Scholars Consulting program on Dec. 16, 2016.
The students examined the marketing and messaging, workflow design, and rules and policies around study abroad programs. The university has programs in 42 countries, from full semesters to shorter term, single course experiences. They collected data from the university's website and from students who have participated in global study courses, identifying pain points that keep students from studying abroad or make it more difficult to navigate the process. Their key takeaways included focusing marketing around learning objectives, streamlining the application process, and creating a central resource for all policies and rules pertaining to study abroad programs.
Students also suggested innovative ideas the university could implement to make the entire process easier for both students and administrators. Student profiles could serve as a repository for all important student information, so that students wouldn't have to re-enter information multiple times during the application process. The same system could be used for push marketing to students, such as notifications about visa requirements, scholarship opportunities, or important application due dates.
The presentation led to a wide-ranging conversation among Cabinet members about process improvement not just for education abroad but throughout a student's experience at Maryland.
Last year's Innovo Consulting Scholars project focused on process improvement for changing majors. Recently, the university cited the Innovo Consulting Scholars’ work when describing the impetus for a process improvement initiative across information systems and administration structures.
Launched in spring 2015 at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, the Innovo Scholars Consulting program partners elite students with interested faculty to transform undergraduate courses and programs.
- Rebecca Winner, Office of Marketing Communications