Look for a Campus and a Brand

In a previous post, I provided some suggestions on selecting an appropriate and complementary major in your graduate program to build your personal brand. If you are at the point of selecting a major, you are most likely accepted to or enrolled in graduate school already. If you are not already in the “graduate loop” then this posting is for you, or anyone else contemplating graduate school. If you are not considering graduate, time to reconsider. Many will tell you that an undergraduate degree today is similar to yesterday’s high school diploma. Graduate school is essential to building your personal brand, but not just any graduate school. The school you select needs to fit the plan for your brand.
There are several ways individuals can enhance their personal brand equity. Before enhancing your brand equity, you need to create an appropriate brand, one that fits your overall goals and objectives. I discussed this in an earlier post as well. This is where selecting the right graduate school is necessary for creating the right personal brand. Assuming you already developed, or at the very least decided on what your personal brand should mean to others, you are ready for the next step of enhancing your brand.

Some important questions to consider

Here are some questions you should consider when seeking that fit between your graduate school and your brand.
1. What is the mission of the graduate school?
Most schools have specific missions that guide their academic offerings and admissions policy. For example, some schools’ missions are to educate as many college eligible students as possible to enhance the education and opportunities for local populations. State schools fit the bill here and offer quality education for a reduced rate. Some schools are dedicated to providing well-rounded educations. One of many liberal arts schools are excellent for these types of degrees.
2. What is the specialty of graduate school?
While many schools have graduate degrees in marketing, management, or finance, these might not provide you with the expertise in a specialized field needed to build your brand. Maybe you like wine (and who doesn’t?) and would like to pursue a career in it, then a graduate degree in Viticulture (yes, they do exist) might be ripe for the picking for you.
3. What is the graduate school’s philosophy?
Maybe religion is an important part of your life and your core values. There are many schools where a religion may be the basis for the academic offerings and extra-curricular activities.
4. Finally, what does the school stand for in general?
Certain schools carry brand images associated with them. Ivy league schools connote strong positive imagery as do the schools in the University of California system.
When enrolling in any school, you are making the association between you and that school. An important step in creating your first positive impression is the school you select, so choose wisely! Plan ahead for that first impression and you will most likely choose the right school for your personal brand!


Howard, an Associate Professor of Marketing in the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at the California State University Fullerton, earned his Ph.D. from Temple University. Prior to joining the faculty at Cal State, Howard was on the faculty at Drexel University and The Pennsylvania State University. A native of Philadelphia, Howard has extensive experience in the public and private sectors working for organizations such as the Department of Defense, Motorola, and the CSX railroad.  His research expertise is in branding, sustainability, strategic pricing, and education. In addition to teaching at Cal State, Howard has a consulting business focused on branding. You can follow Howard on Twitter or connect with him at Linkedin.

Related posts:

  1. Compliments and Complements Help Build Your Brand
  2. Your Graduate Brand, a Major Decision
  3. Campus Ambassador: More Than a Title

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