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The DNA behind an innovative campaign

Posted on Categories BrandonomicsTags

Host Robin Tooms catches up with Mark Rudkin, executive director of marketing for Rice University’s Jones School of Business. Mark explains the new MBA DNA recruiting program at Rice University.

Robin: Hello, and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I’m Robin Tooms, VP of Strategy at Savage, and visiting with us again today from Rice University is Mark Rudkin, Executive Director of Marketing at the Jones School. So, Mark, welcome back.

Mark: Thank you. It’s my pleasure.

Robin: Well, wonderful. So I understand that the Jones School is launching a new admissions campaign this year called MBA DNA, and it is really kind of an out-of-the-box marketing effort for Rice. So I want to hear a bit more about the marketing strategy behind that.

Mark: So it’s a departure for us. In the past it’s been somewhat straightforward, but it kind of evolved in my living room back in April. Creative Manager, Kevin Palmer, had the idea and was kind of sitting on it for a while. And Weezie Mackey, who is our content manager, and John Paul Estrada, who is our Web manager, all of us sort of put our heads together and kind of put this thing into a movement forward.

The DNA concept, I like it because what we do is we explore the DNA that exists within each and every individual as they’re considering getting an MBA. In the brochures and on the website we list some of the characteristics, some of what makes everybody different, some of what makes them the same, and then kind of evolve that into a conversation about the Rice MBA itself and how its DNA is different and we hope better as a choice for someone who is furthering their education.

Robin: It looks like as part of that choice some of the verbiage you’ve put on the website and the materials is around this kind of “discover yours” concept and the testimonials you have itself. So how is that integral to the concept itself?

Mark: We’re kind of vague. We created this URL,, and we have kind of these vague billboards and vague ads, and the idea is kind of to capture one’s interest in what’s all that about. Kevin came up with “discover yours,” and I think, you know, we’re all scientists discovering ourselves and looking at our DNA and why we want to get an education, then discovering one’s passion to do so is kind of an integral idea around the idea.

Robin: That discovery concept works great. And we should definitely all check out So thank you again for joining us, Mark. And tune in next week for another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.


Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business is committed to developing principled innovative thought leaders in global communities. It offers the Full Time MBA, MBA for Executives and MBA for Professionals degrees, as well as a full schedule of non-degree, open enrollment executive education and business courses.

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