University of Chicago


Chicago, IL

Client Challenge

One of the top-ranked research universities in the world, the University of Chicago wanted to understand its competitive position vis-à-vis other highly selective universities in the United States.


Our Approach

Our firm conducted a project to understand perceptions of the University. The project began with in-depth telephone and personal interviews with alumni leadership, trustees and other stakeholder audiences, as well as an exhaustive analysis of available CIRP and ASQ data.


The Results

Our research and recommendations focused on communications designed to counter anachronistic stereotypes and give new meaning to the highly intellectual but dynamic nature of the undergraduate experience at UChicago.

Consistent with our research findings, University administration also pursued initiatives focused on portraying the dynamism of UChicago’s campus community and residential life. The data and recommendations contributed to the University’s improvement in college applications and competitive rankings. Applications grew from 13,000 to more than 25,000 in three years, yield improved and the quality of applications (already extremely high) was even further elevated. Moreover, the University's national ranking rose from 9 in 2008 to 4 in 2012.