While all .edu websites send important signals and establish vital threads of connection to stakeholders — corporate recruiters, research partners and regional funders/allies — a business school website does so with greater urgency and a far more explicit mandate.
We held that truth close as we set about redesigning a new website for the Boler School of Business at John Carroll University, a longstanding pillar of a Cleveland and Northeast Ohio economy that has seen more than its share of challenge and has responded with its distinct brand of resiliency.
Through economic cycles of growth and decline, and a steady re-mixing of Cleveland’s regional economy from traditional manufacturing to financial services and, increasingly, medical technology, Boler graduates have provided a steady and reliable source of corporate leadership and entrepreneurial grit.
But as is the case with many small and mid-sized colleges, the Boler School of Business struggled to articulate a strategy for strengthening the ties that bind a region’s economy with its essential wellspring of managerial, accounting, human resource, supply chain and other essential business talent.
Elliance partnered with the leadership team at the Boler School of Business to articulate that strategy clearly (see infographic). We then set about imagining and architecting a responsive website that would attract and convert the kind of right-fit faculty and students required to translate a set of 500-year-old Jesuit values and a century-old mission into ground reality.
After more than a decade of serving hundreds of colleges and universities, we understand the value — and privilege — of working closely with senior administration early in the strategic process. From that foundation, Elliance can use precious website discovery time to drill even deeper into the school’s origin story, right-fit prospect data, larger economic trends and forces, and faculty insights.
One important take away from discovery required extensive review of the nation’s 28 leading Jesuit colleges and universities. There we found that while all 28 schools spoke from a shared set of values, few had tried to express clearly to a prospective undergraduate why a Jesuit business education mattered.
We set about trying to show, with specificity and from a 17-year-old’s point of view, how a Jesuit business education would prepare them like no other business degree for a changing world. Our goal was to update everyone’s frame to appreciate how sustainable value creation and corporate responsibility are no longer the right thing to do, nor the right thing to do and good for business, but now simply good business.
Interviews with Boler faculty revealed the nature of the task at hand — merging a venerable Jesuit value called Magis (aka the greater good) with the reality that data and analytic tools and skills are driving a new business revolution. Boler’s ability to arm good people with hard skills (finance, accounting, supply chain, marketing) promises to move sustainable value creation from nice to have PR message to bottom line talent, profit driver.
When Alan Miciak, Dean of the Boler School of Business declared, “there has never been a more exciting time to be in business,” we picked up that torch and carried its central theme — and big invitation — into every nook and cranny of website architecture, design, content and photography.
One internal rally cry we used through the development process was this: “Boler students are being invited to step onto a bullet train to the future… and we are creating the pre-boarding experience.” We were excited to persuade prospects that if they want to be part of a successful business that’s doing lasting good for the world, Boler will accelerate their journey.