Overview

Hult International Business School is a highly ranked and internationally accredited business school with campus locations in Boston, San Francisco, London, New York, Dubai, and Shanghai. The school offers MBA, Masters, Executive MBA, and Undergraduate programs to an enrollment of 3,000 students from 154 different countries. We caught up with Alec Fisher, Director of Academic Operations, to discuss the challenges Hult was facing and how Motivis Learning was uniquely suited to help solve various issues across Hult’s global campus.

With Hult’s unique format – curriculum is set up between six different campuses with both students and faculty rotating between those campuses often in the same term – Hult found that their old technology simply couldn’t support their model. “We were trying to solve all kinds of problems,” says Fisher. “We were using campus technology that was old, inaccessible, siloed – it was very difficult to see and get a high level view of what you were doing and what your problems were.”

Challenge #1: Supporting registration across multiple campuses in the same term

The challenges posed by using outdated technology started immediately with student registration. “With students taking courses on multiple campuses in the same term, that was something our old technology flat out couldn’t support,” says Fisher. “We had to find a workaround outside of our SIS for this.”

The required workaround involved building an in-house system that sat alongside Hult’s SIS and talked to separate instances of Salesforce that were used by their Finance and Visa teams. But the pain wasn’t only felt by administrators like Alec – it created unnecessary stress for students too.

“From a student experience perspective, they need to register for courses, they might be stressed out because they don’t want to be late and have a course fill up on them and all of sudden they need to login to a different system that takes a different set of credentials,” says Fisher. “Worst of all, that system isn’t really talking to anything on their academic record, it’s all information that’s going to be batched back after the fact, so it leads to a lot of unnecessary stress, confusion, and inaccurate data. There’s always going to be things that are inconsistent or just wrong when you do this.”

These problems required Hult to also use a manual process in order for students to add or drop courses. “Just this year we eliminated over 1500 add/drop forms that were processed manually by a staff member,” says Fisher.

We were using campus technology that was old, inaccessible, siloed - it was very difficult to see and get a high level view of what you were doing and what your problems were.

ALEC FISHERDirector Academic Operations, Hult International Business School

Challenge #2 – Accommodating changes to Hult’s grading model

Moving to Motivis Learning’s platform also helped Hult navigate the tricky process of making changes to their grading system, a process they’ve been through multiple times.

“Working with a system like Motivis, that’s built on Salesforce and has the reporting power that it does has been huge for us,” says Fisher. “We’ve been able to look across a lot of historic enrollment and academic plans for students to make sure we have everything cleaned up and accounted for. We can look across years and years of data and say ‘How often was a grade of “Needs Improvement” used across courses? In which courses?’ Things like that would have been impossible to do in old system.”

Challenge #3 – Manual, time consuming reporting based on outdated data

Perhaps the most common thread running through Hult’s experience with their previous technology was the need to manually export data to Excel in order for administrators to identify specific problems.

“If I was trying to provide an academic year report of what faculty taught, or how a group of students did, I would have to sew together 5-6 reports in Excel,” says Fisher. “The moment you pull the data out of the system, it’s outdated. We were running into issues of people updating the system after things had been done, just not really having a lot of flexibility or access to see what sort of issues we were having.”

Solution – The flexibility provided by Motivis Learning’s platform

With the challenges outlined above clearly identified, Alec knew that Hult need new, more flexible technology tools for Hult to continue to scale their unique educational model.

“We change very quickly – we had a system that was just flat out not adaptable. We were changing programs, opening campuses, and trying to keep all of these things current with a system that couldn’t handle any of those things,” says Fisher. “In our old system you could only really do things one way, but that’s not the way the world works. Moving to a system that’s fully adaptable like Motivis is exactly what we were looking for.”

With a goal of no longer tracking student information in bespoke systems, excel sheets, or someone’s head, Hult began the process of moving all of their data into a more flexible, accessible system – Motivis Learning’s Learning Relationship Management (LRM) platform.  

“We’re no longer beholden to a system that’s very rigid – we don’t do things how the system does, we now look at what’s the best way to do something process wise, knowing the system can accommodate things the way we want to do them,” says Fisher. “We won’t be stuck doing this the same way for 20 years – we can change how we do things next year now.”

We’re no longer beholden to a system that’s very rigid -we don’t do things how the system does, we now look at what’s the best way to do something process wise, knowing the system can accommodate things the way we want to do them.

ALEC FISHERDirector Academic Operations, Hult International Business School

Looking Ahead

Hult International Business School has now been using Motivis Learning’s platform for over a year, and the school is thrilled with the results – so much so that Fisher highlights a complete change in perspective amongst the administration.

“What Motivis has shown us across the board is how much manual work people were doing on the admin side,” says Fisher. “We want to give the administrators more time to have high level interactions with students that you need a person to do, and we’re trying to take away all of those other things that take time in terms of pulling or checking data.”

When asked what might be next for the Hult and Motivis relationship, Alec says, “What we’d ultimately like to do is have everything consolidated on one platform – Motivis’ Learning Relationship Management (LRM) platform. Currently we have an LMS (Canvas) that needs to talk to the SIS, which continues to lead to issues.”

Standardizing so that all staff and functions are using the same Salesforce instance is also an institutional goal. “Now we’re really talking about having the entire institution on one platform,” says Fisher. “From prospective students to current students to alumni from operations staff to academic staff, everyone’s interacting the same system of record which keeps all communication much more streamlined and accurate.”

Hult is currently working with the team at Motivis Learning to bring this vision to life. “The team at Motivis has been incredible to work with – collaborative, responsive, I just can’t say enough,” says Fisher. “If we run into a roadblock, it’s easily alleviated with creative solutions that we work on together. It’s been a really good experience.”