Pitching, the 6th P

First Blogged for MidKent College Feb 2013

In which Steven gets into an imaginary Q&A, invokes Glee, quotes the DoE  and tries to slip a sweary Clip past the Editor.

How often do you practice pitching?

Why you might ask back, do you need to practice pitching?

Our glorious leader Google defines a pitch in business as: to plan or design something in a way that will attract a particular group of people:

Education it would seem is a business, despite how much of a cold sweat that thought might bring you out in. And a large part of the dialogue is regarding our customers or clients, previously known as students.

Working in the knowledge delivery sector I need to ensure several factors;

–          That I am providing a course that interests future students

–          That the course is felt suitable by parent/ carers for a year of the students life

–          That the student is interested enough to enrol

–          That they are interested enough to attend induction

–          That they attend classes

–          That they submit assessments

–          That they complete the course

That requires what is referred to as the 5 Ps; Planning, Preparation, Personalisation, Professionalism and Proving It.

It also requires Pitching.

I require a certain number of students to ensure that my course runs, this guarantees work for my colleagues, resources for the students and that the curriculum continues to be delivered. This is even truer with new Study Programmes.

‘Study Programmes will extend the benefits of challenging and substantial vocational qualifications enjoyed by many students taking academic programmes to those studying more vocational subjects. The Government’s new principles for Study Programmes are central to the reform of 16-19 education.’


As well as a main qualification, the study programme must ensure Community Cohesion and Work Experience. Because students aren’t our only customers, there is also the community and local business needs.

Also as with other business I must ensure that I’m providing a product which beats my competitor; this includes other Level 1 and Level 2 courses at MKC, educational provision at other Colleges, Schools and Academies, plus apprenticeships and work. Unusually I also set entry requirements, to ensure that students are right for my products also. Assuming that I’ve done my job right and the customer has researched correctly, half the selling has already been done before we even met.

The interview process is an unusual business response; you can’t imagine Sainsbury’s asking you to prove your interest Lasagne, before you buy the ingredients for tonight’s dinner. Once there you engage in a mix of mutual appreciation and challenge. At the same time as I am assuring the student that my course is right for them, they are assuring me that they are right for my course. Simultaneously I am testing that they really want to do the course and they are checking that the course is really what they want to do.

If it all works out, then we have ‘conversion’ and the student enrols on the course. If it really works out then we have ‘retention; and the student completes the course. That’s your livelihood, your collegaues livelihood, the colleges reputation and the students future, potentially dependent on a series of one to one conversations you have.

How often do you practice pitching?

Be Seeing You.

Warning Clip contains a Great scene from a great film.

It features a great script superb acting.

also contains swearing


One thought on “Pitching, the 6th P

  1. Similar experience on my L3 course, Steven – the student being on the right course is as important for them (ethically) as it is for us as an institution (protecting our retention = funding). Often feels during interviews that I’m selling the college, rather than the student selling themselves…

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