James Polulach is a relationship manager for Kaplan, the well-know test prep company that has “helped millions of students achieve their educational and career goals.” James has become a good friend and partner of the Communications Club, helping to sponsor events and provide us with test-prep course giveaways. We sat down with James to discuss how he’s built relationships with students and clubs across NYU and how Kaplan has created unique and custom sponsorship programs at universities. The interview has been edited and condensed.
How did you gain the position of relationship manager at Kaplan?
I play football (the Australian kind) and one of the people I played with worked for Kaplan. He recommended me for a position in Brooklyn that I didn’t end up getting. Then the position to work with universities in Manhattan came up and I got it. I’ve been with Kaplan for about 2.5-3 years.
What schools do you work with?
NYU, Columbia and Yeshiva
What different kinds of student clubs at NYU have you worked with?
All different kinds. Pre-professional, cultural, ethnic. I’ve found great ways to work with all different kinds of clubs.
Which clubs have you built the best relationships with (besides Comm Club of course)?
I’ve worked very closely with AMSA (The American Medical Student Association) and Beta Alpha Psi (the business fraternity). Those organizations naturally have many students who are interested in graduate school and test preparation. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with clubs like Psychology and Applied Psychology (another Steinhardt club).
What’s the ROI (return on investment) that you see from your partnerships with student organizations?
Helping host events is a great way to tap into our market and also help each club get their point-of-view across and showcase their club. Kaplan created the industry so I’m not necessarily worried about direct ROI but continuing to invest in our brand by helping other clubs.
What are the best forms of communication that worked with reaching out to clubs?
Email campaigns are definitely the best. Making sure that people are sending out emails, reaching out via Facebook, and updating their members about upcoming events is really important.
What events does Kaplan have coming up?
We will start running more events again in the spring, when it’s not cold out. There will be large practice tests for clubs and we will be working with Wasserman for some events. There will be a big pre-law event in April.
What’s going in Kaplan’s corporate world?
On a corporate level we’ve acquired other test companies that have similar preparation styles and that work well with the Kaplan brand. We’re always making sure Kaplan’s messages are being communicated effectively and that we continue to run events and build relationships with students.
You can follow Kaplan on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/KTPA_Careers
Edited by Sara Saldi