MBA Conference Pricing – An Analysis

I shared a little bit about one of my favorite classes at Sloan, Pricing, taught by Prof Catherine Tucker. I’ve also shared on how grateful I was to receive so much help on my pricing project. Hopefully I can follow up and share some interesting information on the results of that pricing project.

 

Background

In November 2010, the first ever MIT Asia Business Conference was held on the MIT Campus with the goal of highlighting trends and opportunities in Asia. The selection of the 2010 ticket prices was loosely based on individual observations of conferences such as the HBS Asia Conference and the Latin Business Conference.  As ticket sales directly impacted the amount of fund-raising required each year, maximizing the revenues for next year’s Asia Conference would help tremendously.

Hypothesis:

  1. Students would be more price elastic than professionals, and that MBAs in particular would be less price elastic than their other fellow students.
  2. Given their previous experience, past attendees would be less sensitive to price.
  3. Those with the most expected exposure to Asia in the next 5 years would be most interested in attending the conference and also be less price elastic to ticket prices for the conference.

Methodology:

(1) We gathered data from last year’s ticket sales as well as other MBA conferences – MIT Latin Business Conference, Africa Business Club, Sports Analytics, MIT VC Conference, MIT PE Symposium, and HBS Asia Conference.

(2) We sent out a monadic pricing survey to last year’s MIT Asia Conference attendees, waitlistees, and student and professional lists.

Results:

Based on our survey data, we were able to calculate the price elasticity for various segments:

Next, based on our historical pricing data we were able to determine some trends on MBA conference pricing:

Conclusions:

  • Contrary to hypothesis, MBAs are the most price sensitive when considering everyone
  • Oddly, differences in Asia expected exposure are minor related to the Asia Business Conference
  • Previous attendance matters
  • Industry conferences have lower elasticities than regional conferences
  • MBA Conference Pricing in general is TOO low
  • Maybe useful to consider a change from a pure “regional” conference to instead focus on a region AND industry.

 

Again, hopefully this is useful to someone in the future. In case, the presentation for this project is below in SlideShare.

 

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