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Freeman Magazine - Spring 2008


The power of positive blogging

Not long after he started the MBA program last year, Joel Yarmon realized the Freeman School — and New Orleans — had an image problem.

“My friends would say, ‘What’s it like down there? Is it still under water?’” Yarmon recalls. “Most people had a very different image in their mind’s eye of what it was like here, so I wanted to show them the real picture.”

Combining a love of technology with his desire to promote Tulane, Yarmon created, a blog dedicated to MBA life at the Freeman School. About three times a week, Yarmon updates the site with pictures, videos, news stories, links and a running commentary on pursuing an MBA in general and pursuing an MBA at the Freeman School in particular.

“I try to keep an open mind when I’m going through school and life,” Yarmon says. “If something strikes me that I think would be important for people outside of New Orleans to know about, I make it a blog posting.”

In a typical week Yarmon might post the text of President Cowen’s Tulane Talk e-mail message, a podcast interview with finance professor Bill Reese, a video showing off the Freeman School’s Trading Room, a list of questions MBAs frequently get during job interviews and his thoughts on Fox’s New Orleans police drama K-Ville. When a rare tornado touched down in New Orleans last February, Yarmon posted photos of Tulane’s campus the next day to show viewers it was untouched.

“Everything moves so quickly today,” Yarmon says. “That’s why blogs are so important. I can put up information that nobody else vets. It doesn’t have to be politically correct. It doesn’t have to portray anybody in their best light. The important thing is that it’s real.”

Since launching the site in October 2006, Yarmon has posted more than 170 entries, and the site is averaging about 4,000 unique visitors per month, many of them prospective MBA students who increasingly are seeking out the independent and unbiased perspectives found on blogs.

“Prospective students are very skeptical of the mainstream media and promotion in general,” says Bill Sandefer, director of graduate admissions at the Freeman School. “The blog has been a great resource. Prospective students get a lot of information from the admissions office, but I hope they use our current students to validate what we are telling them.”

While the blog has thus far been a labor of love on Yarmon’s part, he hopes to involve other students so that after he graduates the site can continue to provide visitors with an insider’s perspective on Freeman and New Orleans.

“No matter what, it will remain student driven because I think that’s really what people appreciate about it,” Yarmon says. “Business school is a big commitment. I’m just trying to give prospective students another way to do diligence on the decision to go to business school and, more importantly, the decision to attend the Freeman School.”

Last Updated 11/19/08

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