...thoughts on marketing technology

Harvey Mudd writes good copy!

by Lisa Schaertl

We've been getting a ton of college brochures this year, with breathless and important-sounding cover letters. What a refreshing change to get this one. It really stood out from the rest by doing what good copy should do - using empathy, recognizing reality, going really light on the BS, and getting the point across. We liked the humor, too.

So... when's the last time you sent a marketing cover letter that your recipient actually enjoyed reading? Might be worth some thought, whatever you're selling.

(And no, we did not choose Harvey Mudd - but we did take a second look!)

Here's the letter:

Dear Joe:

OK, here's the deal. First, you receive about 40 kazillion college brochures, letters, pamphlets and sample homework assignments which profess the demanding*, rigorous*, difficult*, intensive* and highly charged* curriculum you seek. You take time to notice everyone in these publications is smiling, the sun is shining, birds are singing and you can almost hear a student practicing her cello in the background. (This definitely is not finals week...) You sort through the 40kz ** brochures, choose fifteen or so to investigate further, and then narrow that group down even more to the colleges to which you'll eventually apply.

The system, however, begins to break down during the first stage. Let's face it. There is no way you can thoroughly evaluate all 40kz. Because of time constraints or because a college has, say, a funny name for example, a good college might escape your notice. This letter is designed to make sure Mudd doesn't slip through the cracks, (it kinda oozes...get it?). Maybe you'll respond to this letter or via the Internet or some other vehicle. But no matter how you respond, we entreat*** you to explore Harvey Mudd College further.

If you do investigate us further, you'll find out about our departments in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics and physics. You'll also realize that you won't have to give up humanities, social sciences, or arts at HMC. What's more, you'll appreciate the variety of opportunities available to our students due to our membership in the Claremont Colleges. But we especially want you to know what some of our students do before they graduate. So, here are some examples of what Mudders (yes, that's what we're called) do over the summer months.

  • Carrie ('07) and Jacob ('06) are developing a magnetometer to study the dynamics of magnetic heterostrucures with subpicosecond time resolution.
  • Katie ('06) and Jana ('06) are researching the role of gender and culture in computer game development.
  • Jason ('07) and Cal ('05) are researching pattern formation in spatiotemporal models in mathematical ecology and biology.
  • Tyler ('06) is doing research finding minimal triangulations of simplotopes in very high dimensions.
  • Sarah ('05) is unraveling the mechanism by which repair enzymes are targeted to damaged DNA.
  • Libby ('06) is using polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing to understand the population genetics of soft corals from the eastern coast of Africa.

...and those are just some of the technical ones!

One thing's for sure: a good chunk of our students don't have to go back to working at King McDomino's Sub-in-the-Box Grocery Video Mall Department Store Outlet Camp after being at HMC! And the opportunities for work or research are even better after you graduate. If you're interested in knowing more about HMC, go ahead and complete the enclosed card, let us know via the Internet ( or just give us a call!

In the meantime, Happy College Hunting!

The HMC Admission Staff

* We borrowed these adjectives from other college brochures.
** 40K = 40 thousand-some things , while 40kz = 40 kazillion whatevers.
*** An SAT word



Lisa Schaertl is president of Tech Savvy Marketing, specializing in marketing and PR for high tech companies.




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