Pat O'Brien

Contact Pat O'Brien

Pat O'Brien

Pat has over 10 years of experience leading enrollment management strategies for colleges and universities, using market analysis, target marketing, enrollment forecasting and predictive modeling to help institutions find new markets, design recruitment campaigns, retain students and optimize financial aid models. He also spent more than two decades cultivating his marketing and business development expertise in leadership roles.

Our aim is to become an extension of our clients’ admissions team, providing meaningful insights through enhanced data attributes while creating highly customized strategies.

About Pat

Pat helps higher education institutions identify, engage and enroll best-fit students by finding new markets, providing enhanced consumer data and competitive peer analysis, and developing authentic student recruitment campaigns utilizing various marketing channels and strategies.

He helps colleges and universities set their tuition with confidence and optimize financial aid outcomes with tuition studies, enrollment forecasting and predictive modeling. Pat guides clients throughout the student journey — using market analysis to identify the right students; assessing and qualifying staff resources; developing a customized engagement reporting strategy; and mobilizing, analyzing and course-correcting throughout the funnel.

Under Pat’s leadership of enrollment management initiatives, his clients have seen:

  • A 90% increase in engaged senior applicants, or greater than 30 times the return on investment.
  • An 80% increase in junior and sophomore inquiries.
  • Five consecutive years of record application growth.
  • A record-breaking 30% increase in a private Midwest university’s applicant pool over the prior year.

Before Huron, Pat founded Whiteboard Higher Education, which was acquired by Huron in 2021. He served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer for SourceLink, a communications solutions business, and chief marketing officer and senior vice president of sales and marketing for Direct Group, a marketing solutions company. Pat held the role of vice president of business development for Atlantic Envelope Company.

Pat holds a bachelor’s degree from Mount St. Mary’s University and a Master of Business Administration from The Pennsylvania State University.

Areas of Expertise

  • Budgeting and Financial Management
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Engagement
  • Enterprise Strategy
  • Strategy and Innovation
  • Student Lifecycle Management


  • Education

Education & Certifications

  • MBA, The Pennsylvania State University
  • B.S., Mount St. Mary’s University

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