CAMBRIDGE, UK—Cambridge University's Judge Business School has called in APCO to support a digital drive to attract overseas students.

The assignment, which involves a specific focus on emerging markets, comes amid tough competition for international students, from rival business schools in the UK, US and Europe. Most recently, Judge ranked 16th in the FT's global MBA ranking for 2013.

Accordingly, APCO has been engaged to help devise a social engagement strategy that connects prospective students to alumni and each other, in a bid to help Judge recruit a broader base of applicants.

The first phase of the effort saw a group of current MBA students create a group blog focused on business issues in two emerging markets – Indonesia and South Africa. APCO has been brought in to expand this campaign and help the MBA programme reach students in China, via a Sina Weibo community.

"A lot of British universities have been losing out in emerging markets to the Ivy League universities," APCO UK managing director James Acheson-Gray told the Holmes Report. "By reaching them through social media, this campaign will make students more familiar with Judge and the Cambridge brand."

The assignment is being led by APCO's StudioOnline unit in London.