Global Student Recruiting vs. Government Policies

Posted by Ben Waxman & Jennifer Thayer

Oct 26, 2016 5:30:00 AM

Moving is such a drag! We’ve all been there. Packing up all our belongings. Having to make hundreds of rapid fire decisions. Should I bring this? Do I need that?

Intead has recently moved our offices (we are still in the Boston area; just 2 blocks from our old location). Our experience has been exciting and exhausting.

Still, our experience moving is insignificant compared to what your international students do to move half way around the world to reach your campus. With moving, it is the sheer number of big and small decisions that require and consume such energy.

We need to do all we can to make those decisions as easy as possible for our students. We need to control all those things we can control to make our international students confident and comfortable.

And yet, there are plenty of things that are well beyond our control. Today’s blog post addresses government policies and how we, as international student recruiters, must adjust how we do things as those unwieldy governments make our jobs difficult from year to year. We have some specific examples about policy changes in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, UK, Canada, and the US that are instructive for all of us.

Bottom Line: As government policies come and go, we need reliable international student recruitment systems in place to stay on track and adapt to the student mobility motivations and trends. The best and most creative among us use social media marketing to address the topics of the day in our marketing messaging. We adjust our marketing to meet the specific concerns and aspirations our prospective international students are experiencing. Want to know how your team can take advantage of the political turbulence to help your prospective students make good decisions? Read on...

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Topics: international student recruiting, Visa Policies, Government Policies

WhatsApp and Facebook Rule When Connecting with Kuwait

Posted by Ben Waxman & Emily R. Henry

Oct 19, 2016 5:30:00 AM

Can you imagine a country where the number of expatriates outnumbers the total number of nationals?

In Kuwait around 69% of the population is made up of expats and English-speaking schools are widespread. There are many opportunities for recruiting here; both international students and Kuwaiti nationals. And with the 6th largest oil reserves in the world, Kuwait is also among the top 5 wealthiest countries in the world by GDP per capita–meaning families have the funds to finance an education abroad.

Bottom Line: Kuwait is a small, oil-rich country with a diverse and interesting population. International education is a norm for the many wealthy families. Students and families in Kuwait are accustomed to international education systems and have financial support.

To account for the expanding expat population, the number of English-speaking schools is impressive. ExpatArrivals lists 11 international schools in this small country, and they are a great place to focus your recruiting efforts (see link below). There is also considerable governmental support for Kuwait nationals to study outside the country. Against this backdrop 9,034 students studied in the United States in the 2014/2015 school year, according to IIE Open Doors Data. In terms of digital marketing channels, WhatsApp and Facebook are where it is at in Kuwait.

Meet Us in Newport & Miami: We are at NAFSA Region XI in Newport, RI today! Our presentation at 1:30PM in the Vanderbilt Room is all about de-mystifying global digital marketing–stop by and say hello! (Slides available next week). We'll also be in Miami this December at the AIRC and ICEF conferences with global digital marketing presentations and workshops. Please be in touch if you'll be at any of these events.

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Topics: Social Media, WhatsApp, international student recruiting, Kuwait, Facebook

Iranian Students Seek Graduate Study Opportunities in U.S.

Posted by Ben Waxman & Emily R. Henry

Oct 12, 2016 5:30:00 AM

A lot of big news has come out of Iran this past year. With the finalization of a nuclear weapons agreement, U.S. and European sanctions have been lifted in Iran and political relations are improving, meaning there is more opportunity for recruiting international students from Iran. The numbers are looking promising for U.S. institutions.

Bottom Line: Iran’s number of university students is growing. But the number of slots available in Iranian universities is extremely limited. Resourceful Iranian students are looking beyond their borders in growing numbers. Iranian institutions want to ensure their smartest students devote their talents to Iranian ventures at home rather than abroad. There is a move to foster university partnerships where students receive only part of their education abroad. European institutions have been quick to jump on this trend and you might want to consider doing the same. But, if you are going to break into this market, you’ll want to focus on graduate level STEM programs and you’ll want to get to know the culture before you devote your resources.

Meet Us In Newport & Miami: Heading to the NAFSA Region XI conference in Newport, RI next week?  We’ll be presenting our latest recruiting insights. We'll also be in Miami this December at the AIRC and ICEF conferences with digital marketing presentations and workshops. We’d love to meet you and discuss the challenges you face in your work. Please be in touch if you'll be at any of these events--we'd love to meet you!

Read on for more perspective and some interesting stats about international student recruiting in Iran…

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Topics: International Student Recruitment, social media marketing, Iran

Do You Chat with WeChat? International Student Recruiting in China

Posted by Ben Waxman & Emily R. Henry

Oct 5, 2016 5:30:00 AM

This year marked the 5th birthday of WeChat. Trust us, they had a lot to celebrate!

In April of 2015, it was reported that WeChat’s monthly users were second only to WhatsApp and far ahead of similar apps like Viber, Line or SnapChat. We should also mention (in case you don’t already know) that WeChat is almost exclusively used in China. Social media marketing staff take note!

If you look only to the usage rates of their Chinese users, WeChat beats other messaging apps by a wide margin. In 2015, WeChat was ahead of competitors by 25%. And most of their users? The young audiences, the prospective students, we are all trying to reach! If you haven’t been on WeChat in the past, it is no longer something you can ignore.

Just in case you haven’t heard of it (because you’ve been living in Antarctica or something), and you’ll want to hear about it if you want to recruit in China, WeChat is a messaging app. Back in 2014, we featured a two-part blog series on WeChat (Part 1 and Part 2). We hope you are using those resources. In June, eMarketer released a report on WeChat’s Chinese user base and how these users engage with the app. So, today we have more. 

Bottom Line: Get on WeChat. Chinese users make up nearly 93% (~700 million) of all WeChat users and its popularity surpasses any other similar Chinese messaging app. The app is becoming more and more integrated into daily life as WeChaters link their bank accounts to use the app for online shopping. Marketing on WeChat only promises to get more effective as time goes on. Pro tip: the stats in this post may help you justify increasing your international student recruiting budget if China is a primary target recruiting source for your institution. 

Meet Us In Newport & Miami: Heading to the NAFSA Region XI conference in Newport, RI (Oct. 18-20)?  We’ll be presenting our latest recruiting insights. And in December we will be in Miami at the AIRC and ICEF conferences with digital marketing presentations and workshops. We’d love to meet you and discuss the challenges you face in your work. Please be in touch if you'll be at any of these events.

Back to WeChat; read on...

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Topics: Digital Marketing, WeChat, China, social media marketing, international student recruiting

6 Ways to Use Your International Faculty to Help You Recruit

Posted by Ben Waxman & Emily R. Henry

Sep 28, 2016 5:30:00 AM

There are tons of articles across the web about using faculty to help meet recruitment goals. One of the key points that many of these articles make is that it’s essential to choose the right faculty.

An article published by The Chronicle of Higher Education explains that it’s best for institutions to choose faculty members that are more “professionally qualified” than “academically qualified” to represent their brand publicly, and to find people who are award winning or even well-known. In the world of international student recruitment, these can be great tips, but what can be even more successful is faculty who have a connection to the region where you want to recruit. Bonus points if they are actually from the region you are targeting.

Bottom Line: It is a great idea to reach out to some of your international and traveling faculty to talk about recruiting. They are an invaluable resource that you should be taking full advantage of if they are game and have a knack for this. This blog post focuses on how to pick your team and how to train them. We're betting someone on your staff can use this post and help you make progress. 

Meet Us In Newport & Miami: Heading to the NAFSA Region XI conference in Newport, RI (Oct. 18-20)?  We’ll be presenting our latest recruiting insights. And in December we will be in Miami at the AIRC and ICEF conferences with digital marketing presentations and workshops. We’d love to meet you and discuss the challenges you face in your work. We can help. And we are REALLY good at buying coffee for our friends. 

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Topics: International Student Recruitment, Faculty support for recruiting

5 Ways Your Current International Students Can Help You Recruit

Posted by Ben Waxman & Emily R. Henry

Sep 21, 2016 5:30:00 AM

Did you know that, even in the digital age, the most effective marketing strategies for universities involve direct interaction with prospective students? In 2014, Hanover Research released results of a survey that showed just that. This is big news! Why? Because even with all the online and print promotion that you are doing, one-on-one connections still drive recruitment! And not only that, they really work.

Now you’re probably thinking--that one-on-one contact is really a lot of work and hard to scale! We get that. Reaching out to students one by one can take a lot of time and effort. But remember all of those international students you worked so hard to recruit and admit to your school? Hanover Research suggests “mobilizing alumni networks and current students to become your brand ambassadors.” This is just one approach to maximizing your student recruitment opportunities.

Bottom Line

You have a wealth of knowledge about and great connections with your target populations right at your fingertips. Are you wondering how you can start utilizing your resources? We’re going to introduce you to 5 ways you can use your new institutional ambassadors to spread the word about your institution, get their network talking and keep prospective international students engaged. We're certain there is someone on your staff who would value this post, so share away!

Special note: Intead is once again honored to present our latest insights at the NAFSA Region XI Conference (Newport, RI, October 18-20). Our session, A Mystery No More: Successfully Engaging Students in China and Beyond, will reveal the results of our international student mystery shopping experiments of your peer institutions. Best practices, with a focus on digital marketing, will be explained for prospective international students from initial contact through enrollment. We'll place special emphasis on social media factors that affect student recruitment in China. We would love to meet you and see if our experience can help you address the challenges you’re currently facing. 

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Topics: Social Media, Digital Marketing, international student recruiting

Promote Your University’s Micro-Strengths!

Posted by Ben Waxman & Emily R. Henry

Sep 14, 2016 5:30:00 AM

In international student recruiting, reputation means a lot. Reputation often influences where students across the globe want to apply and study. But there are reputations, and then there are reputations.

Are you making the most of your academic micro-strengths?

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Top Universities just released its annualQS World University Rankings by Subject and you should really be paying attention because students read them and use them. These rankings carry weight. QS even mentions in this particular ranking that the list is developed each year because of “high demand for subject-level comparisons.” (And the search tool they have online is really kind of fun to play with ... #datanerds ;-)

This is an opportunity for your institution to shine in the eyes of these prospective students--especially if your institution has a lower overall rank, but really strong academic programs in particular areas of study. These program or subject level rankings are your micro-strengths! And QS helps you promote them.

Bottom Line: Students don’t just look at the reputation of the university as a whole; they are also looking into the reputation of the specific programs they are interested in. Your opportunity: market your strongest programs. While QS university rankings may have their flaws, they are widely used by international students. Examining the criteria of these rankings can help determine what kind of data your prospective international students will find attractive. [read on...]

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Topics: Rankings, Research data, international student recruiting

International Student Recruiting in a Turbulent World

Posted by Ben Waxman & Jennifer Thayer

Sep 7, 2016 5:30:00 AM

What a summer it has been! No one could have imagined the dramatic and troubling international events that are now having an impact on our international student recruiting plans.

  • Turkey: A coup attempt and university closings
  • UK: Brexit (need we say more?)
  • Vietnam: Regulatory changes to how agencies operate
  • Canada & US: Regulatory changes to conditional admissions requirements
  • Brazil: Significant currency fluctuations

And that's not all! Our point: International students' motivations and plans to study in one location or another are certainly changing. Domestically, fewer US students will be choosing the for profit college option (ITT we're looking at you).

Bottom line: We have a whole host of international student recruiting trends to write about this fall and beyond.  

Our goal now, and always, is to keep you informed and competitive as you make some tough decisions about where the most valuable student recruiting sources are. You have a limited recruitment budget, let's help you spend it wisely. [read on...]

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Topics: Student Recruitment, international recruiting, global digital marketing