+1 (978) 744-8828 Email Us  

Recruiting Intelligence

Ben Waxman

Ben Waxman

Key Takeaways from 3 Student Recruitment Meet Ups

…It goes further than identifying opportunities. You also need to manage them. Perhaps a renewed focus on the mechanics will move the needle more effectively?...

Our full-day workshop at San Diego State University was a truly packed day. After initial conversations about the current student recruitment landscape and the data that informs smart enrollment decisions, we broke into 3 discussion groups talking about recruiting agent management, global digital marketing, and global partners.

Attendees were free to flow from one conversation to the other as our all-star faculty held forth using the Intead Global Marketing Workbook as a guide (available through our Intead Plus subscription). It was fascinating to watch the flow of inquiries and learning throughout the day as attendees tapped the expertise they needed to formulate their global marketing plans.

And we noted the praise for the faculty perspectives gathered. Based on the feedback, participants appreciated the highly productive series of deep conversations with the opportunity for detailed answers to specific marketing/recruitment questions.

We spoke to even more colleagues at the AIRC and ICEF conferences who expressed regret that they were unable to attend our workshop due to timing and work conflicts. If you share that perspective, please let us know. We are evaluating when we might hold this event again, on the East Coast or in other locations. Send us a note. Perhaps we can make this workshop accessible to you.

In the meantime, read on for quick notable ideas from our whirlwind trip westward for AIRC, ICEF, and our workshop in between. You’ll be glad you did.

Read More

NAFSA Region XI: Slides Available + Useful Takeaways

Here’s a quick tease: has someone with a brilliant marketing mind approached you about using influencer marketing to promote your institution? Let us be perfectly clear: it’s a mistake for academic institutions to do this to their brand.

However, there are ways to steal the critical thunder from this growing advertising trend and make it work for academia. Intead conducted a pilot with Northeastern University and the results are here for you to chew on. Great food for thought.


We’re sharing the slides below, but honestly, slides only go so far. It’s the discussion. So yes, grab the download, but if you really want to learn from us and improve your student recruitment game, dive into our San Diego Workshop coming up in December.

Seats are disappearing quickly and we are limiting participation to ensure everyone has access to our amazing workshop faculty. Questions will be answered. Intense discussions will be had, with insight and data. If you’ve not taken a look at the program and the faculty, learn more here…seriously, take a minute and check this out. Opportunities to learn from these experts don’t come around often.


Today we shout out to our colleagues old and new at the recent 2022 NAFSA Region XI. This kind of regional connection and cross-colleague learning is invaluable. A common theme to our 3 presentations and our poster session this time around was how our information can help you explain the value of your work to the powers that be at your institution. What we can add to your justification for budget and other resources to achieve institutional goals.

Below you will find our 2022 NAFSA Region XI session slides showing off the expertise of our presentation partners, thought leaders all:

  • Kirsten Feddersen, Assistant Vice Chancellor of International Enrollment Management, Northeastern University
  • Kathleen Simenson, Director of Admissions, University of New Hampshire
  • Zongxiang Mei, International Education Coordinator, Central Connecticut State University
  • Sarah Lopolito, Assistant Dean for International Programs, Director of the International Center, Clark University
  • Iliana Joaquin, Digital Marketing Manager, Intead

Read on to build your case for how your institution can succeed in a competitive market.

Read More

Spontaneous Learning

I need this couch moved to our second floor sitting area. Clearly this is going to take both of us working in tandem.

“You want to go up first?” You ask.

“Sure,” I say.

I reach for the bottom and the side. You find your handholds as well. We lift in unison.

I need to adjust my grip as I navigate the first stair. You feel the couch shift and adjust accordingly. We make eye contact over the bulky thing and nod to each other. We are innovating as we climb and adapt to the shift in weight and the angle of the couch with each step.

Innovating together in real time. Communicating with words and body language. Collaborating on our way to achieving our goal.

I have to give credit to my friend and colleague Dr. Michael Mascolo, Professor of Psychology at Merrimack College for this metaphor I’m employing. During a recent conversation with Mike, I was making observations about the debate over remote vs. in-office collaboration. We’ve all seen it: the loss of innovation and spontaneous learning when the whole team is working remotely.

As much as we want to leave the commute behind, put a quick load of laundry in after the 9:30am Zoom call is done, even bake a banana bread mid-day, because, why not? Look, I’ve been running virtual teams since 1993 (mmm hmmm, that’s when I started consulting, dinosaur that I am). The power and efficiency of remote work is undeniable.

And yet, and yet…also undeniable is the loss of opportunity for us to learn from each other (even at my dinosauric age, I am learning from the team here). What we all need is much, much more face-to-face interaction – from the fresh graduates entering the workforce to those with decades of experience. We grow and learn together in different ways. We innovate in real time.

Over the past few years, we’ve been growing significantly here at Intead. More universities, high schools, rising edtechs, and established academic providers have been tapping our expertise. So, we’ve been hiring more talent. The talent market has shifted and there are a lot of folks looking for greener pastures right now.

Read on for a bit of perspective that I am surprised far too few current job applicants seem to grasp...

Read More

#NAFSA2022 Takeaways: Intead’s NAFSA 2022 Slides Now Available

The most common topics of conversation throughout #NAFSA2022:

  • So much is in flux right now globally and central to it all: China is not what it used to be. When will China come back?
  • The proliferation of tech tools for student recruitment is overwhelming. They all promise great things and we’ve seen these promises before. Which ones should I evaluate? Will they actually work? How do I know?
  • Boosting yield on applications is a struggle, especially with my team’s limitations on time, experience, and skills. We are understaffed to make this stuff work.
  • I need to find ways to make JEDI efforts more impactful in my recruiting programs and on my campus. 

These issues are being discussed in forums far beyond the NAFSA conference. How we tackle these topics will affect immediate and long-term recruitment priorities for all of us doing this work.

Intead’s NAFSA presentations addressed much of this. A BIG thank you to our amazing collaborators and colleagues from Benedict College, San Diego State University, Clark University, Northeastern University, CIEE, ICEF, and GNET.

Whether or not you were able to attend our live sessions, we’re making our presentations available to you. We think you’ll find them valuable resources as you move into the 2023-24 recruitment cycle. And where the slides don’t give you all the context you need, reach out with your questions.

In the meantime, read on to download our decks.

Read More

The Lament That Goes Nowhere: A New Perspective

As I sat out most of the #NAFSA2022 conference in my Denver hotel room due to a positive covid test the day after I arrived, I worked the phone, email, and social media to keep as many balls in the air as possible. From my 34th floor room across the street from the real action, I provided helpful reports on Downtown Denver traffic patterns ; -)

If you missed our Big 10 Digital Campaign Case Study download, you'll want to grab that here. We ran out of the handouts at NAFSA but PDFs are forever!

During NAFSA, what I missed most, what I regret, is simply those moments when the Intead team is presenting and the NAFSA crowd is clearly taking in new ideas and sharing their excitement about how digital marketing, new tools, and deep insights into target audience decision-making (the stuff of real marketing: voice of the customer) all come together to create successful recruiting initiatives.

Despite what I did NOT get out of the conference, the Intead team (Patricia Tozzi + Iliana Joaquin on-site, and Rachel Trahan behind the scenes) took all matters into their own hands bringing their usual level of amazing. Meanwhile, I sat in my hotel room patching into all the important chats by phone and trying to avoid feeling pathetic.

There is a theme that has been running across international student conferences for many years, and #NAFSA2022 was no exception. It is a lament one often hears from department leads – in most institutions and across all industries. It is the cry of the under-resourced. The “If they only knew how important our work is" dirge.

These department chairs and administrative leaders are frustrated by colleagues and bosses up the chain who somehow do not recognize the value represented by the real work being done and the outcomes produced.

  • “How do they think they will get the growth outcomes they want if they don’t support us?”
  • “Why are they not seeing or valuing our success? Our potential? How hard we work?”
  • “Why do the resources always go to those guys?” (read: domestic marketing)

So, we get it. Your department needs more funding. For marketing collateral, for digital media buys, for tech tools and analytics. For more hands to simply do the work.

But, let’s turn the questions around. Read on for new perspectives on these longtime frustrations…

Read More

AIEA 2022 Takeaways: Where do we go from here?

As I wrote from the MSY airport lounge, #AIEA2022 had just wrapped. At that time, in the previous 24 hours, Russia had launched a military attack on Ukraine, some of our colleagues tested positive for Covid at the AIEA conference, and Boston (my destination) was expecting a foot of snow the next day. Oh, and my Boston flight was unceremoniously canceled with no flights available to get me to Boston for another 3 days. Life as we know it continues with turbulent distress, ambiguity, and elements of normalcy.

With these realities in mind, I offer focused reflections on the ideas that struck me most during the conference and a few ideas on how they might add value to your work. As always, we don’t want to get all esoteric here. It’s about actionable steps for internationalization and diverse student experiences that take us all forward, together, with vision.

Enrollment management is complex. The tools available to help us can be confusing. Read to the end of this post for some very tangible advice from 4 international students who spoke at the conference.

More learning ahead

We hope you will be joining us at NAFSA 2022 in Denver this Spring. We will be sharing 3 forward-thinking presentations and a poster session. We are honored to co-present with colleagues from Benedict College, San Diego State University, Clark University, Northeastern University, CIEE, ICEF, and GNET. More details on those in future posts.

More immediately, read on for reflections and action items from AIEA 2022...

Read More

The Long and Winding Road Tracing the Student Journey: Part 2

Last week we began tracing the evolving international student journey, with a look at what might help or hinder your relationship with prospects along the way. In short, it’s all about engaging content and great follow-up. But that’s just part of the story.

When marketing to students, we often focus on the information we want to give them, but it’s equally important to consider what information a prospect needs to give you and what steps you need that prospect to take. So let’s explore a few ways to entice students to click that CTA and follow your channels, register for an event, download that guide… You get the idea.

Read on for our next installment reviewing the student journey elements that are so important to the phase we are in right now as application deadlines approach.

Read More

The Long and Winding Road Tracing the Student Journey: Part 1

As we settle into 2022, we can't help but think about journeys – those we've been on and the ones we're embarking on now. Two important processes are staring us in the face right now. One for our prospective students and one for us. In reality, both are for us:

  • Application season
  • Budget planning

As enrollment management professionals, we know the elements of the student journey – from evaluation of the options, to defining the shortlist, applying, and then making the final selection – and all the small stops along the way that influence the student’s ultimate enrollment decision.

When we talk about the student journey, we think about everything we can do from a marketing and communications point of view to put the right information in front of prospective students at just the right time. What is our team doing well? What tools do we have in place? What are we missing? Our answers to these questions speak to both the application season and budget planning process.

If you’ve not yet downloaded our framework for budget planning (1-page chart), you’ll find some helpful insight there. Simple, straightforward steps to clarify your rationale for funding one recruitment project over another.

If you are attending the 2022 AIEA conference in New Orleans (Feb 20-23), be in touch and we’ll find time for a coffee and an exchange of ideas.

Read on for a helpful review of what the student journey is all about given the new twists and turns that the past two years have forced upon all of us.

Read More

Reverse Enrollment Declines: Use Marketing Tech Better

So many dashboards. So little time.

Where is success hiding? How much investment will it take to achieve our targets?

With student mobility still in a state of flux, all bets are off for your predictive models. Or are they?

Today, we are talking to those with a CRM and marketing automation tools already in place.

Is this you? Your system works well enough and you can see some obvious gaps in functionality and interconnectedness. But you have what you have and there is no immediate opportunity to upgrade or change what you have. So…it is all about using the tools you have, better.

How do we get there? How do we know which features have real value to our operations? How can we use what we know to achieve better results?

We are heading into four wonderful days of interacting with our peers at the AIRC conference in Miami this week. The Intead team will be presenting on innovative ways to use the rising tide of influencer marketing for academia (it’s not going to be what you might think), and we will be presenting on innovative approaches to grad student marketing.

We can’t give enough thanks to our colleagues Toni Jaeger-Fine from Fordham Law School, Ita Duron from Massachusetts College of Health Sciences, and Kirsten Feddersen from Northeastern University all joining us on the dais to share our experiences and ideas. SO many ideas. Testing and confirming marketing approaches that are unique to each institution’s strengths.

Reach out if you would like to share a cup of coffee in Miami!

Read on for our two concrete recommendations for using your marketing tech better.

Read More

Small Talk, So Underrated

You are welcome here.

DEI efforts to address inclusion.

These are big concepts that deserve big discussions on campuses everywhere. Discussions with senior leaders setting policies and developing programs to make everyone on campus feel involved and connected.

And to make all that happen, that feeling of being welcome and included, will rely on some of the small things that often are met with eye rolls. Yet, these small things are really important to this whole inclusion effort.

You know that inside joke and the trendy celebrity stuff you are not on top of? The conversation that just kind of left you like roadkill as it blew right by? Maybe silly. Perhaps kind of uncomfortable. Happens to all of us. And it happens to your new students frequently. Domestic, yes. International, all the time.

If you think small talk is meaningless, think again.

In our work for a large, highly ranked Midwestern institution, we were talking with Pham (not his real name). He traveled from Vietnam for his US studies. A natural networker, smart, interested in business, he chose to major in Business Management Information Systems and Finance. With that degree, it is no wonder he was snapped up by Deloitte where he currently works as a Senior Consultant in Tax Management.

To hear Pham tell it, connecting to the US community with small talk was critical to his success. He came to understand this during his studies as he tried to connect with the other international students and with his American peers. He found he was struggling to make friends.

Read on for Pham's perspective and our tips for getting these really important conversations started. It is all about personal and student success. 

Read More
Content not found