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Recruiting Intelligence

Ben Waxman

Higher Education is Changing. Are You Keeping Up?

Today on the Recruiting Intelligence blog, we’re excited to broaden the enrollment conversation.

You may have read our guest post a few weeks ago from Dr. David Di Maria about the commonalities between international and non-traditional students.

Most Wednesdays, we cover topics related to international student recruitment. As our readers know, effective international student outreach requires an understanding of two fundamental concepts:

  • The first idea is cheesy, but true: no matter where we’re from, we’re all people with common core desires, fears, and drives. The desire for a safe and enriching environment, fear of isolation or failure, and the drive to succeed in our chosen field are pretty universal.
  • The second concept is the hard part: While we all share the same broad needs, our background does shape the best ways to capture our attention, meet our desires, assuage our anxieties, and encourage our dreams.

Understanding that duality is the key to effectively reaching international students and prompting them to take action (read that as "prompting them to apply"). It’s also the key to reaching another, increasingly important group of students. We’ve been thinking about these learners a lot lately, and we’re jazzed about discussing them here today: “non-traditional students.”

Non-traditional students are the future of education—both international and domestic. This is a group of students that clients are asking about more and more, and a market segment none of us can afford to ignore it.

We’re so certain of this, in fact, that we wrote a whole book about the subject. 

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Selecting a Marketing Agency: What Makes an Effective Team?

You know your organization needs to do a better job of recruiting in key markets, but how do you find the "right" marketing team? This is a complex question, but from our experience, there is one clear answer. 

Exploring an array of works by strategic thought-leaders including Brene Brown, Jocko Willink, Reid Hoffman, Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, comparing and contrasting a range of theories and approaches, strategic and tactical advice about creating effective teams – a pattern begins to emerge.

The answer: When you are evaluating vendors, consider team culture carefully. With global marketing, there’s a lot that can go sideways quickly, and you want the right group of people by your side to launch effectively and adjust when needed.

Will your agency adapt to change with grace and thoughtful expertise, and still deliver results given the new reality on the ground? Will they have the global network that identifies the need to change and share it with you on the spot? Or will it become apparent later, after the campaign funds are long gone?

The "right" team is hard to find. We know that truth from experience. Read on for a bit of wisdom from one of our clients about choosing the team that will move your institution forward. 

But before you click on: Last Chance for a free pass to today's Intead Plus webinar, "What's A Muslim Student to Think?" with my guest, Wajahat Ali, Journalist, CNN Talking Head, NYT Op Ed Contributor and all around thoughtful, analytical, humorous guy. Starts at 11AM DST. You won't be disappointed.

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Leading Enrollment Planning, Leading Change

How’s enrollment going these days? Are your numbers where they should be? Is the trend on the right track?

For so many enrollment administrators, these questions prompt a level of anxiety because the trend is down and the storm clouds on the horizon bode more of the same.

There are steps you can take. And it is time to stand tall and act. Our advice: Never waste a good crisis.

Regardless of the field you work in as a leader, there is the perpetual challenge of launching new initiatives. The ideas and business plans are one thing – coming up with them is actually quite manageable. The world is full of opportunities that absolutely can and will succeed with the right team and resources behind them.

So here’s the question: Are you doing the assessments necessary to find the best path forward?

Market research looking outward can tell you where the opportunities are. Couple that with a deep internal assessment that identifies what is working well and where your investment of staff time and resources is doing the greatest good (and where it is not).

Learning Opportunities

One common element of this work is typically our digital audit to understand your online presence, web traffic and email performance. The results of this audit provide both market receptivity metrics as well as internal performance metrics.

You can access our experience and chart your path forward. At the AIRC annual conference this December, we will deliver a full-day workshop on global digital marketing and enrollment planning. This could be the low-cost opportunity that helps you jump start your enrollment plan overhaul. We hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity.

Of course there is also our deep recruitment research and instructional library available to Intead Plus members (have you signed up for our can’t miss Intead Plus Webinar with Wajahat Ali: What’s a Muslim Student to Think?)

Read on to learn a bit more about what we look for as we develop customized enrollment plans for our clients…

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Student Recruitment Mistakes of the Desperate: Part 1

Perhaps it was the Saudi and Brazil bump that put your institution in good shape a few years back, with international students flowing in. But, you aren't impervious to changes in the market. Like many institutions, you may now find yourself looking around thinking things seem a bit less rosy.

We are continuously approached by universities and boarding high schools from around the world seeking international student recruiting advice. They are all at different stages of maturity in terms of their enrollment and admissions processes and we enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to resolve the unique problems each of these institutions face.

More often than not, institutions are hung up on the common challenges of people and budget. This is true of most service industries (and, in fact, product driven industries as well). There is no lack of ideas and opportunities. The only thing holding them back is the difficulty of aligning the team (people) and willingness to risk the funds (because there are no guarantees of success).

Often (more often than we all care to admit) we are approached by academic leaders who are desperate. It is late in the enrollment cycle and enrollment numbers are not where they should be. They were once successful and numbers were solid, and now they are not. Budget dollars are extremely tight. And yet, growth is demanded. What to do?

This is the first of a two part series in which we are discussing the all too common mistakes of the desperate. Those who have been in the industry for a number of years have seen this state of affairs at different times: the pressure to produce without the time and resources to do it right. And looking back at those times, we all know what the result was: ineffective and disappointing.

To do marketing effectively, you need experience, creativity, consistent project management (execution) and tracking (analytics). All of that takes time and money. When done well, you are in the strongest position to see results. When done hastily, without solid investment and for short, inconsistent bursts, there really is little opportunity for success.

This is why we do what we do here. We try very hard to keep institutions on the right path. Sustained growth is rare and difficult to achieve. Lean years happen. Our market research and creative agency services keep offer the industry intelligence you need to achieve growth and survive those years. These services do require a level of investment. Intead Plus is a great place to start, with full access to all of our research, planning worksheets, and state of the field webinars.

Read on for our first set of common mistakes academic leaders make when desperately trying to improve student enrollment numbers.

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#Trending: Managing the Process and Flow of Pathway Programs

 

This one is just begging for industry commentary. Kudos, REALLY BIG KUDOS, to Elizabeth Redden and Inside Higher Ed for her reporting on pathway programs. So many recruitment realities revealed, and struggles documented. Elizabeth’s research and prolific writing have advanced the industry conversation more than anything I’ve seen in a long time.

This post should be handy when your president or provost asks for your take on "what is happening with international" these days?

What just stole the industry conversation away from pathway programs is, of course, the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Trump Travel Ban (aka the "Muslim Ban" that is *not* a Muslim Ban, cough, cough). With all the walls being built around this country by Washington to keep foreigners out, it just may be that pathway programs are more important than ever as a pipeline for recruiting international students. But as Elizabeth's reporting makes clear, institutions can't travel this path without clear leadership and a well defined strategy. Many are going this route in a way that will confound and harm them later

Our just-completed webinar with Karin Fischer addressed the Travel Ban decision and some of its ramifications. The recording will be available next week for viewing for all Intead Plus members (see below).

The institutions willing to share their struggles and successes with Elizabeth for the Inside Higher Ed story gave readers real insight into so many of the challenges in international student recruiting. Much of it has to do with factors external to the university and largely out of their control. Other factors are very much in their control and have everything to do with internal politics and alignment (or lack thereof).

When tied to Elizabeth’s article about recently released NAFSA research on the lack of planning that most universities have done around international student recruiting, one’s mind begins to spin. Lack of strategy and planning coupled with long-term contracts is a really bad mix. 

Read on for Intead's perspective on how pathway programs do and don't work. Buckle up...This will be worth the ride.

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The best-kept secrets in international student recruitment?

International student recruitment is hard work. So, when there’s help to be had, it’s silly not to take advantage... right? 

No, we’re not talking about hiring Intead to help you craft the perfect marketing plan (although...).

What we’re talking about right now is affordable, in-country support that not enough universities are using. We describe these options (and so much more) in our updated 88 Ways to Recruit International Students.  

That's right! The SECOND edition of our seminal ebook is now available as part of the Intead Plus membership. Fun fact: more than 8,000 of your global colleagues downloaded the first edition. And as part of the package, you'll have access to our exclusive webinar with Karin Fischer where we will reveal our latest findings about Indian and Chinese parents' perspectives. Gain a few new insights into what these important decision makers are thinking about a U.S. education for their children. Sign up now for the June 26 webinar.

The best-kept secrets we’re diving into in today's blog post are US government resources that can make a big impact on your recruitment efforts—and are accessible even if you’re on a budget. Please read on...

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The Hard Truth About International Student Recruitment

So we are here at Nafsa 2018 and it is the usual exhilarating whirlwind. We will present later today with power hitters Jon Stauff (Monmouth University) and Martyn Miller (Temple University). We’ll share our slides soon. And we have something really exciting to share right now, with this post. Keep reading…

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Africa's Tech Hubs: Your New Student Source?

Looking for new ways to connect with students from some of Africa’s biggest providers of international students, including Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya? Trendy “tech hubs” are an interesting new student source to keep an eye on.

Diversification is key to a successful global recruitment strategy. With recruiting challenges and competition rising in China and India, smart money is looking at emerging pockets of talented and motivated students. These locales will not achieve the size of either India or China in terms of total numbers of students sent abroad. But that's not really the point. 

When you consider return on investment for institutions with low brand awareness, recruitment sources outside of India and China present real opportunities.

For U.S. institutions looking for talented international students (particularly at the graduate level), Africa's tech hubs may be just the place to forge valuable connections.

We've got your attention now, right? Read on for the valuable information you need to make solid budget allocation decisions.

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Proactively Connect When The World Is Unsettled

Maybe it's the jet lag (it's not) but this most recent international jaunt has left me thinking big and getting a bit sentimental about the field we are in. You know all those cynics who refer to the international student recruiting work we all do with disdain saying, “It’s really only about the tuition dollars the international students pay?” Perhaps you can send them a link to this post and shift their thinking just a bit.

Last week I was in Moscow presenting on global digital marketing at The Forum on International Education. It was an honor to be invited to play a role in this effort by the Russian Ministry of Education as the government there implements an audacious plan to grow from about 230K international students to more than 700K choosing Russia for their post-secondary education. No small task.

At a time when the American and Russian heads of state are spitting at each other, I found myself in Moscow learning from my colleagues from around the world and taking time to visit many of Russia’s iconic and moving cultural achievements. Each evening, back in my hotel room, CNN told me about how our world leaders were acting in ways that left me more determined than ever.

Read on for reflections on the value of your work and the one important thing you can do right now in the face of international turbulence.

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Moving the Needle on Your International Student Recruitment

So your international enrollment numbers are ok, but not what you need them to be.

Or worse, like many of our colleagues, your numbers took a real dive over the past 12 to 18 months.

What steps can you take that will move the needle north? And north of what? How much growth can you expect? Oh, and how much investment will that require?

Let’s just take a breath and point out that, you ask some really hard questions!

Let’s try to answer them…with DATA!

Read on for some concrete next steps...

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