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Recruiting Intelligence

Ben Waxman & Emily R. Henry

Iranian Students Seek Graduate Study Opportunities in U.S.

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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Do You Chat with WeChat? International Student Recruiting in China

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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6 Ways to Use Your International Faculty to Help You Recruit

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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5 Ways Your Current International Students Can Help You Recruit

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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Promote Your University’s Micro-Strengths!

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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Snap Up Potential Recruits with Snapchat

By now we all know that teenagers come with phones permanently in the palms of their hands. They snap, chat and app like it’s their job. In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed mobile messaging usage among young people before, and the numbers are impressive. If you haven’t already, it’s time to give in to the trend because more and more social messaging apps are popping up all the time. Snapchat, the free picture and message app, although not new to young people, is starting to shape its platform to allow business and universities to reap the benefits of this app.

Pro-tip: We hope you are sharing this post with your social media team. Don't let all these great ideas and resources fade like some 10-second Snap.

Universities are starting to use Snapchat more and more to reach current and potential students alike. But is adding another social media app to your list to manage really worth it? Well, four hundred million pictures, or snaps, are shared every day via Snapchat. Yep, 400 million. And, if you think that sounds surprising, how about this? That number is larger than the number of images shared via both Instagram and Facebook. Estimates even show that the combination of images shared on Instagram (approx. 50 million) and Facebook (approx. 350 million) is about the same as those shared on Snapchat. Thinking maybe it’s time to consider using this app to get in touch with students? We do, and we’ll tell you why.

Bottom Line: According to Pew Research Center, half of smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 29 use messaging apps. Snapchat is among the most important of these apps for student recruiting. It has around 100 million active daily users and the majority (71%) of these users are below the age of 25. Universities are using it for various purposes and share mostly positive responses. Below we can give  some specific examples of universities doing this well. If more direct engagement with your potential students is your goal, Snapchat may be the answer. 

You can find more information about messaging apps on our Virtual Communities Messaging Applications worksheet. For now, let’s dive into Snapchat and find out why “snapchatting” is a verb that might be on its way into Webster's Dictionary. Well, at least if young people have anything to say about it.

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Self-Made: Supporting Entrepreneurship and Tech Training for International Students

Before our international blogger Emily shares some insights into supporting entrepreneurial-minded students, Denver is the PLACE TO BE next week! #NAFSA16 We will be co-presenting new research with FPPEDUMedia on how current global, economic and political events are impacting students’ plans to study abroad. We will be in room CCC, Mile High Ballroom 4DE on Wednesday, June 1 at 10AM. Don’t miss this potentially game-changing research! We also invite you to schedule a time to chat with us during the conference. We are looking forward to meeting you!

This week we address international students as budding entrepreneurs…

We all know the story of Facebook, right? Or, should we say, we all know the story of Mark Zuckerberg? You know, the startup hero who began Facebook while he was studying at Harvard who is now worth $51.9 billion? While many young people dream of following a similar path, they have trouble finding systems to support them on their entrepreneurial journey. Beyond education, they need connections to the business and technology world. Universities are taking notice of these dreamers and doers, and it’s paying off.

Bottom Line: Business management is the most commonly chosen major for international students. With 197,258 international students studying for this degree, keeping a competitive edge in the field is key. To give students the return on investment they are looking for, universities need to prepare students for new challenges in the business world. It is a tech driven world and your students need to be well-prepared for tech challenges. Students are searching for quality entrepreneurial-focused programs but the programs still aren’t that widespread. Through events like hackathons and other marketing efforts you can attract potential entrepreneurial-focused international students—IF you have the programs to support them. Intrigued? Read more for some tips on how to attract these kind of tech-savvy, forward-thinking students.

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Motivations of the Highly Motivated: Marketing to International Graduate Students

Did you know that in the United States, first time graduate enrollment grew by 3.5% between fall 2013 and fall 2014? The Council of Graduate Schools’ (CGS) report Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 2004 to 2014 provides tons of information on graduate study trends. According to the report, “from 2004 to 2014, international students accounted for over two-thirds of the growth in first-time enrollment headcounts at U.S. graduate institutions.” And that first time enrollment figure is 11.2%. So lots of new international students and the vast majority of them at the grad level. Good news for international recruiters, right? We think so!  

Bottom Line: Graduate students are an important segment of international students to target with your digital marketing and their needs are different than their younger counterparts. Their motivations to study, the programs of interest and the influences for them to choose one program over another all vary. Mostly, they want to know they will get a job with a degree from your program. Similar to undergrad motivations but perhaps iwth a finer point on it.

Importantly, even if your institution is lesser known, you can still market the strengths of a top-tier program to these highly motivated students. They pay attention to that kind of thing within their area of interest. If your marketing efforts to international graduate students are limited in time and budget (whose aren't?), you would do well to focus on these two things: your career outcomes and your highly acclaimed departments and professors. Make sure you are capturing your target audience's attention with messaging they’ll react to.

NAFSA is right around the corner! We will be co-presenting new research with FPPEDUMedia on how current global, economic and political events are impacting students’ plans to study abroad. So, while you are building your schedule for the conference, pencil us in for Wednesday, June 1 at 10AM and schedule a time to chat with us! Actually, use a pen, you really won’t want to miss this one. Trust us!

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International Student Employability: How Do U.S. Universities Stack Up?

 

It’s that time of year again—graduation! But amidst the accomplishments and excitement there is one thing weighing heavily on your students’ minds: what happens next!?

They have put in the time and effort, secured their degree and are now looking for the next step: a job. But just because graduation only happens once a year, doesn’t mean that’s the only time you should be thinking about your university’s employability data.

Bottom Line: While your website, social media pages, brochures and emails surely highlight all of the best things about your location, campus, programs, professors and activities, are you factoring in your employability data? Students (and their families) are really looking for that bit of security.

So, how exactly does the U.S. stack up in terms of placing students in jobs post-grad? Turns out, pretty well. The U.S. is the most desirable destination for international students. Its’ universities are dominating employability rankings and it has a comparatively low youth unemployment rate. This is the kind of data that can benefit your marketing efforts, whether or not your school is highlighted in the data.

Side Note: Are you going to the NAFSA Conference in Denver? We will be co-presenting with FPPEDUMedia and sharing our latest research on how current global, economic and political events are impacting students’ plans to study abroad—you don’t want to miss this! Set up a time to chat with us while you’re there, we’d love to meet you in person.

Please read on. Emily will share our perspective on employability data and international student recruitment...

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Work Experience as a Recruiting Tool: Erasmus+

“I can’t get a job without experience. I can’t get experience without a job.” If you know students who have graduated recently, you’ve probably heard them say this. It’s a cycle that every recent grad is terrified of falling into. Programs like European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students called, Erasmus+ recognized this issue and the program is making it possible for students to gain experience while studying. It's all about making students' futures look a little brighter. And, guess what? It’s working.

Erasmus+, created by the European Union, supports education, training, youth and sport in Europe. The program financially supports opportunities for European students to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad.

Bottom Line: According to an ICEF Monitor article published in February 2016, Erasmus+ had more than doubled their number of students in 2014. Yes, you read right. Doubled! It is now sending 500,000 students abroad through their programs each year.

Students are jumping at the chance to go because, here is the kicker, mobility increases employability. And that is good news for your international student recruiting efforts. Students are already seeing the benefits of heading abroad. Now, your job is to show them how you can support their needs.

Our NAFSA presentation on the morning of Wednesday, June 1st is going to address why students seek international study options and how they weigh economic and political factors at home and abroad. We are analyzing 40,000+ completed international student surveys as we write this blog! The results will amaze you and guide your marketing plans. We can't wait to share this stuff with you! We hope you will be in touch to schedule a meeting in Denver.

Read on to learn more about how the lessons of Erasumus+ can inform your global marketing...

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