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Recruiting Intelligence

Beyond Our Borders International Student Recruiting: Alumni Ambassadors

You are reading an excerpt from our e-book "88 Ways to Recruit International Students" (Click here to read the entire book) 


44. Creating a team of Alumni Ambassadors

Don’t underestimate the success Alumni Ambassadors can provide.  As mentioned in earlier sections, cultivating a group of well-versed, excited alumni can reap tremendous rewards.  Ian Little of CDB Solutions developed a strategic plan for a university to use in international student recruitment.  This excerpt is taken from that strategic plan and nicely captures the benefits of utilizing alumni.


How can these alumni help with recruitment efforts?  They can do so in three primary ways: direct recruitment activity, identifying new business targets, and assisting domestic/foreign students with internships.  Alumni are capable recruiters, who often take pride in assisting the university with direct recruitment activities.   While they may not feel comfortable visiting a local high school per se, they may feel comfortable hosting a reception for parents of local high school students when a university representative is in town.  

Or, they may welcome the opportunity to organize parent groups of foreign students currently enrolled at XYZ university, who may also enjoy meeting a university rep, especially a senior administrator.  Alumni are also helpful at education fairs, and since the university has so many alumni in key markets, it may be able to turn to them when the recruitment schedule gets too busy, or perhaps during the spring recruitment season, when the travel budget is a bit tight. 

Alumni can help the university explore business opportunities that can impact recruitment.  For example, if an alumnus works for a larger company, they may arrange for a university representative to host an information session through the human resources department of the company.  


Or, if the alumnus is a member of a professional society, they may be able to identify opportunities within the academic area for promotion of on-line programming, training, and continuing education.  Alumni chapters here in the United States often host a send-off for local students going away to larger schools. 

This activity can be very useful for the university in helping to build the global brand.  If the university is able to host a reception with alumni, it should do so before the students head off to the university for the fall.  The university can use this opportunity not only to get alumni together, but also as a vehicle for offering useful tips on managing the transition from their country to the US.

Alumni should be surveyed, and asked how they are willing to be involved.  One way, if possible, would be to identify internship opportunities for foreign students as they return home for the summer, and for domestic students looking to study abroad.  The value of the practical education and training is high, and sometimes the best way to get these positions is through collegial connections.

Source: Ian Little, CDB Solutions, September 2012