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Recruiting Intelligence

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.

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Prospective Students Seek a Career Network (Part 2)

If career outcomes truly drive prospective student decision-making (they do), then a critical question arises for most institutions: Are you effectively utilizing your alumni to recruit new and retain current students? (We know what your answer will be).

Last week’s blog post laid out the benefits of building a strong global network of alumni and three cost-effective ways to get it off the ground:

  • Modernize data management
  • Start small and build out
  • Key into senior class leadership

Now, let’s talk about getting that network to engage, recruit, and help retain students.


But first, come learn with us. Your key international student markets are not what they used to be. Among our colleagues in this field, we see a tremendous thirst for gathering and evaluating recruitment options. Now is the time to pause and think this through. Join us at the Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop, it’s a hands-on opportunity to learn from awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty. You won’t want to miss it.

  • A full-day hands on workshop on strategy & execution. Come with questions, leave with a plan.
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Luncheon on Social Justice with Dr. Jewell Winn and Adrienne Fusek
    • Dinner on Chinese Student Influencers with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
  • At $200 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this full-day learning opportunity is a steal. (Pricing goes up to $350 on October 24, 2022).

Ok, back to the power of your alumni!

The Michigan State University Alumni Association has had a strong program with clear goals for its Alumni Student Recruitment program:

  • Increase the number of highly competitive and qualified students considering Michigan State at the undergraduate level and increase the percentage of admitted students who enroll
  • Provide a local information source for inquiring students, applicants, admitted and enrolled students, and their families
  • Provide regional assistance to the Michigan State admissions staff

Back in 2018, we were fortunate enough to co-present with Daniel Spadafore when he built and led this program at Michigan State in his role with the International Advancement Office. Also part of the presentation, Dr. Gretchen Dobson who has provided strong, consistent advocacy for the importance of alumni engagement that universities typically overlook.

Michigan State's goals can be adapted to other institutions based on their leadership, resources, and of course, the alumni network they have tracked to date. The process of implementing such a program is not as complicated as you may think.

Read on to learn more about how to develop an action plan for your alumni network that can yield positive returns on your investment.

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Prospective Students Seek a Career Network (Part 1)

Going to university remains a search for direction and a process of maturation. And yet, there is a culture shift that has been growing over the past few decades. That culture shift is around the value of degrees vs. short-term certificates. It is around the value of a traditional 4-year university education vs. acquiring the skills to quickly land a valuable job. Cybersecurity and data analytics anyone?

Before we dive in, how confident are you with your selection of international student recruitment markets right now? You, our blog subscribers, have first shot at this limited seating workshop.


Among our colleagues in this field, we see a tremendous thirst for gathering and evaluating our options, with time to really talk it through. The Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop will be a hands-on opportunity to learn from an awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty.

  • Come with questions, leave with a plan.
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Luncheon on Social Justice with Dr. Jewell Winn and Adrienne Fusek
    • Dinner on Chinese Student Influencers with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
    • A full day of international student recruitment strategy and execution discussion
  • At $200 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this learning opportunity is a steal. (Pricing goes up to $350 on October 24, 2022).

For most undergraduates, studying at a university is now the first opportunity to interact with and cultivate the network connections that are so vital to getting a job and building a successful career in the 21st-century global economy.

In their recently published book, The Real World of College: What Higher Education is and What It Can Be, authors Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner note the shift in attitude and expectations among students from ‘we’ to ‘I’.

“The prevalence of ‘I’ over ‘we’ gives insight into what we believe is a troubling problem for the sector of higher education—students’ preoccupation with ‘self,’” Fischman notes.

Now we can debate if this shift is troublesome. Maybe. Maybe not. But we can’t deny the shift in attitudes toward it and how this new mindset should influence your recruitment strategies.

Read on to learn how a shift in strategy can help you secure stronger enrollment among the so-called ‘I’ generation…

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Spotlight on Your Institution’s Student-First Approach

We recently talked with students past and present from Vietnam to Bangladesh and heard encouraging stories.

  • A professor hand-delivered a recommendation during the early phase of the pandemic.
  • A class specifically designed around a student’s pursuits.
  • A helpful phone call to a trusted member of the international student services team when tragedy struck.

Stories that embody the kind of student-first experience we all imagine we provide to our students. It’s the kind of experience we certainly all tell the world of prospective students (and parents) that we will deliver.

The reality, unfortunately, is often quite different. Blame branding or the bottom line (lack of resources), but the undeniable truth is that competing priorities often win out over the well-founded ideal of student-first. 

Today’s post is not a how-to on making your website user-friendly. Today we put a spotlight on the policies and actions that put students first. We’re looking at what is undermining your institutional integrity and how you can address it. And trust us, students are well aware of how well your institution delivers on the promise of student-first. And they tell stories. So, yes, this post is enrollment marketing-focused.

When you delight, they gush with positive word-of-mouth support. And when you fail, they tell that story too.

To offer deep perspective on this topic, in addition to our own experience, we tapped a few colleagues who know more than a thing or two about fostering the student-first mindset:

  • David Hautanen, Vice President for Enrollment Management at St. Mary's College of Maryland
  • Jessica Sandberg, Dean of International Enrollment Management at Duke Kunshan University
  • Jewell Green Winn, Senior International Officer of International Affairs at Tennessee State University (and newly appointed chair of AIEA)
  • Brad Farnsworth, Principal of Fox Hollow Advisory and former Vice President at the American Council for Education (ACE)

They each had great perspective on the subject. We are so appreciative of their time and the insights shared. You, our readers, are the beneficiaries of their wisdom.  

Read on to learn concrete actions you can take now to help ensure your enrollment program is student-first. Is this post a good one to share with your leadership? Uhm, yes.

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Leading Global CEOs: From India with US Degrees

The world’s largest democracy with dominant film, agriculture, and livestock industries has the third greatest economy in terms of purchasing parity around the globe. As a fast-growing global economy, their educated, English-speaking workforce has a strong desire to work in tech fields. They boast the world’s second-largest population of 1.3+ billion that will surpass China’s population in 2028 by current UN projections. And really, 2028 is sorta near-term at this point.

We are talking about India – the second largest source of international students in the US.

There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about international student mobility in the near term. And every reason to be confident about the future of the education industry.

Human aspiration does not disappear due to strife, especially among young people.

Academia has struggled through and adapted to changing consumer needs and demands for centuries.  Our colleagues at IIE have the historical data demonstrating the ups and downs of international education for the past 80 years or so. Now is the time to take the innovations the industry has been wrestling to implement (truly engaging online learning, truly engaged alumni networks, digital marketing and audience segmentation, artificial intelligence powered student support, etc.) and make them a reality.

Today, let's take India as an example of why international student enrollment is something important for your institution.

So many Indian students aspire to a US education. And there are tangible examples of success motivating those dreams. Let's talk about why your Indian students will be coming back to your institution, eventually...with the right enrollment marketing initiatives.

Take a look at the global tech companies that innovate with real power – IBM, Microsoft, Google, Adobe. There are some non-tech global dynamos as well. They are turning to Indian talent to lead them. Consider that many of the talented Indian CEOs playing leadership power roles on the global stage were trained in the US.

Read on to find out what academic programs were the steppingstones for these once-upon-a-time students to head some of the largest, most respected companies in the world. Is your institution on the list? Can your institution appeal to the next set of global leaders?

Here is a key question from a student recruitment point of view: Are your amazing alumni part of your international student recruitment efforts? There are ways to make your global alumni network become the inspiration for students’ hearts and minds…to raise awareness, kindle passion, and draw them to your academic programs to fulfill their dreams.

And yet, so few institutions develop and leverage their international alumni network to help future students make a really smart decision. You can change that.

Read on. 

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Micro-Innovations: Opportunities Speak Loudest to Those Who...

I met Jenny on a sunny July day at the corner of H and 22nd Streets in DC -- in the center of George Washington University’s campus.

Jenny’s been running this hot dog stand at this corner for 22 years.

Originally from Vietnam, she has two children currently attending the University of Virginia. With all these university ties, GWU, UVa, you’d think she works in our field of academia. And in a way, she does.

Take a closer look at that stand behind her. See the signs? Jenny is an entrepreneur and a micro-innovator. She recognizes opportunities and she goes after them. And she succeeds.

As Jenny and I talked, she shared that she sees a small boost in revenue at the end of each semester (in May and December) with her cash for books deal, in addition to the hot dog and soda sales. Her location gives her an opportunity that another hot dog vendor, at say the corner of H and 14th Streets, does not have. Her micro-innovation has proven a consistent, small incremental value to her overall operation.

It is the start of a new school year and we have so many ideas to share with you. This is no time to sit on your hands, or wring your hands. It is time to put those hands to work, get them dirty.

Read on for ideas about how thinking about micro-innovations might be just the thing that can energize your team and add up to significant growth for your recruitment funnel.

Read on...

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#EdTech for Career Prep in the Digital Age, Part 2

With your university years over, you are facing the end of your traditional education and the start of your career. You are done sitting through classes and handing in academic assignments. No more finals!

Your students have worked so hard to reach this point. And they’ve spent a fair amount of time researching their career options. Did they do all they could to maximize relevant work experience while in school? Internships? Career networking? Resume writing, LinkedIn profiling, interview practicing, alumni outreaching, job board searching, cover letter writing. This career entry thing is hard work!

Has your institution done all it could to help them pursue the career and land the job?

This is what education is all about. Transitioning the learner to then practice their craft, use what they’ve learned.

This is the second half of a two-part series on how to help students cross the bridge to employment. In Part 1, we spoke about EdTech that can help students prep for careers through mentorship and coaching, as well as platforms for virtual work experience, where students can do some of the daily tasks of their chosen career in an online micro internship. What other resources are out there to help strengthen their profile and seal the deal?

(Read on.)

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#EdTech for Career Prep in the Digital Age, Part 1

Going to College Question: Is it the journey or the destination?

Answer: It’s both, but the destination must be worth it.

After years of classes and seminars, learning and discourse, pizza and so many late nights (SO many late nights), the goal of attending university is for a student to find a job.

A university able to give confidence about the future to their prospective students will be in a stronger position than their peer institutions. Career placement stats are found on most university websites. But how about something more concrete? How can you differentiate?

In a two-part series, we are going to talk about ways that your institution can help students arrive at that destination. There are some very cool career prep resources available.

This is about career mentoring and coaching and how your students find the professionals with employer insights and connections—either from within your faculty, administration, alumni pool or through emerging tech tools (#EdTech social platforms).

The destination of the university journey is of course a job (better yet, a career). Talking to domestic and international students regularly, their focus is, of course, on their future.

“What will I do with this degree? Will it have value to me?”

Connecting to your alumni is an essential part of all of this. And yet, universities are investing so little in their global alumni as a new student recruitment resource. If you’ve not already done so, download our Global Alumni Management: State of the Field research here.

And read on for our review of Career Prep tools and resources…

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Canada: U.S. Student Recruitment Threat?

Canada is after your students!

Canadian universities are seeing a spike in international student enrollments, fueled by a political climate that has some students spooked about studying in the U.S.   According to Inside Higher Ed, international enrollments rose 10.7% for Canadian institutions from 2016-2017, a period during which the U.S. saw a 7% decline.

Some students enrolling in Canadian institutions hail from countries that American institutions have long relied upon. For instance, the Hindustan Times reported that the number of Indian students enrolled in Canadian institutions topped 100,000 for the first time in 2016.

But for American universities, the threat is actually two-fold. Some of Canada’s international students are America’s domestic students—so that means that your Canadian competitors may be siphoning both your domestic and international enrollments. Not looking so polite now, huh?

Read on to get the recruiting perspective you need.

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LinkedIn Tracks Your International Alumni

International alumni are critically important to good recruitment and fundraising efforts: heck, we researched and co-wrote a whole report on it!

In the fall of 2017, Intead and Academic Assembly, Inc., surveyed over 100 professionals working at U.S. institutions of higher education about their international alumni management practices. When we asked what three factors they considered their biggest hurdles to developing a stronger program, 35% included “we don’t track international alumni” on their list.

Yikes!

Needless to say, your CRM system (you have one, right?) can track your alumni, both international and domestic. But if you are among the 35% whose institution just doesn’t track, we have one suggestion for how you can still connect with your far-flung alums. It’s right at your fingertips: LinkedIn.

If you are at AIEA in DC next week, come learn from us at our two sessions:

  • Tues. 2/20 at 7:45 am -- Ben will join MJ Miller, Senior VP North American Higher Ed at Kaplan International, to serve up a dose of international student research and insights poured right into your morning coffee. Breakfast will be served! Now we've got you, right? 
  • Wed. 2/21 at 11 am -- Ben will interview Lakshmi Iyer, Executive Director & Head of Education at Sannam S4 and and Jon Stauff, Vice Provost for Global Educationat Monmouth University about creating successful partnerships with Indian Universities.

Read on to learn how Linkedin is your secret (free) weapon as you find and manage your global alumni...

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