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Recruiting Intelligence

International Strategy in the Time of Coronavirus: Longer-Term Thinking

In the past two weeks, since we posted our near-term thinking about student recruiting, enrollment, and the impact of the Coronavirus, a lot has happened. The advice we gave for institutions continues to hold. And now it is time to share some of our longer-term thinking.

Many of our readers are responsible for international student recruitment, enrollment, and student services. Other readers are in leadership roles with broader student enrollment responsibilities.

Intead has long been advocating for a diversified approach to enrollment growth beyond a focus on just international students -- advice on diversified approaches to enrollment strategy follows. Keep reading, and hang on to your hat…

A given: the virus represents a significant threat to international travel and the economy. This past week the APAIE 2020 conference scheduled for late March in Vancouver was postponed to 2021. Other education industry conferences have been cancelled as well. Some 200,000 international flights have been canceled since the virus outbreak. Academic administrators in Australia are taking the brunt of all the travel restrictions and challenges right now. The rest of us will be feeling it acutely this summer and fall and beyond.

As we mentioned two weeks ago, challenges do arise and when they do, we don’t get frustrated, we get focused. This is an important mindset in any scenario and especially important when your industry is suffering a significant shock.

A few quick assessment questions:

  • Do you have leaders who welcome big picture thinking?
  • Can you execute on your strategic plans?
  • Can you calculate the cost of putting your ideas into practice?
  • Can you provide market data to support your projected results?

Hopefully you answered, “Yes” to the first question (if not, you might be in the wrong place), and you think your answers to the next 3 questions are also, “Yes” (perhaps with the caveat that you’ll need some help to do it).

With this in mind, let’s dive into our longer-term thinking prompted by the latest threat to your student enrollment and revenue projections. Read on. 

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Adjusting Your Chinese Recruiting: 10 Insights to Guide Your Plan

This is going to be a long post with some really valuable insights. We hope you’ll grab some coffee and take time to skim through. This is important to you and your bottom line. You’ll want to share this with specific colleagues with a few highlights based on where the priorities are at your institution…

A word to the wise: people often remember most how you behave in a crisis.

The world of international student recruitment faces consistent challenges. At times they are huge, recall 9/11, and other times they are as small as the annoying intermittent WiFi access at your student recruitment fair in Istanbul.

The past decade has seen a range of significant challenges to your recruitment marketing plans and those challenges have been due to largely unanticipated causes.

  • 2008 brought us the global financial crisis. How bad was it? For a brief period, banks were too afraid to lend to each other!
  • 2015 brought us a new level of anti-immigrant rhetoric out of the US as the 2016 election cycle ramped up.
  • Not long after that, the new White House administration delivered the travel ban (aka the Muslim ban) among other changes to visa approvals.
  • Now the immediate and unexpected challenge of the Coronavirus coupled with an extension of the travel ban to a spate of new countries including Nigeria.

To quote a good friend and colleague, Angel Ahmed, CEO of GNET, “When things get challenging, we don’t get frustrated, we get focused.”

So, what’s an enrollment professional to do when unexpected and significant challenges are disrupting your marketing plans and your results? You’ve probably already given these challenges a lot of your time and thinking, but we know a second (or third) set of eyes is always helpful. Read on for ten concrete recommendations to focus you, Intead style.

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