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Recruiting Intelligence

Why Your Data Isn’t Getting You Where You Want to Go

With data becoming increasingly available and important to your team’s decision making, there’s more pressure than ever to keep up. New tools, better dashboards, queries—all in the name of working smarter and producing better, more efficient results.

But with all of this data at your disposal, it’s not always easy to identify which information to use and when…or how. At the end of the day, it’s about filtering out the noise and focusing on the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). But in any given initiative, what are the KPIs and where do you find them? Are they the right ones?

Pro tip: Your first pick at KPIs prior to a new initiative running are often not the ones you end up focusing on once your boots hit the ground. Ongoing refinement is an essential part of the process. Dashboards were meant to be adjusted.

Another key factor: How do you make those data point selections and refinements? And who is doing that all-important data analysis and interpretation?

We’ve seen more teams than we can count create operational data portals using one tool or another, all in the name of deeper insights and more informed strategic planning. However, those “deeper insights” rarely amount to anything more than an overcomplicated dashboard and maybe some slide deck fodder that the rest of the team struggles to understand. Hopefully someone on the team has the gumption to ask the presenter: Is 43% good in that scenario? Do we have any context for that? 

You may be wondering why your efforts to make more data-driven decisions don’t always produce the gains you are anticipating (or the gains required by the hefty price tag that many of these data tools and services command.)


NAFSA Update — for those of you attending, Intead sessions to help you move your global enrollment efforts forward:

  • Achieving Global Agility: The Flexibility of Global Campus Options
    A discussion on the challenges and opportunities of delivering your academic programs at turnkey remote campuses around the world. First-hand experiences will be shared. Tune in: June 4th at 9am EDT
  • Going from 0-60: Internationalization
    We’ll be talking all things internationalization with David DiMaria, Associate Vice Provost, International Education at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, focusing on how to build leadership buy-in and navigate typically slow-moving internal processes for rapid results. A Tune In Anytime event.

Back to our data discussion...For most organizations, data difficulties begin and end with the lack of a “data culture”, defined by McKinsey & Company in their 2019 Global Survey as “a set of practices that brings together data talent, tools, and decision making so that data become the default support for company operations.” 

Sounds simple enough, but in execution, defining, and more importantly, implementing that data-friendly “set of practices” becomes nearly impossible for many teams. Data interpretation skills don't always come naturally to everyone on your team. Data presentation skills are even less common. Decisions on when to use a pie chart vs. a bar chart seem basic enough, but there is a lot more to it if you want the data to inform and motivate your team and impress your leadership.

Read on for three common roadblocks that might be standing in the way of your team’s data approach and what you can do about it.

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Recruiting Intel Digest: The Most Useful Stuff from Q1 2021

Pro tip: If you read only one of our blog posts every few months, make it this one.

Between application reviews and a little thing called budget season, we know you may not have kept up with the weekly posts and resources that we’ve shared here on the Recruiting Intelligence blog over the past few months. And we can’t blame you!

From hosting webinar events in partnership with The Chronicle of Higher Education, CIEE, and iSchoolConnect, to publishing a market research report on the new Chinese mindset on US schools, we’ve been pretty busy ourselves.

So, we’ve created the Recruiting Intel Digest, a quarterly roundup post of the resources, downloads, and top insights we’ve published in the last three months which you can view, share, and download all in the span of your next coffee break.

All this with our signature focus on helping you produce stronger enrollment results based on trend data and marketing industry insights. You are so very welcome.

Read on for the latest Intead resources available to you — all in one place. Plus, a preview of what’s coming next…

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Practical EdTech Implementation: Ask Us Anything — Register Now

The roadmap for EdTech implementations a decade ago had a linear feel. There was an expectation of securing a significant tech budget and allocating that to a carefully selected vendor with a 3-5 year plan. There was talk of “flexibility” and integrations. APIs would be built to tie different parts of the legacy systems together or the legacy piece would be replaced outright. The future system was going to be a real game changer.

It rarely worked out as planned…ever. Been there?

Today, replacing aging technology is an entirely different process. We’re eager to share insights into how campuses develop truly flexible systems and integrations with technology that is evolving every 6-12 months.

The technology process today has a heck of a lot more to do with justifying ROI than choosing technology.

Confused? Register for our webinar, "EdTech: The Road Map Has Changed. Successful Implementation Processes Look Like This" tomorrow, February 18th at 2pm Eastern. 

Register Now

Join Intead and iSchoolConnect as we talk about pushing decisive, cross-departmental collaboration at speed and scale like never before. We're talking agility in planning and innovation in technology and digital tools far beyond the usual benchmarks of annual progress in our notoriously slow-moving industry.

There’s a lot of work to do to pull complex technology and analytics projects all together. Best to have some really strong partners.

In the webinar, we’ll be sharing practical advice for successful, cost-effective technology implementations. Implementations that, long-term, produce stabilized and predictable revenue streams for your institution, even in unpredictable times.

You won’t want to miss this

Adding valuable perspective to this Ask Us Anything conversation will be:

  • Seamus Harreys, Vice President, Global Enrollment, CIEE
  • Kerry Salerno, CMO, Babson College

We’ll have plenty of real-world stories and insights to share. Stories about Northeastern University’s amazing growth from 2009 and onward. We’ll talk about technology investment approaches at different size institutions. Stories about vendor selection, technology features, and most importantly, the challenge of getting all of the internal stakeholders aligned. 

Throughout, we will welcome your questions.

Important note: if you can’t attend the event live, your registration will ensure you’re first to receive access to the recorded conversation.

And as a primer for tomorrow’s implementation-focused conversation, how about a free PDF download: “Using Tech to Thrive in a Volatile Time” sharing our 5 key takeaways from our February 4th panel event with The Chronicle of Higher Education and your colleagues from five different institutions.

Read on to access your copy of the 5 key takeaways and to learn how your peer institutions across the country are getting their technology investments right. A quick and helpful read before we dive deeper tomorrow.

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Successful Tech Implementation Processes Look Like This — Register Now

In last week’s virtual event, “Using Tech to Thrive in a Volatile Time”, Chronicle of Higher Education host Ian Wilhelm surveyed attendees with one key question — 

Will the pandemic experience help your institution make better decisions about using technology?

The answer from respondents? A resounding YES.

But what exactly are those decisions? Who’s making them? And most importantly, how will these decisions about technology made now lead to successful implementation and transformational change for your institution down the road?

On Thursday, February 18th at 2pm Eastern, Ben Waxman, CEO of Intead and Ashish Fernando, CEO of iSchoolConnect will be leading a follow-up webinar, "EdTech: The Road Map Has Changed. Successful Implementation Processes Look Like This" to further the valuable Chronicle discussion of last week.

Register Now

In this “Ask Us Anything” conversation, we’ll be getting practical, covering all things tactical implementation when it comes to technology on your campus. The key objective? Identifying how successful tech implementation really happens (despite the obstacles) and how you can create that new reality for your students, faculty, and staff. We want to discuss your specific case —wins, challenges, and all.

Adding valuable perspective to the event will be Jesus Trujillo Gomez, Strategic Business Executive for Higher Ed at Google Cloud, as well as other special guests from academic institutions across the country. Get those questions ready.

Registrants will receive access to the recording of this event, so if you can’t attend live, never fear. (And if you want your questions answered but can’t attend — let’s chat.)

And if you missed last week’s “Using Tech to Thrive in a Volatile Time” event, stay tuned in the coming weeks for the Director’s Cut recording, as well as a download of the key takeaways, including Intead and iSchoolConnect’s, “6 Insights in 6 Minutes.” Exciting, valuable stuff to come.

Read on for a preview of the keys to tech implementation success. Plus, one of the most common tech myths, debunked.

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Using Tech to Thrive in a Volatile Time — Register Now

How do you and your team feel as you choose technology partners and platforms? Not exactly a walk in the park, right?

We’ve worked with many institutional leaders and there are common elements of a successful process. And those common elements are not the same today as they were a decade ago. Today, institutional investments in technology follow a different path, with different expectations. Success has been modified over the years. Integrations consistently evolve.

Our point: Enrollment management upgrades are essential to your institution’s future growth. Competition for students is growing more intense with no end in sight. You need both the team and the technology to succeed at stabilizing and growing revenue, and achieving the diverse student environment that your mission statement purports. 

What is this redefinition of how technology investments help universities move forward? Intead and iSchoolConnect are participating in a Chronicle of Higher Education webinar tomorrow, February 4th at 2pm Eastern, to discuss just that. All registrants will have access to the recording. So, even if you’re tethered to that critical Zoom meeting tomorrow, you can still get the inside scoop and all our best insights and advice.  

Register Now

The Chronicle is bringing an all-star panel to discuss the big picture. How are institutional needs assessed? How are institutional goals identified? How are technology investment decisions made? The panel features:

  • Cedric Howard, Vice President for Enrollment & Student Services, State University of New York at Fredonia
  • Keith W. McIntosh, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, University of Richmond
  • Mary Ann Rafoth, Provost, Robert Morris University

Plus, Intead and iSchoolConnect will be adding some grounded tactical perspective with a special segment,"6 Insights in 6 Minutes", featuring: 

  • Ben Waxman, CEO, Intead
  • Ashish Fernando, CEO, iSchoolConnect
  • B. Donta Truss, Vice President for Enrollment Development & Educational Outreach, Grand Valley State University 
  • Derrick Alex, Director, Admissions Processing, University of Houston

All in all, this webinar will help you consider the broad range of quality available in the marketplace as you find the trustworthy technology partners you need. Many of the vendor options available do not understand the complexity and varied needs of the academic environment. We do.

Read on for a preview of those insights. 

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Is Flexible Incrementalism the Answer to Student Enrollment Growth?

According to Moody’s reports on the financial pain 4-year institutions are facing, higher ed administrators are managing a host of escalating challenges.

What we know: cutting your way to success has never worked for any institution.

What we want: strategic, incremental investments that pay off.

But which ones will lead to predictable enrollment growth and revenue? Oh, and student success?

There is a guiding light, a process to achieving this kind of success.

With technology playing an increasingly critical role in every aspect of our lives, especially now, academic institutions have recognized the need to accelerate the adoption and development of digitally oriented enrollment processes and education delivery. These moves can reverse enrollment declines and support the quality of education that students and families expect. A new partnership between Intead, iSchoolConnect, and Google addresses these needs with a smart, agile, and modular approach.

Framed as a modern and flexible model, incremental investments in technology for marketing and student success can align university leadership, administrators and importantly, faculty. CFOs take note, this is a plan for predictable enrollment and revenue streams.

The team delivering on this approach brings deep skills in marketing, enrollment management, and technology to support academic institutions through transformative initiatives carried out incrementally.

The goal is to produce an enrollment management transformation and a re-imagined approach to student success. Affordable marketing and AI-powered technology investments, each with clear transactional wins (think ROI) that justify the process, move the institution through a series of system improvements and enhancements toward the envisioned state. 

We’ve been here before, and we know that transformation is tough at large institutions. Bold and expensive strokes often fail to build the necessary stakeholder buy-in. The result: limited successes, far less than envisioned. 

Incrementalism recognizes that there are common modules every institution will want to address (recruitment, enrollment management, alumni relations, student and career services, etc.). Each institution is different in how and when each valued area blends into the transformation effort.

Read on to view our latest webinar in which I am joined by Ashish Fernando, iSchoolConnect CEO, and a panel of excellent guest speakers from Dartmouth, Babson, Northeastern, and Google to discuss how this new approach can pave the way to predictable, affordable, and transformative enrollment results. 

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The End of False Promises

Tracking the macro indicators of market growth and decline is where we were at the start of our journey more than a decade ago. The Intead team defined the global market opportunity for student enrollment in ways we felt others were not seeing. And we published our findings and ideas.

While we in higher education are no strangers to global enrollment shocks, there’s no getting around the reality that the year 2020 and the seismic health, political, and economic shifts have challenged our collective efforts to achieve institutional growth. The student enrollment declines being reported are very real and so many of us are feeling them and anticipating more declines in the near term.

Just this week IIE and the National Student Clearinghouse are providing new data showing how the student market has changed for the worse. These numbers are absolutely worth watching and it all makes for good headlines.

Yet, the team here has moved far beyond those headlines and numbers you are seeing. As we approach each new client engagement, we are focused on where specifically the opportunities lie. Which micro demographic? Age range? Region? Academic program interest? Which market differentiators will be attractive and where? Specifically. Globally and locally.

A wealth of data available to make really smart decisions

Today, there is so much data to analyze to help define the real market opportunities for each institution. Given the harsh market conditions, decisions today will determine which institutions will thrive going forward. In some cases, it is about which ones will simply maintain, forget about thrive. Many are trying to predict the future and with investment in the right tools, that is possible.

"Really?" You ask. "Yes," we reply.

The reality: Your bottom line is more important than ever. Your budget? Smaller than ever. Your enrollment goals? More challenging than ever. Your students? Struggling to succeed.

With so much of this past year being entirely unpredictable, a little confidence in the future would be truly welcome.

Luckily, there is an achievable path forward to predictable and sustainable enrollment growth. We’re talking long-term transformational growth here — those “Aha!” moments that transform your institutional practices and reality for years to come. Interested?

Today we are talking to all of you big picture thinkers.

Enter: Predictive analytics.

We know what some of you may be thinking. Long a buzzword in higher education, predictive analytics strategies often come with a “proceed with caution” label and (valid) concerns about budget, staffing, and implementation.

But we’re here to change all that with our new eBook — The End of False Promises: A Guide to Real Predictive Analytics Success.

In this newest Intead publication, we discuss predictive analytics, past, present, and future, including our vision for a manageable, affordable path to incorporating data- and Artificial Intelligence-powered (AI) solutions throughout the student journey at your institution.

To bring this new reality of actionable predictive analytics services to life, we have partnered with iSchoolConnect, a growing leader in advanced EdTech artificial intelligence (AI) tools, to create a new model for marketing, communications, and analytics for academia. Bonus: as one of the world’s few official Google Cloud partners, this new tie-up has access to data insights and resources others only dream of!

The successful approach we are talking about relies on flexible, incremental investments that produce clear returns. With a trusted partner guiding your institution forward on this journey, the transactional successes add up to transform your entire system for enrollment management and student success.

Read on for a quick-hit predictive analytics crash course and to download your free copy of the new eBook. Plus, a closer look at the new Intead + iSchoolConnect approach.

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The More Things Change…The More We Need to Figure Out

So, ICE tells all the online international students in the U.S. to go home and Harvard tells all students to go online for Fall 2020 (without lowering tuition). That’s quite a news day.

From day to day, the landscape continues to shift, sometimes dramatically.

If you’ve missed the past few months of Recruiting Intelligence posts because you’ve had other pressing priorities (we get it), then you may want to take a scroll through it all.

Read on for a quick summary of all the things we all need to figure out. (Spoiler alert: we've already figured out a lot of them).

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Breaking the Ice: What’s New with EdTech Accelerators?

Our calendar is full of conferences and events where we’re presenting on the latest education, recruitment, and EdTech trends. And if you’re familiar with these conference circuits, that means you’re also familiar with the mixing and mingling time. From coffee breaks to cocktail hours, and maybe even the line for the bathroom (hey, you never know where you’ll cross paths with a potential new contact), the networking opportunities are everywhere.

If you’d like to schedule some time to chat with us at your next conference stop, let us know HERE, and don’t hesitate to say hello if you spot one of us in line for the cheese and crackers.

And because you really shouldn't always lead your conversation starter with, “How about this weather we’re having?”, it’s important to have a few relevant industry soundbites in your back pocket to break the ice.

So, what’s a go-to hot topic right now that shows you are both worldly and in the know?

This just in from Singapore: there’s a new model for EdTech accelerators.

Read on to find out what’s happening in the EdTech acceleration space, how it is changing, and what might be coming soon to a cocktail hour conversation near you.

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How Students Pay You Is Changing - Part 3

This week we wrap up our three-part series on #FinTech, where we’re exploring how money for college can be found and moved faster, safer, and smarter, alleviating some of the headache for students, their families, and this time around, for university administrators. This is part of our focus on #EdTech and all the changes our industry is experiencing.

In our first piece, we talked about new student loan options, especially for students from underserved demographics, those looking for social equality, those who want unique repayment terms, and international students. Then last week, we jumped to alternative funding sources, such as micro funding, income share agreements, and new developments in scholarship FinTech.

Those areas of FinTech were all helpful to the students seeking ways to finance their educations and helpful for university administrators to understand as the financing tools and options you students can access change.

Today we are looking at what is new in the world of financial data and payment processing. Let's consider how your job might get a little easier.

And speaking of making your job a bit easier, we have 3 new Intead student recruiting research reports headed your way. Now is a great time to consider an Intead Plus Bookshelf subscription. Don’t miss these valuable reports to help you improve your institution’s recruitment game:

  • Student Interactions on Peer-to-Peer Recruiting Platforms
  • Student Interactions with Chatbots and other Artificial Intelligence Tools
  • Student Recruiting in Emerging Markets: Africa and Latin America

Or you can learn from us with a personal meeting: we will be discussing our latest research and presenting our student recruitment insights at the upcoming TABS, ICEF and AIRC conferences. Email us to set up a meeting.

Read on for important insights into a set of really valuable questions you need to ask before embracing the latest FinTech tools…

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