How to Recruit Overseas Students V2
Do you want to keep wondering how to grow your college, or are you willing to learn from others who can help you get there? Let’s learn from those who made it! For the April page, I interviewed Sandy Kwon, CEO of Bada Global.
I am Michelle Lee from CRICOS Consultancy, welcome to CRICOS Blog!
In this blog, I will be uncovering how you can recruit overseas students from both onshore and offshore. If you want to start a CRICOS college or has been running a CRICOS college but want to do better in overseas student recruitment, this is the blog to read! Let’s reveal the secret.
Michelle: Sandy, thank you for coming to the interview today. Please introduce yourself, and Bada Global to our audience.
Sandy: My name is Sandy Kwan. I am the Director of Bada Global. Under the Bada Global, we have Bada Education Centre and Bada Immigration Services. We started in 1999 focusing on Korean market and started global marketing five years ago. In Australia, we have five branches and 23 branches in China and 18 branches in other countries. Bada Global is growing slowly globally. Our offices are in Australia, New Zealand, Korea, China, Mongolia, Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Soon we are opening branches in South America such as Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. The reason why I started the global market is that the Korean market is limited. However, then I realised that Korean students are studying in other countries as well. So, I began recruiting Korean students from other countries. I recruit Korean students from the Philippines for example.
Michelle: How to recruit overseas students effectively, what’s your advice on that?Sandy: Sure, I have 20 years of experience in overseas student recruitment. I think I am one of the oldest people who has been in this recruitment industry. I saw colleges closing down a few years after they started. The international student market trend changes rapidly. If the owner’s mindset remains in old fashion, it is tough for marketing officers to recruit students for the college.
Also, the marketing strategy for onshore and offer shore market is different. Colleges need to apply the right approach to the right market.
I think having a well-trained marketing staff is essential. There are marketing offers in CRICOS colleges. I found that not every marketing offers are trained and are familiar with different nationality markets. For example, if a marketing officer is not familiar with the Korean market and visits a Korean education agent, it is hard to create rapport and be on the same level of communication.
With clearly defined marketing strategy for each market and clearly articulating their selling point is essential to recruit overseas students through education agents. There are many CRICOS colleges out there. So as an education agent, we need to understand what your college’s selling point is. The big question “why should a student study with you?” must be informed to the agents.
Also understanding your clients is essential. I recruit education agent representatives who are in similar age group as the overseas students. That is to understand the needs and services that overseas students are after. However, college owners who are from an older generation like me and do not know what the young generation is after then it is difficult to promote those colleges. Even if you had younger people working as a marketing officer without the understanding and the right support from the owner it is difficult for marketing officers recruiting overseas students. To not waste time and work effectively with education agents’ owners first will need to change their mindset and try to understand the wants and needs of the younger generation. Myself is part of the older generation, so I continue to work on following the current trend and try to change myself.
The trend I see these days is the need for multiple campuses in different states. As education agents, we find these younger generations are not sure of what they want when they come for a consultation. That means they like to have the option to change their mind in the future. There are possibilities where stand-alone campus might not continue to do well in the future. Therefore, like International House, providing options for students to move campus within one institution can be an attractive option for students. It helps students to decide which college to enrol faster if a college has multiple campuses. That is because it gives an opportunity for students to change their mind and move their study location if they choose to in the future.
The selling point for a particular age group and nationalities are different. Having a great pathway can be a selling point for students from one country, but for others, it can be the price. I recruit students for colleges depending on what students want and match it with appropriate college. So, colleges need to be mindful of target countries and come up with their selling point accordingly. It is essential to be aware that a college has a selling point for the country they are targeting. For example, Mongolia is a market with students who want to enrol in Master’s programs. If your Vocational college wishes to recruit students from Mongolia, then you are looking at the wrong market. It will help if you read the trend of each country.
Another critical point for recruitment that education agents talk about is the efficiency of administration staff of CRICOS college. I think the younger generation has no patience. They don’t like to wait for a long time for an offer. Sometimes the college which offers the offer letter fastest gets students. When a college invests a lot of money and time for marketing, it is crucial to recruit students. What I notice though when a college grows admission team and marketing team do not communicate very well. They run separately. So, when an offer is not coming through fast enough, they lose students. Have an excellent admission team is highly valuable.
Also, I find that social media marketing highly important. Some countries no longer need brochures, for example, Korea. Korean students don’t like to carry brochures anymore. So even for preparing marketing material, it will be good to know what approach take.
Michelle: Do you have a success story, of a college, that you recruited overseas students?
Sandy: I cannot say the name of the college, but I must say the colleges that we work with for the long term we work successfully together. For example, for the Korean market creating branding is essential. However, building branding takes time. So now for college that has been promoting in Korea for a long time, students come and tell us that they want to enrol in that college. Now, we don’t even need to convince the students to enrol in some colleges that we have been promoting for a long time.
Michelle: What type of colleges do agents prefer to not to work with?
Sandy: We prefer not to work with colleges that only focuses on the student recruitment number and changes their commission rate based on that. It’s a partnership. There are years when an agent recruits more numbers than some other years.
If you want to have successful overseas student recruitment, it is best to travel overseas together and do marketing together – agents and the college’s representatives. Yes, it requires investment, but without investment, it is hard to recruit overseas students.
Michelle: My last question for today, How can colleges engage with Bada Education Centre?
Sandy: Please visit our website www.badaglobal.com.au and contact our office.
Michelle: Thank you for your time. I appreciate your valuable insight. I do hope the information you shared, will be helpful to many CRICOS colleges out there. Once again, Thank you very much.