New lessons in the fundamentals of recruiting and retaining students - Duncan Findlater


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New lessons in the fundamentals of recruiting and retaining students - Duncan Findlater

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  • That’s one hell of a title – set myself up for something pretty grand! Unfortunately I am not necessarily going to give you new lessons in the fundamentals of recruiting and retaining students. However, all is not lost, what I hope to do is:Insight: Give you some unique insight into what really drives the decision making process of your international studentsFocus: Give you a steer on where to focus your marketing efforts to these prospective studentsChallenge: Get behind the headlines somewhat and challenge some commonly held perceptions
  • 12 months ago I stood up here and talked about:The power of truly individual engagement with international studentsThe impact of the Government visa policies on international students perceptions of the UKInternational students and whether they were truly emigrants
  • ‘Nothing so terrible as activity without insight’ – quote from my last presentation. So. True.
  • Why still only believed? Why do we not know this – it’s incredibly important.
  • Lets ask – exactly what we did. So according to the student Academic Ranking, Subject Ranking and Student Satisfaction are the Top 3 most important elements. Tuition fees you can see languishing down there at #5. However, what happens when it isn’t as simple as ranking what is most important? What about when there is a decision to be made and students have to trade off these various characteristics?
  • Annual tuition fee is the number one driver of student choice. Student satisfaction is down there at the end – barely getting a look in. And still, there are nuances within each of these – actually if you are below that £14k number you are probably OK, there is not a huge difference in the impact on the students ultimate decision based on whether you charge £5, £8 or £11k. I imagine this is worth bearing in mind when deciding fee structures for international students and what is going to have most impact on your strategy?
  • As always it is within the nuances that we find the real insight – and that upon which we can actually make some business decisions.
  • Correct? Kind of logical but again – much more useful if we actually know.
  • So – being in the top 20% is a huge boost – however that is unfortunately beyond 80% of us here and I don’t think that is really news to anyone? Perhaps the rest is though. We hear a lot about the squeezed middle. In international students eyes that middle 60% - based on Academic rankings – are largely the same. i.e. whether you are 27th or 89th won’t actually have that discernible an impact on the decision making of your prospective international students. So what about this idea that small movements up and down will have no impact and should be ignored? Well if you move from 38th to 35th then I guess there is some truth in that. However, as you can see – if you move up a couple of places and that takes you from the bottom quintile into that middle 60% - the impact could potentially be huge. For whilst students largely don’t differentiate the middle 60% they certainly single out the bottom 20%.Again – when thinking about your international strategy and how rankings plays into this you don’t need to get up to the Top 20 or even the Top 50 – you just don’t want to be in the bottom 20% and that alone could be a target.Let me hover for a moment on Subject ranking – as you can see this is actually more important in the decision making process then university ranking and even students in employment. Worth remembering for your marketing campaigns – lead your strategy with what you excel in.
  • So what to focus on? when? How?
  • Hopefully that has achieved broadly what I set out to:Give you a better idea of how you can focusGive you some interesting insightChallenge a couple of common beliefsI don’t want this to be a presentation that raises more questions than answers though. Actually that is kind of exactly what I want but to give you an idea of what you can do with this information I’ve jotted down a couple of takeaways.
  • I won’t read through./ Focus. Focus on what you excel in, focus on your positives. You have the chance to make the story.
  • New lessons in the fundamentals of recruiting and retaining students - Duncan Findlater

    1. 1. New lessons in the fundamentals of recruiting students Duncan Findlater Director, Client and External Relations 20th March 2014
    2. 2. Insight, Focus, Challenge
    3. 3. Feedback from over 1000 international students – daily International Student Survey: 13,800 respondents - 8.4k UK - 5.4k Australia Mixture of „perpetual‟ and „point in time‟ analysis 3 The numbers behind the insight Utilise power of group = Robust and advanced analysis = Competitive advantage.
    4. 4. 4 Rewind 12 Months
    5. 5. Separate fact from fiction
    6. 6. “…rankings are believed to be one of the most important considerations for students choosing where to study, above fees and even course content” 6 Evening Standard, March 2014
    7. 7. Thinking vs Doing 7 What happens when students are forced to trade off the various characteristics associated with teaching quality? Notes: *Six months after graduation Source: International Student Survey 2014 (n=13.8K) Conjoint analysis reveals how students trade off elements of teaching quality Q: When thinking about teaching quality, how important or unimportant are the following factors? Please rate on a scale of 1-7 where 1= Not at all important and 7= Very important 77% 77% 74% 71% 71% 70% 65% 65% 64% 57% 53% 42% 36% 32% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 AcademicRanking SubjectRanking StudentSatisfaction UsefTech TuitionFees AcademicProfileof Lecturers LinkswithEmployers QualityofFacilities %ofStudentsin Employment TeachingHoursPer Week Staff:StudentRatio AvailabilityofMOOCs HighEntry Requirements AgeofInstitution %Selecting6or7 Factors Selected for Conjoint Analysis What they Say
    8. 8. 8 A somewhat different picture… Attribute Importance 24.6 22.8 20.9 14.7 9.5 7.60 10 20 30 Annual Tuition Fees Subject Ranking University Ranking % Students in Employment Teaching Hours Per Week Student Satisfaction £5K Score: 119 £8K Score: 117 £20K Score: 13 £11K Score: 101 £14K Score: 76 £17K Score: 40 Importance UtilityScore What they Do
    9. 9. Understand the nuances
    10. 10. “While reputational rankings do impart useful data - there are meaningful differences between schools in first and 10th position, for instance, and between 10th and 100th - small annual movements up or down are largely meaningless. Pay them no mind” 10 Alex Usher, President of Higher Education Strategy Associates
    11. 11. 11 Small movements can matter Notes: *Six months after graduation Source: International Student Survey 2014 (n=13.8K) Attribute Importance 24.6 22.8 20.9 14.7 9.5 7.60 10 20 30 Annual Tuition Fees Subject Ranking University Ranking % Students in Employment Teaching Hours Per Week Student Satisfaction Top 20% Score: 110 21-40% Score: 86 41-60% Score: 81 61-80% Score:74 Bottom 20% Score: 8 Importance UtilityScore
    12. 12. Attribute Importance Focus on subject ranking? 12 24.6 22.8 20.9 14.7 9.5 7.6 0 10 20 30 Subject Ranking University Ranking Top 20% Score: 119 21-40% Score: 94 41-60% Score:89 61-80% Score: 82 Importance Bottom 20% Score: 10 UtilityScore
    13. 13. Information into action
    14. 14. “Information is not knowledge” 14 Albert Einstein
    15. 15. 15 What will impact you most? Do you know where you are strongest? Do potential students care about your message? Are you charging the right fees? Do you understand the type of student you attract? What impact would climbing 5 league places have? Do you focus enough on top ranked subjects? Can you justify your focus?
    16. 16. Insight: what do you have already? How do you use it? What more do you need? Focus: how well do you know your university, your competitors, your students and the market? Challenge: does what you do today work? Where could you have greater impact? Why do you do what you do? 16 Right back to the beginning
    17. 17. So what?
    18. 18. 18 Something useful (I hope!) 1. Lead marketing with what you rank highly in, whether that‟s subject or university – especially if you are in the top quintile 2. Student satisfaction doesn’t drive choice. Reprioritise marketing around ranking and cost 3. Unless you are in the top quintile either overall or for a subject, large student segments are not available. The segments that are available are in Africa, South Asia and Brazil Focus on your positives!
    19. 19. Thanks