Agents are bad, universities are good: discuss...

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Sandra Elliott, Director, Communications and International Relations Division, Cardiff University; Vincenzo Raimo, Director, International Office, University of Nottingham

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Agents are bad, universities are good: discuss...

  1. 1. Agents are bad, universities are good: discuss … Vincenzo Raimo Director, International Office Enzo@espressoHEUUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 1Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  2. 2. Agenda • context: worldwide competition & the changing UK higher education landscape • what are agents and why do we use them? • choosing partners • the agent – university partnership • the changing role of agents • international student income & recruitment costs • regulatory frameworks and the „London Statement‟ • conclusions & recommendationsUUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 2Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  3. 3. International Student Recruitment: The Big Picture (Long-term growth in the number of students enrolled outside their country of citizenship) 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2008 0.8m 1.1m 1.1m 1.3m 1.7m 2m 2.9m 3.3m Source: OECD and UNESCO Institute for Statistics.UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 3Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  4. 4. New International Students in UK HEIs 2002/03 - 2011/12 300000 250000 200000 Other 150000 UG PGT PGR 100000 50000 0 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 4Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  5. 5. Trends in International Education Market Shares (Percentage of all foreign students enrolled by destination) Market share (%) 30 2007 2007 OECD 2000 Partner 25 countries 2000 countries 20 15 10 5 0 Austria Belgium China Canada2 Netherlands France Italy Other OECD countries Japan Korea Germany Australia1 New Zealand Spain South Africa Switzerland Other partner United States1 United Kingdom1 Sweden Russian Federation countries Source: OECD – Education at a Glance, 2009UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 5Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  6. 6. what are you doing now? in own country 9% not in PG other UK study university 51% 29% in a different country 11%UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 6Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  7. 7. UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 7Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  8. 8. UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 8Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  9. 9. What are (export) agents & why do we use them? “Export agents act on your behalf by introducing you to overseas customers. They charge a commission – usually between 2.5% and 15%”. https://www.gov.uk/export-agentsUUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 9Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  10. 10. What are (export) agents & why do we use them? An export agent can also help: • give you information and contacts for overseas markets • identify and make the most of opportunities overseas • cut the cost of setting up your own offices overseas and recruiting and training your own employees to work there And all while allowing you to keep more control over your product (or service) e.g. the final price, brand image (when compared with using a distributor) https://www.gov.uk/export-agentsUUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 10Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  11. 11. Why do we use agents? They’re effective in helping us to meet volume, income and other student recruitment related targets. • by giving us access to markets that we find difficult to recruit from directly (e.g. Nigeria, Pakistan) • because in some markets it‟s a normal expectation for prospective students to use an agent or educational counselling service (e.g. Taiwan, India) And because we believe that we can‟t achieve our targets, effectively, by working on our own directlyUUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 11Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  12. 12. UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 12Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  13. 13. UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 13Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  14. 14. UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 14Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  15. 15. Choosing Partners• well established• track record of success• partners who need us• Longer term potential versus immediate delivery• Balancing strategic selection versus opportunism“a (wo)man is known by the company (s)he keeps”
  16. 16. Choosing partners• Do they have authority to enter into proposed agreements? Are they licenced?• Do they have the physical and human resources to deliver?• Are they financial sound? Do they have the resources to deliver on commitments?• Do they share your vision?• etc., etc., etc.
  17. 17. The University brand was keyUUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 17Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  18. 18. The University brand was key Agents: • were at best an extension of a small number of universities‟ brands • they generally provided their services to students free And universities: • paid direct marketing costs and commission (usually 10%) a partnership but where the Universities’ brands were keyUUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 18Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  19. 19. UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 19Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  20. 20. Have agents’ brands overshadowed those of the universities they represent? 優質海外教育 服務 Uni Education Advisory ServicesUUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 20Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  21. 21. UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 21Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  22. 22. UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 22Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  23. 23. UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 23Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  24. 24. But what does it cost to recruit international students? Source: AUIDF 2012 International Office Costs Analysis http://cunningham.acer.edu.au/inted/AIEC2012AUIDFResearchPaper.pdf Average UK university costs: 9.3% of international tuition fee income Source: SPRE/ Hobsons UK Universities benchmarking 2006/07UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 24Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  25. 25. UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 25Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  26. 26. UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 26Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  27. 27. Regulatory frameworks, The London Statement and the British CouncilUUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 27Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  28. 28. British Council Agent Training Certificate aims to confer on suitably trained and experienced education agents/ advisors ‘British Council trained agent status’ Benefits to agents: • international recognition • listing of details on BC trained Agent List • certificate to displayUUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 28Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  29. 29. The London Statement Seven principles aimed at agents: • practice responsible business ethics • provide current accurate and honest information in an ethical manner • develop transparent business relationships with students and providers through the use of written agreements • protect the interests of minors • provide current and up-to-date information that enables international students to make informed choices when selecting which agent or consultant to employ • act professionally • work with destination countries to raise the ethical standards and best practiceUUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 29Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  30. 30. Conclusions, Recommendations & (some) Questions Is your work with agents consistent with the values of the UKCISA Code of Ethics? Does it meet the requirements outlined in the QAA Guidance on international students? Would you be happy to publish on your web site the names of all of those organisations and individuals (agents, school counsellors, schools, etc.) to whom you pay commission (as per the QAA Guidance)? And for those that pay commission to Schools, how would you feel if your son or daughter was at a school where the advice on university applications was influenced by which universities pay that school a fee rather than which was the most appropriate university for them? How far are you willing to go and how much are you willing to pay to beat the competition?UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 30Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  31. 31. Or is it time for a more radical rethink of how we work with agents if we’re to avoid the scandal of commission based mis- selling that’s taken place in other sectors?UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 31Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  32. 32. Or are we already too late?UUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 32Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  33. 33. Agents are bad, universities are good: discuss … vincenzo.raimo@nottingham.ac.uk Enzo@espressoHEUUK International Higher Education Vincenzo Raimo: Agents are bad, universities are 33Forum, 17 April 2013 good: discuss
  34. 34. Working with AgentsSandra Elliott, Director Communications andInternational Relations Cardiff University17 April 2013
  35. 35. Cardiff University and Agents• Longstanding relationships• 45 agents in 39 countries• Standard commission rates• Listings on website by country
  36. 36. New Agents• Ask for references and business case• Due diligence• One year contract initially• Annual reviews of performance• Training and support
  37. 37. Reputation and AgentsDaily Telegraph story26 June 2012
  38. 38. The Story – 26 June 2012● Golden Arrow offering places for A Level students from China at lower entry than UK students● International students taking the place of UK students● Assistance with personal statement● Allegations of “doctoring” of visa documentation● First call to press office circa 10am 25 June
  39. 39. The Questions• Why are Chinese students being offered places at Cardiff with grades that are lower than what are published on your website?• How many students from Golden Arrow study at Cardiff each year?• How many of these students achieve the grades advertised on your website?• What is the relationship between Cardiff University and Golden Arrow? Does Cardiff pay Golden Arrow to recruit students?• Are Cardiff University aware that Golden Arrow would offer to draft personal statements for students?• What checks do you carry out on Golden Arrow?
  40. 40. What happened next?• Response to DT and statement approved• Direct contact with Tony Ji – CEO , Golden Arrow• Other media interest – national and local – Good Morning Wales Radio – BBC Wales Today (PVC Education interviewed) – ITV Wales – Newyddion – Times Higher Education – Western Mail – Huffington Post – Daily Mail – BBC Network News – Capital FM Radio• Briefing for HEFCW and Welsh Government• Support from UUK and RG Communications teams• Internal Communications
  41. 41. Western Mail – 28 June
  42. 42. The Follow UpInstigated a review of Golden Arrow activities Entry criteria to Cardiff University for A level students Variation in entry criteria between international students and home/EU students Fees charged to prospective students in China for advice from Golden Arrow Support for writing personal statements for applicants Visa adviceGolden Arrow actions Immediate internal investigation Two members of staff left Further training with support from the British Council and the UKBA on visa issues
  43. 43. The Lessons● Agent Contracts● Agent Training● Manage risk - monitor activity of agents● Reduce exposure to agents
  44. 44. Any questions/comments?

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