Selecting And Using Education Agents
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Selecting And Using Education Agents

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how to work with student recruitment and education agents, identifying and selecting reliable agents, how to manage agents, financial & legal issues

how to work with student recruitment and education agents, identifying and selecting reliable agents, how to manage agents, financial & legal issues

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Selecting And Using Education Agents Selecting And Using Education Agents Presentation Transcript

  • Selecting & using agents Thijs van Vugt iE&D Solutions BV / StudyWorld thijs@ied-solutions.com ENZ Workshops, Auckland & Christchurch March 2009 All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Set-up  Agents: the pros and cons?  Selection of agents – the good , the bad and the ugly  Legal and financial aspects  Managing and motivating agents  Agents and your strategy  Examples All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Who or what are agents? All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Who or what are agents?  Over 35,000 agencies operating worldwide, offering a comprehensive portfolio of services  Undoubtedly a minefield, with education specialists, language, migration, visa & travel agents all vying for your business Institution representatives Outsourced IO tasks Individuals Private companies Government bodies Others  Agencies are now a commonly accepted form of promotion & recruitment – some agencies in Asia have been established for 25 years All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Advantages of agents  Penetration into new markets  Local market knowledge on demand, language and culture  Local presence: 24/7  Specialised student counselling  Added value: follow up of enquiries (also after fair attendance)  Measurable results  Increase in student numbers  90% of something is more than 100% of nothing (Price, 2005) All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Disadvantages of agents  No direct control  Lower income  Your institution’s reputation may be at stake  Ethics: mixing the public function of an institution with the recruitment of students on a commercial basis by the agent  Agents are one of the most cost effective methods of local representation, but not simply on the basis of “no cure, no pay” All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Some remarks  Agents are only one of many channels to reach and recruit students: Education Fairs Advertising: internet, printed media, radio & TV Direct mail Seminars Scholarships, fee waivers, etc. Etc.  Agents must form an integral part of an integrated strategy  How many agents do I need?  Spread your risks, more then one agent per market  … but not too many either, because of time management, and possible tensions between your partners All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Selection of agents: the good, the bad and the ugly  Crucial to match Agents with markets – they are not appropriate everywhere  Locating an Agent is easy – they come to you! From: KATHMANDU [mailto:kathmandu@gispl.com] Subject: Enquiry about the Tilburg University CONSULTANCY CENTRE FOR OVERSEAS EDUCATION Kamalpokhari, Post Box No. 2000, Kathmandu, Nepal. Phone: 4422888 / 4426888, Fax: 00977-1-4423456 / 4420000, E-mail: kathmandu@gispl.com Dear Sirs, We are very glad to inform you that we are one of the educational consultancies based in Kathmandu-the capital city of Nepal. It would be very appreciable if we could get detail information regarding the university and the other procedures or the admissions. We definitely hope the positive cooperation from your side. Thank you. Yours truly, Sarita Gurung Secretary All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Selection of agents: the good, the bad and the ugly (2)  An ever increasing supply of so-called agent workshops (ICEF, ALPHE, Langton, WEBA, etc.)  Finding a good & reliable agent is less easy & is reliant on a range of factors references & existing clients quality of communication quality of marketing material the numbers of student using the agent’s services the agent’s professionalism etc. All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • The right match?  Which other (NZ or comparable) school does the agent work for? How successful?  Why does an agent want to work with your institution?  English proficiency? Professional communication?  Good website & corporate communication?  Transparent methods, procedures, fees?  Access to the ultimate decision maker?  Are expectations realistic, consistent with your strategy?  Does it click? All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • What makes a good agent? Dos and don’ts  Knowledge of local market  Knowledge of local education system or willingness to acquire that knowledge  Willingness to accept the Code of Practice  Good contacts with local schools, institutions, relevant government, embassies, etc  Knowledge of & expertise in marketing & communication  Years experience  Honest & open All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • What makes a bad agent? Dos and don’ts  False or misleading comparisons between programmes of various providers  False or misleading promotion of recruitment activities  Incorrect presentation of connections with other institutions  Incorrect or unfair advice concerning admission to certain programmes  Promises concerning permanent residence in your country or pointing out illegal actions to achieve permanent residence (e.g. fake marriage)  Suggest that the status of fulltime student may serve as cover for other activities or to help people wanting to undertake activities other than study All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Various modi operandi Direct:  The institution determines the plan of activities  The agent supports the activities and strategy of the institution Indirect:  The agent gets own marketing budget and the freedom to spend it - need for clear agreement on results, etc. All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Finance  How much an agent costs depends on your objectives  Most agents work on a commission fee basis (10-20%)  And/or a fixed fee, or a service fee from the student  In exchange they promote your institution as part of their portfolio, nothing more: you’re on the shelf!  To get noticed, you need more:  Be willing to give your agents a marketing budget so they can advertise, organise seminars, visit fairs, etc.  Direct control vs indirect control (retainer)  Payment: after the student has paid tuition fees All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Finance (2)  Marketing fees:  Fixed amount per year  Per activity (advertisement, fair, seminar, etc.)  Package of services All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Legal aspects  Make clear what you expect of the agent: Role, rights & duties of BOTH parties Finance and payments Monitoring & evaluation What are the criteria for success  How to deal if things go bad and how to terminate the contract  Duration of the contract  Conditions  Exclusivity (NOT!) All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Legal aspects (2)  Signatories must advise recruitment agents that their agreement may be terminated for breach of the Code by the agent. This must be stated in any written agreement between a signatory and an agent. The institution remains responsible for the admission of the student.  In case recruitment or service fees are owed to the agent, the agreement should clearly stipulate by whom these costs are to be paid to the agent. The international student needs to be clearly informed about this All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Agents management  Start with a training of your agents  Produce a so-called agent’s manual  Visit your agent regularly (= min. 1 x per year)  Make an agent feel wanted and special: respond quickly to emails, etc.  Frequent communication, e.g. agents e-news  Annual evaluation  If you have many agents: develop a loyalty programme (gold, silver, bronze)  Above all: don’t sit back and wait for the students to come! All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Agents management (2) All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Agents management (3) All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Agents training  Knowledge of the institution (history, structure, facilities, etc.)  Knowledge of the products/programmes  Knowledge of the admissions requirements  Knowledge of the admissions procedures (deadlines, documents needed, etc.)  Tour of facilities and environment  Updating on new developments (for existing agents)  How would you like your institution presented, positioned and represented  NB: pay for travel & subsistence!! All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Agents & your strategy  Be willing to see agents as partners  Let the agent develop or assist in the development of a strategy in country X and make them responsible for the implementation, e.g.: Market analysis: trends & developments, competitor analysis, student surveys, etc. Advise on communication channels (web, printed, fairs), timing All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Agents & you How to become the agent’s priority:  Respond quickly to agent’s questions  Sufficient supply of RELEVANT marketing material  Frequent visits  Speedy processing of applications  Timely payment of commissions  Joint marketing efforts: willingness to pay All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Example 1: agent Market research & analysis Mainly Study Abroad 140 10 120 100 1 0 6 Others 80 New Zealand 60 120 91 94 88 USA & Canada 40 Australia 20 0 2006 2007 2008 2009* All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Example 2: HEI 1 NZ HEI recruiting in Holland. Aim: 5 students/year; 1-2 in year 1 Sample budget:  StudyWorld Vermeer marketing package: € 500 per year  A basic institution profile on the StudyWorld website  Inclusion in the StudyWorld brochure  Travel / subsistence in Europe: € 500  StudyWorld seminar in Holland: € 500  Participation in Scope on the Globe with ENZ: free  Total costs Dutch market: € 1,500 (excl commissions) All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Example 3: HEI 2 AUS HEI recruiting in Holland. Aim: 3-5 students/year Sample budget:  StudyWorld Rembrandt marketing package: € 2,000 per year  An extensive institution profile** on the StudyWorld website  Inclusion in the StudyWorld brochure  A one-time logo in the StudyWorld E-Newsletter (each month)  A one time item in the StudyWorld E-Newsletter (each month)  A one-time news item on the StudyWorld website (for three months)  Travel / subsistence in Europe: € 2,000  Total costs Dutch market: € 4,000 (excl commissions) All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Example 4: HEI 3 Summary of Marketing Expenses (excl commission) 7-8 students from Holland Travel Internet Registration Costs Freight Total Studyworld (Rembrandt Package) € 1.261,52 € 1.261,52 Masterbeurs 1 € 1.513,83 € 756,91 € 403,69 € 2.674,43 PEC (Scope on the Globe) 2 € 908,30 € 176,61 € 151,38 € 1.236,29 € 1.261,52 € 2.422,12 € 933,53 € 555,07 € 5.172,24 Avg cost/student: AUD 1,350 / EUR 670 1 Travel costs based on 4 days accommodation & expenses for a 2-week European trip & & 29% of a European Airfare 2 Expected costs based on shared arrangement between 4 WA Universities. Costs include internet advertising. All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Example 5: Agent markets for boarding school  Korea, China:  Full programme to enter top universities in US and UK  Building a network takes at least a year  Price: US$ 35k and upwards  Commission: 10-15% (of which 5% for subcontracted agents)  Visit at least once a year  China: • provide good ESL • Shanghai completely different from Beijing (open vs more political and poor English) All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Example 5 continued  Brazil:  ½ -1 year experience abroad, w/ host family  Price: US$ 30k max.  Commission: 10-15% (of which 5% for subcontracted agents)  Ecuador, Colombia:  Normally go to Canada since much cheaper, yet too cold  Price US$ 20k – US$ 30k  Underdeveloped markets, so initially low numbers All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Agent markets for boarding school (cont.)  Expenses:  Attendance @ ICEF workshops for 1 year: > EUR 15,000  Travel: & subsistence EUR 15,000  Preparation of workshops: EUR 25,000  Initial aim: 130 students @ US$ 38,000 (US$ 4,940,000; EUR 3,800,000)  Commissions (15%): EUR 570,000  Revenue -/- expenses: All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Conclusions: 10 golden rules  Ensure that the use of agents will integrate and complement your wider marketing and recruitment strategy.  Brief all those members of staff whose work will be affected by the actions of the agents: admissions staff, international office staff and other support staff.  Due diligence: ensure that any agent you contract is reliable, reputable and responsive. Gather references and peer reviews for each agent you are considering to sign on.  Sign a contract with your agent, specifying the rights and obligations of both parties, ensuring that you eventually are in control, i.e. able to terminate the contract whenever the agent has crossed the line  Build a lasting relationship with your agent by investing time and money in the agent: visit your agents, invite them to your campus for familiarisation and training All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • Conclusions: 10 golden rules (2)  Ensure that you are able to spend more than just the commission, i.e. marketing money for specific marketing activities.  Provide your agent with a manual about your institution, the admissions process, student accommodation, etc.  Be willing to (re)direct enquirers to your agent, since they are much better at following-up than you.  Follow-up accurately and as quickly as possible on any applications that your agent provides you with.  Remember: 90% of something is a lot more than 100% of nothing (Price, 2005) All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV
  • StudyWorld Seminars  8 April: study in Oz and NZ  13 May: Business s studies All materials strictly copyright © iE&D Solutions® BV