Key resources for marketing and recruitment: professionals weigh in

Key resources for marketing and recruitment: professionals weigh in

Today on the EAIE blog, we hear from three marketing and recruitment experts working in different national contexts. They are: Aisling Tiernan, who works across Europe, the Middle East and Africa; Andrew Disbury, who is based in the UK and works internationally; and Joanna Kumpula, who is active in Finland. They spill their secrets about the various resources available for international marketing professionals looking to stay up-to-date with today’s hectic international student recruitment and marketing sector. As well as sharing some of their own preferred resources, they tell us about that one key thing they all do. Who better to learn from than the pros?

Aisling Tiernan

Aisling Tiernan is Marketing Manager for ETS’ TOEFL iBT® and GRE® tests across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She works both with higher education institutions and students. In terms of marketing intelligence, Aisling has managed to find a few good resources to help her stay up to date:

“OECD provides quality data analyses and I particularly like their annual Education at a Glance report which gives some good insight on student mobility trends. I’m also an ACA fan! I really like their seminars as well as the variety of topics they research and report on.”

Aisling believes that some of the better resources also come from sharing and collaboration, when universities, organisations and other stakeholders in higher education join forces to create something great. An example of this that she has found helpful in her work is IIE’s English-Taught Master’s Programs in Europe.

“This is a reliable, valuable report using data from a variety of sources over the years, to show us the significant growth and thus rise in competition in this area when it comes to marketing and recruitment.”

Andrew Disbury

Andrew Disbury, Director of the International Office at Leeds Beckett University, is particularly enthusiastic about national resources and services available to him and his colleagues working in the UK:

“The British Council’s Services for International Education Marketing offer subscription services to promote UK education institutions overseas, as well as education intelligence services that can be subscribed to generically or commissioned in the form of consultancy. Most higher education institutions belong to the British Universities International Liaison Association, which acts as a sector body for lobbying government, commissioning research, and providing training in international student recruitment. There is the Higher Education International Unit, jointly funded by the four nations of the UK, which supports education policy and opportunity development with foreign governments, organises high-level missions, and provides well-regarded web resources. And other sector bodies such as UKCISA, the Council for International Student Affairs, provide important intelligence and training events, as well as participating in lobbying of government on student-led issues!”

Joanna Kumpula

Joanna Kumpula, previously project manager at University Admissions Finland (UAF), is now consulting for institutions. She finds online resources valuable, in particular when it feels like you are far away from anyone else working in the field:

“If you have limited resources – be it time or money – online trainings and webinars are a great resource! World Education Services provides free webinars on both country profiles and trends in international student mobility worldwide. And if you are just learning about the field, or feel like you need to better understand the fundamentals of content marketing, you can head to – a LinkedIn company that provides online courses.”

The value of peers

Aside from the aforementioned marketing and recruitment resources, our trio of experts agrees that it’s not all in books and websites. In Joanna’s experience, for instance, using online resources alone does not keep her in touch with news in the field. She stresses the need for going ‘out there’ and talking to international colleagues, particular as her national context is not currently the most conducive to peer exchanges:

“In Finland, there are basically no national resources for market intelligence in recruitment and very few possibilities for networking with colleagues in the field.”

Although Joanna is hoping to turn the situation in Finland around very soon, she finds that professional associations and the activities they organise, such as conferences and seminars, offer a good option for those in higher education marketing and recruitment to network and learn the latest in the field. Aisling also relates to this:

“Despite the rapid pace of technological change, not to mention the speed at which we all adapt to new online tools, and regularly ‘just’ use new apps, read blogs, update social media – there’s a lot to be said for talking to each other and interacting in person. And for this, we still need quality conferences and face-to-face events.”

There are a lot of resources out there! The good news is that there is something to cater for everyone’s needs and styles when it comes to keeping up to date with the field. Whether you are after the data and the trends, the local resources or maybe the fun and quirky ones like Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter or videos, you will be able to find your match. One resource we certainly have in common, as three professionals spanning an array of marketing and recruitment roles in higher education, is the value of our peers. Andrew sums it up pretty well when he says that some of his most novel ideas have come from networking and learning opportunities at conferences in the field:

“Attending conferences at home or abroad always gives me two things: one new good idea, that I will implement when I get home; and one new buddy, with whom I will stay in touch for years to come.”

Aisling Tiernan
Maastricht University, the NetherlandsAisling Tiernan is an advisor on internationalisation and has worked in this capacity as a Senior Policy Advisor for three years at Maastricht University.