This article is part two of my ‘top ten key performance areas’ series (if you missed part one, you can catch it here). This two-part series explains why you need to be conducting regular health checks on your school’s international education program and introduces you to my ‘top ten key performance areas’ across the four pillars of a successful international education program – Student Experience, Marketing, Compliance and Administration and, finally, Budget and Profitability. I covered pillars one and two (Student Experience and Marketing) in part one – today I’ll build on those two pillars to include pillars three and four: Compliance and Administration and, finally, Budget and Profitability.
Section three: Compliance and Administration
6. Government compliance
◾ Is your government compliance in order?
◾ Would your international education programs survive a government compliance audit at this point in time?
7. Must-have document templates
◾ Do you have your suite of must-have document templates ready to go?
◾ If you’re not sure what you need to include in your suite of must-have document templates, send me an email and I’ll get right back to you.
8. Agent management
◾ Are you managing your international education agents or are they managing you?
◾ Do you have effective agent management processes in place?
Section four: Budget and Profitability
◾ Have your projected your revenue and expenses for the next 12 months?
◾ Have you accounted for peak and trough activity during this time?
◾ Does your budget indicate that your school’s international program will generate a profit for your school over the next 12 months?
◾ If not, how can you tweak your revenue and expenses to ensure your program is profitable?
◾ Last year, one of our clients made over $100 000 profit from one international marketing event with us. See how we did it in this international education case study.
You can download and print my top-ten international education checklist to get started with your school’s first international education health check today. The old management saying ‘what gets measured gets managed’ is true – and by identifying the strengths and weaknesses in your school’s international education program you’ll be better placed to play to your strengths while working on those areas that need some improvement.
Diversity, Diversity, Diversity……
This is our Australian Independent and Private Schools message to our client schools.
Through our marketing events we can assist your school to diversify your international cohort. This not only benefits your local students but the international student as well.
We often hear our client schools tell us they want to diversify their International cohort and add the richness to their programs that many cultures can bring. However, in the next breath they tell me they are not prepared to meet the market that they wish to enter.
Australian Independent and Private Schools has been marketing in non-traditional ‘schools’ markets for the last 8 years we have developed valued connections and built trusted relationships with agents and government departments in these regions.
Our Principal Education Consultant, Brian Savins, recently met with qualified, professional Education Agents and conducted agent seminars and training with agent partners in Mexico and Colombia. Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico with a dynamic export economy and growing socio-economic wealth, making this region an excellent prospect for recruitment of international students from Latin America.
Reflected recently in Austrade 11 April 2018 MIP:
“Latin America’s market share of total onshore commencements increased from 9% in 2015 to 11% in 2017. Brazil and Colombia are the largest Latin American markets, the only two non-indo-Pacific markets in the top 10 source markets for international students. Enrollments from these countries have almost doubled in five years to over 70,000 enrolments.”
Our message to you is to ‘meet the market’, be prepared to offer alternate programs and products that encourage diversity in your schools. How do you do this, I hear you ask?
Australian Private Schools are taking enrolments for students for one term or more and applications for our boutique customised group tours.
Please find links below for our student and boutique customised group tour request forms, please complete and send to us as soon as possible take advantage of exceptional exchange rates and the low Australian dollar.
Running a profitable international education program takes expert skill across many areas. Before you start writing your school’s new international education program, our top tips will help you on your way.
Give students a high quality international education experience
The most successful international education providers pride themselves on the number of repeat bookings they achieve. To remain competitive, you need to keep attracting international students year after year – and to do this, you need to give your visitors a high quality international education experience that leaves them wanting to come back. The international education experience that you deliver needs to showcase how awesome it is to be a student at your school in Australia. Start by focusing your efforts on developing a high quality short stay study tour program of up to five days in duration. Once you’ve run the short stay program a few times it will become obvious to you which parts of your program the students enjoy most. Keep tweaking your short stay program, and add some longer program options, to keep attracting students year in and year out.
Do the numbers ahead of time
Before you start writing your school’s first international education program, take a look at your school budget and work out how much you’re prepared to invest in getting the program up and running. Consider how much of your budget you will allocate to staff, marketing, travel and activities for your international students to participate in once they’re here. Next, divide your program budget by the number of students you are aiming to attract in order to work out your average cost per student. Once you’ve established your average cost per student, you are better placed to establish what your program fees need to be (average cost per student plus your best-case-scenario profit margin). Start by hosting small groups of short-stay students before ramping up to larger groups of longer-stay students to minimise the risk of blowing your budge … and this brings us to our next tip – testing new international markets to find out the cost per student before investing heavily in marketing.
Test new markets before investing heavily
As you are getting your international education program up and running, it’s likely that you will be operating on a limited budget while you recoup your start-up expenses and work your way towards profitability. During this critical start-up phase, joint venture marketing can offer you cost-effective entry to international markets by allowing you to share associated marketing expenses with a small group of non-competing schools. Our joint venture marketing events give you the opportunity to test the waters of new international markets before investing heavily in that location. If you’re interested in finding out about our upcoming joint venture opportunities, please get in touch with us.
Respect international customs and business etiquette
If you’re planning on running your school’s new international education department internally, it’s important that you educate your staff in the customs and business etiquette of the international market you’re targeting. Unfortunately it can take a long time to build up international goodwill – but it can be lost very quickly if you don’t understand your client.
Call in the experts
Building and running a profitable international education program takes expert knowledge across many areas. The top performing international education departments in Australia have years of experience in dealing with international customs and business etiquette, leveraging international currency rates to their best advantage, allocating their international marketing budgets to ensure maximum return on investment and running exciting international education programs that result in repeat bookings and referrals. Here at Australian International Student Tours, we work hard to cultivate excellent relationships with the best education agents and school leaders across the globe and have a proven track record in running profitable international education programs for our clients. If you need a little advice or support along the way, please don’t hesitate to call in the experts (us)!