The first green shoots of post-COVID recovery are starting to appear in the international education market. The situation and government policies vary between the main destination markets, but for the first time in a long time there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Educational institutions around the world – and in particular their in-house international student recruitment teams – are now working to ensure that they can enrol international students as soon as possible. For many, education agents will likely play an important part in their recovery.

In a recent post we predicted that the use of education agents will soar in the COVID recovery phase.

The key requirement of an effective international student recruitment channel built on education agents is – to state the obvious – a network of education agents. Educational institutions that had an education agent strategy in place pre-COVID will have an education agent network in place, but may want to grow or refresh it. Institutions that have not previously used agents, or not seriously, will likely need to grow their education agent network substantially and quickly.

If you are looking to build or grow your education agent network quickly, you have three main options:

  1. Use a ‘traditional’ , event based, education agent fair
  2. Use an online 24/7/365 education agent recruitment solution, and/or
  3. Work with a ‘master agent’ or agent aggregator.

Let’s briefly look at each option.

1. Traditional education agent fairs

Prior to COVID, face-to-face education agent recruitment fairs were common. Typically these are held in convention centres in the key international education source and destination markets. The biggest player in this market is ICEF, but other providers like WEBA also offer a great option.

During COVID, companies offering traditional education agent fairs have developed online options, but typically still event-based, bringing institutions and agents together online – over Zoom etc – at a specific date and time.

As the first signs of COVID recovery start to appear these providers are moving back to their preferred format of face-to-face events. For example, ICEF is promoting its event in Australia scheduled for early April 2021. At the time of writing, Australia’s international borders effectively remain closed, so ICEF is clearly hoping that the situation will have changed by the time its event comes around.

What are the pros and cons of event-based education agent recruitment?


ProsCons
Meet agents face-to-face and develop personal relationships.Significant up-front registration fees.
Select events to target specific markets or regions.Travel and time out of the office to attend.
Pre-screened agents limits “time wasters”.No guarantee of the number of new agents you will recruit.
No guarantee that the agents you do recruit will refer students.

2. Online 24/7/365 solution

An alternative to the event-based education agent recruitment services described above is an online education agent recruitment solution that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

AgentBee’s online solution enables educational institutions, master agents, and international education service providers, to recruit agents without having to leave the office.

Our clients get access to our global network of over 11,000 education agents to start building their own network quickly. Our easy-to-use IT platform enables clients to manage the agent assessment and on-boarding process quickly, and provides detailed agent information and business intelligence to support informed decision making.

AgentBee’s success based pricing model means there is $0/zero upfront investment required. Clients are only charged when they form productive business relationships with new agents.

What are the pros and cons of an online education agent recruitment solution?


ProsCons
$0/zero upfront investment required.No early face-to-face contact with agents.
Detailed info on agents to support recruitment decisions.Institution must provide its own system to engage with agents and support student recruitment.
Save time – no need to attend set-piece online or face-to-face events.

If you’d like to find out more about AgentBee’s education agent recruitment solution, please click the relevant link below:

3. Master agents

“Master agents” – sometimes called “super agents” or “agent aggregators” – are businesses that focus on building large lists of both client educational institutions and education agents (called “sub-agents” in this context), and then providing a technology solution to link those groups and support international student recruitment.

In a recent post we discussed the rise of the master/super agent model.

Linking up with a master agent can be a good way to quickly start recruiting students through education agents, but there are pros and cons:


ProsCons
Quick way to get started using agents.No direct contact with “sub-agents” so limited ability to build relationships.
Benefit from the master agent’s IT platform.The model relies on a large number of clients. Your institution may get lost in the crowd.
Save time – no need to attend set-piece online or face-to-face events.Potential risk of rogue or unprofessional agents if the master agent is not properly training and monitoring sub-agents.

Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash