recruiting new education agents
Mackenzie Zak – Ustudy Global

Last week Mackenzie Zak, the Director of Global Operations at one of our member agents, Ustudy Global, posted on Linkedin about her experience when reaching out to some new university contacts.

She focused her post on the screenshot below of an email response from one of the universities she contacted:

Mackenzie explained that the email highlights some common mistakes and misconceptions about recruiting new education agents:

1. The more agents I sign, the more students I’ll have.

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    There's no sense in having hundreds of contracts if nothing is coming from them. Spend your time wisely with agents who express an interest in you!

2. I’ll sign an agreement with a great agent, I don’t have to do anything but wait for the students to roll in.

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    When you sign an agency, look at it as a partnership. Great agents work with many schools, why should you expect them to put you at the top of their list?

3. I expect at least one student from the agent before establishing an agreement or having a call.

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    With no previous interaction, how can you expect the agent to deliver utilizing this tactic?

4. Signing agents is the cheapest way to recruit students. I only pay if they deliver.

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    Hear your agents out. See how they work. How can you maximize the partnership?

5. If other schools get students from agents, I can too.

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    Every institution is different. You need to first recognize your strengths as well as challenges in order to design a realistic approach.

Mackenzie’s analysis is spot on.

The other really concerning aspect of the approach taken by the institution Mackenzie provided is a complete failure by the institution to consider or manage the risks associated with education agents. Good agents (like Ustudy Global) will help you reach your international student recruitment goals.  Bad agents will hurt prospective students and your brand. Strong due diligence on agent professionalism and performance at the start of and (importantly) throughout the relationship with an agent is an absolute must. 

It is understandable why some institutions take the ‘send us a few students and then we’ll talk about an agency agreement’ approach when recruiting new education agents. It means they get to push downstream some of the big administration burden – i.e. settling an agreement with an agent – until they know there is a good chance that they are investing that time in an agent who is going to produce results. So you can kind of see how it feels more efficient for a stretched in-house recruitment team with little time to deal with agents.

In fact it is a dangerous false economy laden with risk. In one sentence the institution above has just authorized an agent to recruit students for them. Where are the controls?  Where is the discussion and mutual understanding about obligations and service standards? Has there been any check at all on the agent’s performance and credentials?

There are lots of bad news stories about education agents. In all cases students are hurt and the institution takes a reputation hit. The institution mentioned mentioned above, and others that take the same approach in recruiting education agents, are asking for trouble.

AgentBee offers a free education agent recruitment and monitoring solution for universities, colleges and schools that want to build and manage an education agent network based on professionalism, integrity and transparency.


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