“FPP is not changing the concept of student recruitment fairs, it’s just changing the way they are done,” said Julio Ronchetti, FPP founder and president.
“Reaching these students through technology, is equivalent to visiting them at their home”
Over the previous two decades, in person events have proved successful, but a new generation of students that have grown up surrounded by technology require new recruitment methods, it suggested. The pandemic has also shown the sector what is possible.
“Reaching these students through technology is equivalent to visiting them at their home, in their comfort zone,” FPP said.
The data collected through virtual events also makes it easier to analyse and understand recruitment events and follow up with interested students in a more effective manner, FPP contended.
A survey the company ran of more than 24,000 students across Africa, India and Latin America in 2020 found that 86% of students would attend a virtual event, provided they have the opportunity to speak with representatives from international institutions.
In 2019, the company hosted over 160 in person events in 55 cities in 25 countries, with more than 290,000 students in attendance.
However, the switch to exclusively virtual is not a snap decision, the company said. It has been working with digital events over the previous nine years, hosting its first in 2012 and launching a virtual platform in 2016.
“FPP believes that virtual events offer a cost effective way to reach students all over the world, from the largest cities to the smallest towns, democratising opportunities for students and institutions alike,” the company said.
“Not only can an exhibitor reach a much wider audience, but it can be done without taking a two week trip from the office, dealing with jetlag, delays, traffic and other obstacles, saving a great deal of time as well as budget.”
Additionally, virtual events can “greatly reduce the carbon footprint of the international student recruitment industry, helping our planet whilst still providing students from around the world with the opportunity to broaden their horizons and continue their education abroad”, the company said.
A smart move indeed for many reasons. I know it takes some of the wander lust and adventure out of traditional recruiting, but no one is suggesting that in-person meetings and travel go way either. Online recruiting should become a healthy part of the mix if not a reason to revise your whole recipe. For schools without large travel budget, or no travel budget, this really levels the playing field and makes int’l recruiting an accessible and affordable option. So, it’s a win-win, in my view!