The PIE: How do marketing managers use the system?
“If you haven’t studied abroad yourself, it’s very difficult to understand exactly what the person on the opposite side of the table feels”
MA: For them we have developed a bunch of tools focused on lead capture. They can know which kind of people are interested in studying in the university and would get their contacts into the database and then marketers can actively communicate with them if they want to. They can also manage leads from third party partners, like agents, and then leads from fairs or other events where you meet with potential students or potential applicants and through different types of online marketing.
The PIE: How else can universities include their agent network into the system?
MA: We have developed special access to the system so if the university wants to they can give certain agents special access to the system.
This can work for other external parties, like the ministry of education, who might want some reports which we can compile very easily. In Estonia we’ve collaborated with the ministry of foreign affairs so they can have special access to the system so they don’t need to get in touch with universities to check if the student actually has been accepted. So they could go faster through visa processing.
The PIE: How much does it cost?
MA: It’s typically based on the volume of students coming in. The less students you’re getting the less complicated system you need, but the minimum size to make building the system worthwhile is around 100. If you can manage things easier in Excel or Google docs then do that.
The PIE: You’ve already signed on to be the national admissions system in Estonia, are there any more talks to do something similar in other countries?
MA: Yes, quite a few countries have talked to us about this idea either through agencies or consortia. In Turkey for example 15 universities are discussing having a common system, and we’re also talking about this with Lithuania.
“I feel that our work is bringing real effect to the field and we’re helping universities become better”
The PIE: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
MA: That’s a complicated one. I love my job there’s no question about that. When I first started my career I gave about three seminars to young people about the possibilities of an international education and today we help probably 40 thousand people who are applying to study abroad.
So I feel that our work is bringing real effect to the field and we’re helping universities become better. There are about 400 million people across the globe who don’t have access to higher education at all and the global international student market is about 5 million so there is a lot of work to be done.