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2022 growth in all key markets will be defined by communication more than Covid

A strong growth year awaits institutions not just in the UK, North America and Australia but also in New Zealand, Ireland and in new emerging markets in Asia.

Photo: GEA

With key markets set for strong, double-digit growth, the key question will be where that growth is directed

From our main offices across mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam we’ve helped place more than 60,000 applications for 2022. This is turn has driven offer growth of 20%.

So, students are committed, and they are qualified – it’s going to be a good year and one in which international education can finally put the pandemic behind us, right? The answer, as with so many aspects of the sector in the past few years is slightly more nuanced.

For two years, our surveys of more than 1,000 counsellors across the region have consistently, and unsurprisingly cited Covid-19 as the biggest obstacle to student decision making. In fact, more than 50% still do see it as an issue. It’s not the biggest one though. In fact, more than 60% see a perceived slowness in decision making by institutions or a relative lack of communication as a barrier to students committing for 2022 intakes.

At GEA we understand the challenges and to our partners we have a very clear message – communicate.

For many, this means being clear to market which programs are being prioritised. It’s this which has driven a 20% increase in non-business students and in undergraduate numbers.

For others, it has been about ‘re-entering’ China after two years’ absence – this is particularly true for our new independent school’s group who see opportunity on the back of China’s ‘Double-Reduction’ policy. Others will be less focused in China and more on South-East Asia.

Communication is a two-way street though.

We see the key measure of our success not just in navigating Asian markets for our institutions but crucially in supporting students through the application journey and beyond.

More than in previous years this means counselling them on when a decision might be coming, what is going to happen if they can’t take an IELTS test (in China), why their visa application is taking so long and whether they will be able to begin studies online if they meet delays or are still nervous due to Covid.

Our most successful partners are addressing these questions and are making use of the whole range of our services – from school twinning schemes, our AI student-institution matching service, staff employment hosting, online and F2F events across Asia, subject specific conversion events, comprehensive compliance measures and up to minute intake-forecasting.

“Our happiest students are those we are able to confidently advise”

Our happiest students are those we are able to confidently advise and our most satisfied institutions those who share their detailed goals and polices (even when they change).

With 1,000+ counsellors of the view that the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada and the rest of Asia are set for strong, double-digit growth, the key question will be where that growth is directed.

The answer is unlikely to be that ‘good things come to those who wait’ but rather that will come to those focused on the student, rather than waiting to see what the competition does.

At GEA we’re committed to navigating challenging markets in challenging times with both scale and on the ground personalised service. As a proud sponsor of the PIEoneer Awards we’re happy to advise both partners and non-partners and routes to their own versions of success in 2022 and beyond.

About the author:

This is a sponsored post from Neil Christie, Managing Director, UK for Global Education Alliance, part of the Global Education Technology (GET) network. Christie is also the Founding Director of TEN Education an allied organisation working in TNE and compliance. Together, the GEA team have navigated Asian markets based on specific strategic goals of growth, diversity and reduced costs to institutions.

Having spent his whole career in education sales and recruitment, Neil is passionate about improving the experiences of international students. At GEA, he believes that while technology is a key driver in the improvement of provision, understanding students’ needs and desires and that of their families, will should always underpin any approach.

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