Our blog series, Meet the Partner, presents international student recruitment partners and/or agencies with their own insights and perspectives. In today’s blog post, you’ll get to learn more about international student recruitment from a partner perspective. You’ll gain knowledge about marketing in a target country, and you’ll also receive valuable insight about forging strong partnerships.
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About Education Index: Educationindex.ru is a course search platform built for Russian speaking students going to study abroad. They launched their website 7 years ago and witnessed the change in how Russian students choose and apply to the universities. While a good proportion of Russian speaking students and their parents still actively use advice and support of an agent, an increasing proportion of their audience is researching their study options independently and applying directly to the universities of their choice. This is particularly strong trend on a postgraduate market. Their website is benefiting from this trend and their traffic is currently growing at more than 20% a year even though a number of companies in the same industry seeing weaker demand compared to that of previous years.
Interview with Yana Drapkina
Today’s international student recruitment business partner is educationindex.ru, a course search and information portal for Russian students going to study abroad. Thanks for participating!
Tell us about your business, when it was started, what markets it focuses on, and where your offices are based.
We launched educationindex.ru in 2010. The business was set up by Russian speaking graduates from London Business School to support Russian-speaking students making arguably one of the most important decisions in their lives – which country, university and course to choose for their university studies.
Tell us about you. What’s your role in the company? What’s one thing you like to do outside of your work?
I am a founder and a managing Director. The business plan for Educationindex.ru was my MBA Diploma project, which became a great business.
Outside of my work I am a mum of two lovely kids and of course quality time with them is precious.
Why did you start your business?
Unlike many of our users I didn’t spend summers learning language and traveling abroad and I did speak English before I decided to pursue my MBA. It took me two good years to learn the language and prepare for TOEFL and GMAT. Yet when I started my MBA I faced two major issues: my English was still far from being good enough to fully participate in a very demanding course and the course I had chosen was not 100% right for me as unlike most of my classmates I did not aspire for a career either in banking or consulting.
Having invested quite a lot of efforts, time and cash in my MBA I was not very happy at my course during its first year because I had quite a vague idea of what I was going to do after my MBA and was choosing a Business School predominantly by its ranking and location without looking at the very core of its offering.
I was really thrilled to learn that my London Business School offered a huge range of electives related to entrepreneurship during the 2nd year of our MBA, these modules were really amazing and this is where I found my passion and also realized that many people like myself go to study abroad without a clear career objectives and understanding if the university and course of their choice can help them to achieve those objectives. Thus the idea of EducationIndex.ru was born.
If an international admissions professional was visiting your city or country and had a free weekend, what’s one recommendation for something fantastic to do or see?
Well, we established business in the UK, our office is based in Reading and we opened up an office in Moscow. Should I give my recommendations for both location?
Reading: if you ever visit Berkshire and Oxfordshire in the spring, go for a bluebells walk. I love the forests surrounding Greys Court, and you will be amazed by a violet carpet you are walking on.
In Moscow, I would suggest visiting Gorkiy Park, a park built in Soviet Russia and recently renovated with lots of humor, good taste and care about cultural heritage of this place. It offers lots of fun activities from beach volleyball, French petanque, DJ run coffee shops to a stroll alongside the Moscow river.
What is one thing that surprises you about American universities’ approach to either agencies or to international recruitment in general?
Surprisingly Russia still seems to be quite remote and untapped market for a number of American universities, which is I guess is a great opportunity both for the market and for the industry.
In your experience interacting with university recruiters or admissions directors, what’s the best type of recruiter who has come to visit you? What personality and professional traits make international admissions professionals successful?
As possibly as in any profession the student recruiter who is passionate about his/her job and keen to communicate the value of the university and its courses for the international students is always a pleasure to work with. Sometimes when we discuss a new campaign with our partner university the amazing ideas start flying, advantages become very clear and we cannot wait to start delivering new messages. This is very unique working relations which we are fortunate to have with a number of our partners.
If universities are new to international recruitment, what do you wish they knew about working with your business model?
For partnerships with a course search and online platform I would say that the best campaigns are those which are built in close collaboration with the university. Yes, we know what KPIs to look for and how to structure information for our users. Yet, proactive university partnership which enables exchange of ideas is always more fruitful.
Finally, what’s your favorite part about your career? Any new projects on the horizon? Let us know what’s new for 2017!
We are growing fast and this is very exciting. We are going to add new smart functionality to our website which would allow user to better define their priorities and further narrow down their study options to make sure that they find the university and the courses which is truly the best for them.
Thank you, Yana, for participating in our Meet the Partner series! You can connect with Education Index on their website or on their listing here. If you’ve worked with Education Index in the past, be sure to leave a comment on their page!
If you would like to participate in a future interview, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.