Recruiters have lots of choices when it comes to different types of fairs. All make the same promises. Hundreds or even thousands of students at each event, all interested in overseas study and all with the ability to pay. How to choose? Here’s one easy way. If you represent an institution from a top five (5) host country, you’re better off joining a quality country-specific fair or fair series.
For example, the US is the world’s leading host of Vietnamese students and the preferred overseas study destination. If you participate in a US higher education fair, you can be sure that everyone who comes to that fair is interested in study in the USA. (This assumes that the fair organizer has ethical business practices, e.g., doesn’t pay for student referrals and doesn’t bus in students who have no intention of studying abroad.) The same cannot be said for international fairs, which include institutions at all levels from all over the world and, in less desirable circumstances, a veritable rogue’s gallery of schools.
Foreign companies that organize international fairs usually do so as part of a regional tour. Their strategy is to cast a wide net. This allows schools from countries that do not have many, if any, Vietnamese students to come to Vietnam to recruit. Vietnamese companies usually organize international fairs for one of two reasons: 1) They work in multiple markets and it makes perfect sense to do so; or 2) They already tried a country-specific fair, e.g., the US, failed because they do not have the necessary network or reputation, and decide that international fairs have more profit potential.
My advice to US colleagues for whom Vietnam is a priority market: forgo the international fairs and focus on quality US higher education fairs – in tandem with other appropriate recruitment approaches.