Unofficial, Pre-Conference Seminar About Commissions-Based Recruitment @ NAFSA 2019

 Ethical Commissions-Based Recruitment:  The Need for a New Way

maa

Join Mark Ashwill, managing director and co-founder of Capstone Vietnam, a full-service educational consulting company in Viet Nam and former country director of the Institute of International Education-Viet Nam,

eddie west

Eddie West, assistant dean, UC Berkeley Extension, and executive director, international programs, and former director of international initiatives at the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC),

lindsay addington

and Lindsay Addington, director of global engagement at NACAC, for a lively discussion and exploration of ways to improve upon the current flawed model of agency-based international student recruitment. 

The brief presentation and discussion are based on this statement, which Ashwill and West made in an October 2018 University World News article entitled An ethical approach to commissions-based recruitment

The fatal flaw in commissioned recruitment is that most agents prioritise their partner schools’ interests over those of the students and parents they advise. This means that most guide or, in many cases, drive students to their partner schools because of the gold (commission) at the end of the rainbow (enrolment process). 

[The second co-authored article in a three-part series was published on 8 March, also by University World NewsInternational recruitment – Are education agents welcome?]

The purpose of this seminar is not to debate the merits of commissions-based recruitment but to bring together colleagues who are interested in exploring ways in which it can be made more ethical to the benefit of international students and their parents, in addition to admitting institutions and education agents. 

This special event will be held from 3:30-5 p.m. on Monday, May 27, 2019 in downtown Washington, D.C.  (The exact location will be sent to all confirmed participants.) 

The seminar is free of charge and refreshments will be served. Online registration is required.

online registration2

A heartfelt thanks to Study in the USA for its sponsorship! 

image001

Related Announcement:  Eddie West, Mark Ashwill, and Mayumi Kowta will talk about Commissions-Based International Student Recruitment Agents: Is There a Better Way? at a general session from 10-11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 29 at NAFSA 2019.  

Mark Ashwill to Lead 4th Annual Viet Nam Recruitment Seminar at NAFSA 2019

recruit in vn

Capstone Vietnam is pleased to announce that Dr. Mark Ashwill, managing director and co-founder, will speak at an unofficial, pre-conference Viet Nam student recruitment seminar to be held on Monday, May 27, 2019 in Washington, D.C.   

The Viet Nam Recruitment Seminar consists of a comprehensive overview of current market conditions, recruitment tools and techniques, and different types of recruitment strategies, plus plenty of time for Q&A.  These are challenging times for international student recruitment, including in Viet Nam, with a rapidly changing market and more competition than ever. While more Vietnamese students are opting to study overseas, a perfect storm has been brewing for some host countries, combined with a growing list of positives and pull factors for others.

There are at least 200,000 young Vietnamese studying overseas in 50 or so countries and territories. Here are the top five (5) host countries, which play host to 87% of them (173,627).  

1. Japan (72,354, 2018);
2. USA (29,788, 8-18)
3. South Korea (27,061, 4-18)
4. Australia (24,094, 11-18) ; and
5. Canada (20,330, 12-18)

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Dr. Ashwill, who has lived in Viet Nam since 2005, talk about recruitment in this strategically important country.  The seminar will take place from 1-3 p.m. on Monday, May 27th in Washington, D.C.  It is open to any education colleague who recruits in Viet Nam.  (US higher education colleagues must represent regionally accredited institutions.)  

There will be plenty of time for Q&A during and after the informal discussion. This special event promises to be a productive and enjoyable way to kick off NAFSA 2019! 

The seminar is free of charge and refreshments will be served.  Online registration is required.  The exact location will be sent to all confirmed participants.  

online registration2

A heartfelt thanks to Study in the USA for its sponsorship!image001

More Vietnamese Students in South Korea Than Australia

Yes, it’s true.  Check out the infographic below, courtesy of the Australian Department of Education and Training.  As of 11-18, Viet Nam ranked 6th among sending countries with 24,094 students studying at all levels in Australia.  

vn students in australia 11-18

Incredibly, there were more Vietnamese studying in South Korea than Australia last year.  As in Japan, Viet Nam ranked 2nd with 27,061.  Speaking of the former, I’ll talk about Vietnamese enrollments in that country, which are off the charts, in another post.  

Note:  I wish the US government had the same data quality and quantity as Australia’s. 

Shalom (שלום), MAA

 

Financial Aid for Vietnamese Students?

financial aid

If your institution awards financial aid to Vietnamese students, I hope your approach is of the “trust but verify” variety.  Not all parents and students are honest, and Viet Nam is no exception.  Many people of means are happy to game the system and accept financial aid, if they can get it.

I remember a story about a highly selective liberal arts college in the US, which shall remain unnamed to protect the victimized, that awarded a generous financial aid package to a Vietnamese student.  Once said student showed up on campus, other Vietnamese knew that her family was rich and that the school had wasted valuable financial aid funding on an undeserving student.  The result was loss of institutional face and resources that could have helped a deserving student.  

Another more recent story is about a state university that automatically awarded a certain amount of financial aid to ALL Vietnamese students, as if all Vietnamese were poor and deserved it.  No due diligence.  Apply, get admitted and, bingo!, you’re golden.  Again, a waste of financial aid dollars that could have gone to qualified and deserving students.

What To Do?

How to screen students?  I remember working with one boarding school that offered a fabulous scholarship at their school and an undergraduate education at any university in the world.  They were looking specifically for an economically disadvantaged yet high-achieving Vietnamese high school student.  The selection process included sending staff to the finalists homes to interview them and their parents, and also to make sure they weren’t living in a million-dollar home or driving a luxury automobile.  Seeing is believing, to a certain extent, and it worked.

This due diligence is likely to incur an additional cost, given the staff time involved.  That’s something institutions should keep in mind. 

Some colleagues attempt to obtain this information from the education agents they work with.  That requires a high degree of trust, which is not always present.  

The safer and less costly alternative is to stick to merit-based scholarships that are linked to objective criteria such as standardized test scores, high school GPAs, and interviews.  The one drawback is that urban students from higher social classes disproportionately benefit from this approach.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

P.S.:  I wrote about this issue three years ago.  Given what I’ve heard recently from various colleagues, it’s worth revisiting.  

Happy 9th Birthday, Capstone Vietnam!

birthday cake capstone

This week, Capstone Vietnam, a full-service educational consulting company that I co-founded in 2009 and of which I am managing director, celebrated its 9th birthday.  It has been a helluva ride, one I’ve found to be deeply rewarding on many levels. 

Logo Recruit in vietnam final-01As I mentioned to a colleague the other day, the best situation is when you are able to exploit your own labor rather than have to sell it to someone else and allow them to exploit it (you), to paraphrase Karl Marx.  More about that in this 2017 interview.  

10thLooking forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary and 10 years of Reaching New Heights in September 2019!  

Peace, MAA

Shifting focus: Vietnamese students & overseas study destinations

pie blog

There is never a dull moment in the dynamic Southeast Asian country of Viet Nam, including among its overseas-bound students. While overall interest in study in the US remains strong, there is also ample evidence of a shift to other countries, including Canada.

Follow this link to read my latest PIE blog post

Peace, MAA

In Country Representatives: A Tale of Two Models

intl student recruitmentA growing number of educational institutions are turning to in country, including regional, representatives to assist them with international student recruitment.  While this option obviously costs more than other recruitment tools and techniques because it includes the cost of a local salary, benefits (?), and other expenses, including travel and marketing, it can potentially be more productive.  It all depends on your representative, her/his skill, network, and a variety of market conditions. 

There are basically two models from which to choose:

An Independent Consultant:  You hire someone, ideally, a host country national who speaks the language, perhaps has studied overseas, and has a good education-related network.  Your rep essentially works at home, which saves your institution money.  You pay her/him directly via international wire transfer.  Sounds simple, right?  

An Outsourced Consultant:  A host country national who is employed by a legally licensed company but who represents your institution exclusively.  The Viet Nam-based employer assumes legal responsibility for your representative and handles payroll and other administrative issues, in addition to providing “supervision lite”, and offering strategic advice.

The main difference between the two models is that the first is technically illegal while the second is legal.  Regarding the former:  is anyone ever going to call you on it?  Probably not but they could – either within Viet Nam or from abroad.    

The problem is that foreign entities are not permitted to operate in Viet Nam without an official (read legal) presence, i.e., a license.  Consider this food for thought for those who currently employ an independent consultant from afar, or are considering doing so.

Peace, MAA