You Send Us a Student”
I recently had a chat with a US higher education colleague about whether or not it would be advisable for his institution to require prospective education agents to send them at least one student before signing an agent agreement. Think of it as a test that prospective agents need to pass in order to “make the cut.” If you can deliver the goods, in this case, an enrolled international student, you are welcome to join the esteemed ranks of our education agents.
My response was that it’s better to find the right agents to work with than to have a quid pro quo means of encouraging “performance.” Agents respond to market demand, to a great extent, in addition to other factors such as the amount of the per head commission and other incentives, mostly but not exclusively tangible. Imposing any kind of requirement is likely to be a disincentive for most companies.
It’s best to rely on other vetting criteria and then judge the agent based on performance. Be selective, unlike many institutions that mistakenly believe more agents translates into more apps and admits,. Finally, work with a select group of agents in a given country and cultivate quality relationships with those agents.
Since partnerships are two-ways streets, it also depends on the education “product” that the agent is selling. Many agents choose not to work with some educational institutions because they don’t see a market for them. This could have to do with cost, location, a lack of scholarships, and other market-specific factors.
Some companies like Capstone Vietnam, of which I’m managing director, will not work with institutions that insist on this kind of “audition.” Capstone treats students and parents as clients not partner (or prospective partner) schools. This means its advisers do not guide, or pressure, students to choose a Capstone partner. It’s all about the fit.