Agents Speak Out
In 2017, what has been the biggest challenge you've faced when running an agency?
Didem Aticier
ICES Turkey, Turkey
"The last few years have been very busy for world politics and economies and it doesn't seem to be slowing down. All of these changes brought instability and many industries have been struggling with the consequences. The study abroad sector in Turkey is one of them, and we are trying to find new ways to cope with the economic challenges we're facing, especially since 2016. The constantly changing political environment has increased the demand for education abroad; students/parents are eager to find the right agency through every possible means so digital/conventional marketing has to offer more in order to be visible to potential students, but the economic instability is forcing people to back down because in most cases they cannot afford to study abroad. On the other hand, we need to admit that these challenges force agencies to enlarge their portfolio to offer more options and attract more students. As a company operated by a young team, we understand what Turkish students need today, therefore we have enlarged our university, high school and language programmes to fit the needs of Turkish students."
Article published: 24 Jul 2017
BK Shrestha
Kantipur Education, Nepal
"Working in global environment is sensitive and challenging, I would like to portrait the challenges we have faced as 'local challenges' and 'global challenges'. The biggest local challenges are a rapid entrance of multinational big giant agencies, which is attracting the majority of local business and it is tough to compete with them as they have extensive provider networks, huge marketing coverage in different segments of marketing domains, and large global networks. The rapid rise of terrorism in major destination countries also affects our recruitment drive. Students are unwilling to go to such destination countries, as there are big issues of securities. The emergence of anti-migrants leadership is also a big challenge for us this year."
Article published: 24 Jul 2017
Ashish Sachde
Institute of Foreign Studies, India

"The US market has been greatly affected because of the political situation. Students who had applied to US universities with us in late 2016 wanted to suddenly divert their applications to Canadian universities. The newspaper and television media have portrayed the US political situation in a very negative way. As a result, Canadian universities are now flooded with applications from Indian students. The challenge is that there are not enough seats in Canadian universities to accommodate so many Indian students. It is estimated that there will be a delay in getting the student visa permits for Canada due to an overwhelming response from Southeast Asian students for Canada. The UK lost its attractiveness for Indian students three years ago due to the removal of post-study work rights and 'Brexit' has added to the woes of international students.

Yes indeed, students now have too many choices and too many agents in the market with each agency marketing new countries to the same pool of students. Indian students are spoilt for choice. Ukraine ranks sixth in the number of Indian students going to study abroad as per recent statistics. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Italy, Poland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden are the new happening study destinations.

Advertising in newspapers is not an option any more unlike yesteryears. The whole gamut of advertising has shifted to Facebook, Google, and various other education web portals. Agents need to innovate. Traditional models are outdated and traditional agents are quickly shutting up shop unable to sustain the fierce competition. It's a reverse model now wherein the agents have to find students to sell their education offers to possible student customers."

Article published: 24 Jul 2017
Francine Mendonca
IntercâmbioHelp4U, London
"I think political and economic issues could affect our results. We work with the Brazilian market, so the economic factor is very important for us and can influence the buying decision of our customers. But the most important thing is to communicate effectively with your audience. We have invested more and more in digital marketing, because we could reach a very specific target for a lower cost. And we are also increasingly our relationship with our agents in Brazil, which is also essential for the success of the business."
Article published: 24 Jul 2017