International Educator - November/December 2017 - 46

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FORUM
By George F. Kacenga

Quantitative and Qualitative
Now More Than Ever, Effective Recruiting Requires
Demonstrating a Return on Investment
when many U.S. higher education institutions have anticipated a decline in new
international enrollments, enrollment managers are working overtime to understand either
what they are doing right in bucking that projection or what they are doing wrong in succumbing to it. Armchair-based, virtual, and active-recruitment strategies are all under scrutiny. And
certainly, there are many factors that have an impact on international enrollment management
(IEM): awareness of student mobility trends and countries that send students abroad in high
volume; access (or not) to a customer relationship management (CRM) system; ability to compete with other destination countries for internationally mobile students; and success in distinguishing one's own institution from others in an uncertain U.S. market. But ultimately, the IEM
spotlight points increasingly at one metric: return on investment (ROI). In the current IEM
climate, ROI outcomes are vital to making persuasive resource requests and aligning budget
expenditures with mission statements or strategic plans.
IN A YEAR

Two Separate ROI Data Streams
I have been focused on ROI for the past decade. I'd speak
with colleagues who said they were throwing money at
new, experimental recruitment initiatives while I pinched
pennies to cover essential activities; occasionally, I'd
request additional resources, but the inevitable response
was, "How many new students will enroll next term as a
result of this investment?" Of course, the answer to "How
many new students?" is hard to gauge given that dollars
spent during one academic term in one fiscal year do not
necessarily correspond with student enrollment in the
subsequent academic term. What I have realized is this:
Data are key to any resource allocation request. As an
international enrollment manager, when I make the case
for any recruitment effort, the language in which I must
make that case is ROI-informed data. Toward this end, I
have developed two complementary data streams-I call
them hard ROI and soft ROI.
Hard ROI employs sophisticated tracking methods and advanced analytics, allowing an enrollment
manager to forecast and create predictive ROI models.
These models are intended to yield data that can persuade colleagues and campus officials that short-term
46  

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR N O V.+ D E C .17

expectations can undercut long-term ROI optimization. Toward this end, I have started tracking Key
Performance Indicator (KPI) metrics. KPIs, such as the
real-time tracking of prospective students that IEM staff
have met while recruiting, help calculate ROI that may
take several years to materialize. Hard ROI uses KPIs to
help shift the IEM focus beyond the short-term future
and allows for careful long-term planning.
Three KPIs I monitor routinely are (1) the number/percentage of individuals we intentionally engage
(e.g., at secondary schools or education fairs, through
recruitment agents, or on social media) who then apply;
(2) the number/percentage of those students who are
admitted; and (3) the number/percentage of those
students who enroll. These KPIs have given me compelling evidence that the value of in-person, shoe-leather
engagement cannot (yet) be surpassed by emails, virtual
platforms, or social media. This evidence can then be
used to inform specific outreach tactics that increase
ROI. In other words, tying these hard ROI KPIs to a
data-supported recruitment proposal helps demonstrate
to campus leadership that overseas travel/in-person
recruitment efforts are cost effective.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - November/December 2017

From the Desk of
Frontlines
In Brief
Global Spotlight: Iran
Quick Questions
Feature: The New Why of Partnering: International Partnerships Are Expanding Their Reach and Goals
Feature: Partnering Case Studies: Leveraging Unconventionality
Feature: Doing Well by Doing Good: Social Entrepreneurship is Evolving to Meet New Realities
Education Abroad
International Student Affairs
International Enrollment
International Education Leadership
Forum
In Focus
Feature: A Healthy Balance
Feature: Mental Health: Leveraging Resources
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Cover1
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Cover2
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 1
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 2
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 3
International Educator - November/December 2017 - From the Desk of
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 5
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Frontlines
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 7
International Educator - November/December 2017 - In Brief
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 9
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 10
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 11
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Global Spotlight: Iran
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 13
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Quick Questions
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 15
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Feature: The New Why of Partnering: International Partnerships Are Expanding Their Reach and Goals
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 17
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 18
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 19
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 20
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 21
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Feature: Partnering Case Studies: Leveraging Unconventionality
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 23
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 24
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 25
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 26
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 27
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Feature: Doing Well by Doing Good: Social Entrepreneurship is Evolving to Meet New Realities
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 29
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 30
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 31
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 32
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 33
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Education Abroad
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 35
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 36
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 37
International Educator - November/December 2017 - International Student Affairs
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 39
International Educator - November/December 2017 - International Enrollment
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 41
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 42
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 43
International Educator - November/December 2017 - International Education Leadership
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 45
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Forum
International Educator - November/December 2017 - 47
International Educator - November/December 2017 - In Focus
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Cover3
International Educator - November/December 2017 - Cover4
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