International education is pretty unique- though I often compare it to weddings and funerals. You pay a lot of money, have a party at the end and you leave with a title be it Doctor, Husband or Deceased.
When thinking about the future of international education however, one industry I often turn to is the travel industry. There was a time (if you remember) when most all holiday flights and accommodation were booked by your local travel agent. Today those same agents are having a hard time of it, being replaced by big brand conglomerates and online search / booking platforms.
In our industry we have seen a few agents build global brands and many have attempted to introduce the type of online search functions we’ve seen in travel. Interestingly no one has quite hit the nail on the head or gained any real industry-changing momentum.
The problem these agents face is that providing personalised education advice requires a lot of information from a prospective student, and you cant have a search form with 100 fields can you?
Wait, can you? What if I said you could pre-fill those 100 fields with just a name and email address?
I say this because LinkedIn have already built the world’s most comprehensive online agency platform, only I’m not sure they know about it yet. If you don’t know what I’m talking about have a look here.
The LinkedIn system draws on its extensive knowledge of a user’s education, experience, location and many other personal details to provide an extremely comprehensive education search and suggestion function.
Essentially LinkedIn have an online automated counselling system that could be this industry’s 100-ton sleeping giant.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you feel the rising thunder beneath your feet.
But seriously, just imagine LinkedIn did decide to open an online education placement service under an agency agreement model with institutions… How would this revolutionise our industry, both for institutions and for agents?
Like most upheavals this will sound like an exciting opportunity to some and a threatening development to others. Either way, we need to take notice.