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View From the Forest Recap: Navigating Competition in the International Education Sector

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MSM Higher Ed president Donna Hooker shares a few tips on how to deal with business competition during these challenging times in Ep. 13 of “View From The Forest.” (PEXELS)

On the 13th episode of “View From The Forest,” MSM Higher Ed president Donna Hooker shared her thoughts on the complexities of having to deal with competition in the international education sector.

These times require a different approach due to the pandemic that hit the education industry hard.

Key Points at a Glance

  • Episode 13 of “View From The Forest” quickly discusses ways how businesses in the international education sector could navigate competition during a pandemic.
  • Intraregional study is becoming a more enticing option for international students.
  • Higher education institutions in both sending and receiving countries need to work on attracting students from nearby regions. 
  • Education technology is one way to stay afloat during the crisis, while a savvy marketing strategy pivot is another.

“Prospective students from Asian and African countries are likely to be suffering from the loss of family income. Banks are reporting a dramatic decline in the family remittance, and many students returned to their home countries as universities closed their doors and countries closed their borders,” said Donna. She also related to a report by The Financial Times how intraregional study was becoming more enticing for international students.

The health and safety regulations and the threat of the coronavirus have forced schools to close down albeit temporarily. Some continued on with operations through virtual education delivery. However, the travel restrictions which forced countries to close their borders have also greatly affected the mobility of international students.

Higher education institutions in receiving counties are now competing against each other closely for their market share of students, while educational institutions in sending countries are likely going toe-to-toe in their marketing efforts in attracting students to come their way.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” Donna said, regarding whether or not international students would revert to their original patterns of mobility when the pandemic is over. “Frankly, I think it will return. In fact, I think it will be a double cohort.”

Donna wrapped up by enumerating a couple of ways how businesses in the international education sector could stay afloat. The incorporation and proper use of education technology (EdTech) is one. The second is a change in mindset: Instead of focusing on competing with another business, why not tap into a market with little to no competition at all?

“Think about it. The pandemic may have revealed weak points in the international education industry. Find creative ways to address them so that your business can attract a mass of new customers.”

Donna continued on enumerating a few tips on how businesses could “contribute to speedy economic growth and help restore market confidence.”

“The best institutions, marketing partners, and other EdTech businesses will turn this crisis into an opportunity,” she concluded.

Watch Episode 13 now on YouTube. Check out the MSM Higher Ed YouTube channel and click subscribe for more videos.

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President, MSM Higher Ed

Donna Hooker has worked in the international education field for 30 years. She has a comprehensive knowledge of policy and practise in the public post-secondary education system in British Columbia, Canada and worldwide. She is a past board chair for the BC Centre for International Education and has held senior management roles at BC Institute for Technology, Vancouver Community College, and most recently at Capilano University.


Donna Hooker, MSM Higher Ed President

Donna Hooker, MSM Higher Ed President, takes you to her lush home in Upper Fraser Valley, British Columbia to talk about different trends and issues affecting the international education industry. Watch, learn and subscribe to the channel to get her invaluable vlog series, “View from the Forest.”

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MSM Higher Ed offers education management solutions that create opportunities for students while building capacity for international student enrollment and new revenue streams for partner institutions. Through viable public-private partnerships (PPPs), licensing agreements, program pathways based on articulation arrangements and pan-national and transnational program delivery, we create opportunities for students to earn career-oriented credentials preparing their career or academic advancement. MSM Higher Ed manages private institutions Eton College Canada, Q College, Q Academy, Taylor Pro College, Extreme Pro Training, and College Multihexa.


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