A Case Study for International Universities
Withalongacademichistorydatingbackto1881,theUniversityofDundee,whichwasfoundedby anendowmentfromtheBaxterfamily,hasagloballyrecognisedreputationinbothteachingand research.Nevertheless,inahighlycompetitivemarket,theUniversityfeltitneededsupporttoextend anddiversifyitsinternationalfuturestudent baseandbetterunderstanditsintendedaudience. Seeking in-countryspecialists,theUniversitysoughttheassistanceofAcumentofurtherits internationalreachinIndia,MalaysiaandtheUnitedArabEmirates.Asacasestudy,thepartnership illustrateshowAcumencanpartnerambitiousinternationalinstitutionswitheffectivesolutionsfora varietyofobjectives.
The University first worked with Acumen as part of a UKIERI-funded careers project which opened up an opportunity to develop their wider India strategy. Acumen came highly recommended as being able to support the university in its internationalisation objectives.
The University recognised the significant potential of the Indian market but the limitations of a fly in-fly out model meant it was not fully achieving the outcomes it hoped for After discussion, the University felt that the only way to make the step change they were looking for, was to take on a dedicated representative based in-market.
The relationship with the University has grown at a comfortable pace over the years as they have turned to us for support and advice on developing new aspects of their business, from recruitment in multiple markets to faculty-based partnerships in multiple markets.
At various points over the years, there have been other options available, but the University has chosen Acumen because of the strong existing relationship of trust and confidence.
What made Acumen stand out against their competitors?
Acumen’s deep understanding of the needs of educational institutions instilled confidence. This crucial understanding made communication, operations and troubleshooting seamless from the beginning, resulting in a dynamic and creative
partnership that has not only been mutually beneficial, but also enjoyable. Ultimately, Acumen offered a bespoke and scalable solution for the outcomes the University of Dundee was trying to achieve.
What were the University of Dundee’s main objectives?
The University wished to sustainably build its international profile across key volume and growth markets. The focus was on expanding and refining the agent networks and diversifying the intake to a broader range of educational programmes. Having achieved this with the support of Acumen, the next step was to identify stickier, longer-term partnership opportunities to underpin a more sustainable presence in South Asia.
It was clear that an experienced and trusted partner was needed to recruit and manage an enthusiastic, highly skilled in-country representative to drive forward growth for the University. The first India representative came on board in 2018 and the team has since expanded to three
How was project implementation achieved by Acumen?
From the get-go, the Acumen team provided a clear timeline for in-country implementation and facilitated the complete selection process, presenting the University with an excellent shortlist of suitable candidates with the necessary understanding of the nuances of the international education sector.
After appointing the representative, Acumen oversaw the project at every level and worked with the University to manage and define priorities and key performance indicators, d. This methodical approach, coupled with excellent communication, helped to get the project off the ground in a timely manner.
The measure of success
The cornerstone of success is enrolments; since partnering with Acumen in 2018, the University has recorded a 142% increase in South Asian enrolments, despite the impact of the global pandemic. This is in no small part down to the in-country staff and their expertise in effectively responding to the huge uplift in Uk applications driven by the Graduate Route.
Rebecca Trengove, Director of External Relations at the University states “Acumen’s professionalism was clear from the outset and they’ve always been very straightforward to work with. In addition to offering a transparent and effective means to recruit and manage our team in India, we’ve really valued their market insights and advice, particularly during the pandemic when international education has experienced so much change”.
Whilst the sector continues to navigate volatile markets, it is clear that international partnerships are as important as ever. Acumen’s work with the University of Dundee illustrates how well managed and orchestrated partnerships can thrive and succeed to achieve common and mutually beneficial goals, regardless of where they are situated on the globe and regardless of what is taking place.
The strength of Acumen’s business model and structure means that it is well suited to offer advice to a range of clients from all over the world, and
in numerous sectors. The case study also goes to show how one western institution famed for its history, knowledge and academic research can still benefit from another, which, in the case of Acumen, is crucial because of its inherent knowledge of the South Asian markets. This further strengthens international ties and illustrates the variety of positive outcomes that can be achieved when East meets West.
ACUMEN is committed to helping globally-ambitious university and education partners enter, explore and expand in South Asia, South East Asia, and beyond.
We offer a dedicated range of services to drive recruitment, student enrolment, develop strategic partnerships, and research collaboration. As a result, we act as an extension of your brand, by connecting you with the world’s best students, utilising strategic international education opportunities, understanding your ideal market through research and insights, and help mitigate any risks along the way.
We operate in over 20 countries, with more than 250 industry practitioners with deep local knowledge and global expertise. We help navigate a competitive education landscape from end to end, while always prioritising your success.