This blog will be discussing the changes in international alumni relations and the opportunity that the growing number of Chinese alumni represents.
The number of international students continues to grow each year.
Yet for most schools, their approach to alumni relations has remained the same.
It feels like education institutions do not give sufficient attention to the alumni networking needs of their alumni from outside their home country.
This seems like a wasted opportunity.
According to an article in Bloomberg citing a report by the Institute of International Education (IIE), the number of Chinese students and Chinese alumni at U.S. universities jumped 75 percent in three years, reaching almost 275,000 in the last academic year.
Students from China made up the largest contingent among the 886,052 foreign students last year, with 31 percent. India is second with 12 percent of the total, followed by South Korea with 7.7 percent.
Today international students represent about 4.2 percent of total enrollments at U.S. institutions.
But I suppose the real question is how high does the enrollment for international students have to rise before schools change their approach to international alumni relations?
Imagine if you were a prospective student from China, considering in which school to enroll.
Wouldn’t a critical factor be the school that best provided an alumni ‘career community’ or alumni portal back in China for you to join after graduation?
Wouldn’t you be looking for a school to facilitate alumni networking be it student mentoring, alumni mentoring, placements, introductions and jobs that you could benefit from back in your home country?
The schools that will win the race for international student enrollment will be those that can provide a strong career offering to their alumni, critically back in the home country of those alumni.
Alumni networks are critical.
Three basic first steps:
- Do you provide international students with their own alumni networking opportunities or alumni directory?
- Is that alumni network or alumni directory easy to use in terms of being in the local language and integrated with local social networks?
- Do you sufficiently leverage your international alumni to help recruit and select new students from their home country?
The international alumni opportunity, and particularly the Chinese alumni one, is growing.
It’s time to make a change in how we do international alumni relations.
I would welcome your thoughts.