In October, IDP Connect embarked on a UK-wide roadshow to launch IDP Live, our new fast-track application service that connects international students to best-fit institutions with the support of our trusted education counsellors. The roadshow included stops in London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham and had clients attend from a wide variety of institutions, including QS World Top 30, Russell Group, University Alliance and MillionPlus.
We caught up with Ed Kelly, IDP Connect’s Director of Client Success and Operations, who was one of the hosts to hear his thoughts on the roadshow and launching IDP Live to clients in person.
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I think it was significant, because it was the first time in a very long time we were able to meet in person with a group of clients to talk about two important things. Firstly, we were able to talk to them about our research into student and university needs, as well as our insights from listening to our education counsellors around the world.
Secondly, it was hugely significant, as we launched IDP Live. It was a very exciting opportunity for us to share what we see as the solutions to many of the recruitment challenges our clients are facing, and ways we can support clients to accelerate their international strategies.
London roadshow event
Everyone was really excited about this service, because it genuinely meets the needs of students. The service is opt-in, meaning clients have the option to take part if they feel it meets their needs. IDP Live is still in a pilot phase and we’ve co-created the service with institutions. We took our proof of concept to institutions who helped us refine our offering and will continue to listen to client ideas, run client co-creation labs and work with our advisory groups to further improve our offering.
The service that we’ve now launched allows institutions to opt-in by country or course, enabling changes across our network in real time. They are also able to change their criteria almost instantaneously.
I’m most excited that we’re meeting a genuine student challenge. We identified that a big issue for students is that they make many speculative applications without knowing where they’ll get into. That leads to students feeling uncertain, and also wastes a lot of student time. IDP Live helps students to overcome this , by guiding them to best-fit institutions with the help of our counsellors. Even better, our partners are offering these students a fast-track application to offer turnaround.
The things we do as a business are there to meet the needs of students. The ability for students to get a fast-track decision combined with institutions having a more efficient application and admission process is a real game-changing solution for the sector.
From an institution’s perspective, this is quite a different way of working with a partner like us. There isn’t a template for this way of working, as IDP Live is a product of true innovation. That’s why the co-creation element has been so important. Part of the purpose of the roadshow was to share this new way of working with our clients.
Edinburgh roadshow event
For me it’s been interesting to see how institutions have taken the service to meet their unique needs. For example, in the Australian market right now there’s been more confidence that international borders will open, so for our Australian partners the priority is very much getting student volume back on campus. They are in the rebound phase and have taken the time to focus on making operational efficiencies to effectively scale their recruitment.
It’s been particularly interesting to see the differences between those institutions doing it just for volume, those doing it for efficiency and those doing it to diversify. We’ve had a couple of UK universities who are absolutely seeing IDP Live as a route to diversification, either to diversify the nationalities of international students they recruit or diversifying the variety of courses international students choose to study at their institution. IDP Live partners can direct the tool to serve their specific needs in real time. Our role is to facilitate a successful partnership – the starting point of any conversation with new partners is: what is it that you need and how can we help you achieve it?
One of the questions that came up during the roadshow was: how does IDP Live enable us to fast track students? Firstly, for students, they get a fast-tracked decision only once they have a verified offer-in-principle. We then have institutions committing to agreements confirming they will turn applications into offers within a certain number of working days. The reason we do this is to take students who would have applied, but wouldn’t have received an offer, out of the fast-track process. Those who are taken out of the process are then also freed up to look for other options sooner, supported by our counsellors. We’re making that part of the funnel narrower, which means that the admissions efficiencies are optimised.
We talked about a few exciting developments, which received really positive feedback and some brilliant ideas from our partners. The main planned development is that we’re rolling the fast-track service out to an in-office experience. So, our counsellors will be able to support and help students get a fast-track decision to a university, while sitting across a desk from a student. So far, we’ve only run the service via the app. We’re also planning on integrating the solutions into all IDP’s other platforms, including our international websites.
Birmingham roadshow event
It was fantastic being in a room with clients again in person. I think for me the highlight was that there was a real spirit of collaboration. There are many institutions thinking about ways that they really want to continue to grow and innovate and do things that are exciting. There was a sense that institutions are open to change - you could feel that at the events. People were open to hearing quite different ideas and they were willing to give us their views on that. For me, that was the highlight.