International Education Strategy and Marketing

Recent Projects

This page summarises recent projects undertaken by Vicky Lewis Consulting, describing the nature of the assignment as well as project outputs and impact.

Most of the highlighted projects were for UK HE providers but, if you scroll down a little, you will find an overview of projects undertaken for non-UK institutions.

Review of mobility and short courses infrastructure

september 2021 - october 2021

A Russell Group university asked Vicky Lewis Consulting to undertake a review of the infrastructure for international mobility and short courses, charting an approach which would align with the new institutional strategy. The report drew on external developments and good practice, as well as internal documents and staff interviews, to advocate a refreshed infrastructure.

Recommendations included:

  • a new strategic direction and priority areas of focus (including an income generation dimension)
  • top-level structure and appropriate configuration of teams and sub-teams
  • strategic aims, priorities and skillsets for each sub-team
  • coordination of relationships with other functions across the university, including Faculties and academic departments.

International Employability good practice briefing

september 2020 - november 2020

A regular client institution asked me to provide a briefing on good practice in the area of international employability, with a particular focus on the national context and what other HEIs are putting in place to support international graduate outcomes. I also conducted a review of relevant sections of the university’s own website and provided recommendations for it to highlight more effectively this strand of activity.

Outputs included:

  • A report on the sector landscape, including links to useful resources and potential external partners
  • A summary of good practice in a number of areas (curricular and extra-curricular), including institutional case studies
  • Tailored recommendations based on a review of the university’s website, including some ‘quick wins’

International Partnerships process improvement

june 2020 - october 2020

A Russell Group university client was seeking to improve the processes around international partnership development and management. Following a stakeholder survey, a series of interviews and a review of documentation, it became evident that a clear, contextualising policy was required as well as guidelines for a new, streamlined process. Working on a virtual basis with an internal Task and Finish group, I produced a set of documentation which was endorsed and adopted by the university’s International Executive Group.

Outputs included:

  • New International Partnerships Policy
  • New International Partnership Process Guidelines
  • Implementation Plan to initiate and embed change
  • Supporting resource papers

International Student Recruitment Strategy

October 2019 - May 2020

A Russell Group university client asked me to develop a three-year institutional strategy for international student recruitment. This involved 50 stakeholder interviews, alongside desk research and analysis of internal and external data. The resulting strategy, which incorporated revisions in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, was approved and strongly supported by the University Executive Group.

Outputs included:

  • New International Student Recruitment Strategy including a vision, guiding principles, new strategic approach and explicit objectives, supporting actions and performance indicators
  • A top-level implementation plan, including next steps to progress each of the ten institutional objectives
  • Guidance on cascading implementation to Faculties and beyond.

International Strategy research

july 2019 - september 2019 (and beyond)

A client university required some desk research to inform both the international theme within its new Strategic Plan and the supporting institutional International Strategy. The research included a review of fifteen comparator HEI international strategies, exploring content, themes and priorities and highlighting examples of good practice.

Outputs included:

  • A research report covering the external context for international higher education, an analysis of comparator HEI approaches, conclusions about the next generation of international strategies, and specific recommendations for the university to consider as part of its strategic planning.
  • This piece of work led to a request for ongoing input as formulation of the new international strategy progressed, including development of key questions for consultation events and support in articulating strategic priorities for global success.

International recruitment infrastructure review

august 2018 - october 2018

I completed a review of the infrastructure for international student recruitment for a leading modern university. This involved consultation with 30 internal and external stakeholders and a review of internal and external documents. The resulting report supplied an analysis of current context, identified five broad areas for attention and provided clear recommendations for action.

Outputs included:

  • Infrastructure review report, including outline action plan with indicative timelines
  • Proposed guiding principles for international student recruitment
  • Additional contextual documentation

International Summer School audit and framework

july 2018 - november 2018

Following a competitive tender process, I was appointed by a London university to undertake an audit of their wide-ranging international summer school portfolio and to develop a framework for future developments in this area. This involved collecting feedback via a survey instrument and around 30 individual interviews.

Outputs included:

  • An audit of existing provision and a strategy for future developments
  • A taxonomy for international intensive courses and summer schools
  • Proposed five-stage framework for development, approval, delivery, evaluation, governance and tracking
  • Presentation of the findings to a cross-section of staff

International Strategy framework and action plan

january 2018 - april 2018

A specialist, online-only university college in the UK was highly reliant on a single international market and needed a strategy to broaden its international appeal. A new strategic approach was and target market selection framework were developed.

Outputs included:

  • A contextual briefing paper
  • An international strategy framework including overarching principles, target market selection framework and market entry strategies
  • An action plan covering resourcing, planning and tactics

Projects for non-UK higher education institutions

FRANCE: January 2019 - february 2019

I advised a prestigious French Business School on how to diversify the source countries for key Master’s programmes where certain nationalities had started to dominate. The advice took the form of a report proposing a strategy and target markets, as well a recommendations relating to the student experience, scholarships, communications and promotional tactics.

germany: June 2018 - september 2018

A long-established German university required advice on appropriate marketing strategies to increase international student enrolments over the coming three years. This was provided in the form of a strategic international marketing plan. The plan covered overarching goals, product portfolio expansion, subject area focus, geographical market focus, building a foundation for growth, brand messaging and promotion.

I have also undertaken projects with institutions and organisations in Israel, Sweden and the USA.

Internationalisation Strategy

april 2017 - october 2017

Following on from an earlier review of their international recruitment strategy, the University of Gloucestershire asked me to guide them through the process of developing an Internationalisation Strategy (their first one) to support their new Strategic Plan.

Outputs included:

  • a holistic and realistic Internationalisation Strategy to sit alongside other 'enabling strategies' for the Strategic Plan
  • strong buy-in from staff and students as a result of effective consultation
  • clear Goals, Priority Actions and Success Measures
  • an International Partnerships Taxonomy

Market Research to Inform International Postgraduate Recruitment Strategy

July 2017 - january 2018

(Joint project with Julie Vincent, Vincent Consulting Ltd)

Following a competitive tender process, we undertook a significant piece of market research to help inform Liverpool John Moores University's strategy for increasing international postgraduate enrolments.

Outputs included:

  • a substantial report analysing internal and external (HESA) data, competitor insights, market intelligence and stakeholder insights (external and internal)
  • clear intelligence-driven recommendations
  • presentation to senior staff and facilitation of discussion on next steps

International Student Recruitment Review and Action Plan

June 2017 - august 2017

A well-regarded modern university in England asked me to review proposed measures to enhance international marketing and student recruitment and, based on this review, to develop an institution-wide action plan.

Outputs included:

  • a hierarchy of recommendations around: strategy development; alignment of processes and resources; and operational enhancements
  • a three-year timeline with key milestones
  • a more detailed Year One plan

Transnational Education and Marketing - workshop and report

November 2015 - December 2015

A modern university in Scotland invited me to present my research findings on transnational education (TNE) marketing to a group of key staff, lead a discussion-based workshop on the topic, then prepare a short report outlining recommended next steps.

Outputs included:

  • insights for staff into recent original research on the embedding of marketing into international campus development
  • an opportunity to discuss the challenges and options around TNE marketing and ways to address these within the institution’s own specific context
  • a summary of recommended next steps tailored to the institution’s TNE and wider international marketing needs

Options Analysis for Investment in Specific Target Market

July 2015 - september 2015

In support of its ambitious internationalisation strategy, the University of East Anglia appointed Vicky Lewis Consulting to gather and analyse internal and external intelligence in order to propose and evaluate options for developing the University’s profile and activities in a specific region of the world.

Outputs included:

  • a set of five-year goals, backed by a recommended approach to implementation and clarification of initial priorities
  • an evaluation of alternative operating models (including potential establishment of an in-country office)
  • a five-year roadmap for rolling out the recommended model
  • indicative costs and returns

International Student Recruitment Plan

march 2015 - april 2015

Hereford College of Arts, a specialist art and design institution with a strong interdisciplinary ethos and a growing higher education portfolio, asked Vicky Lewis Consulting to develop a tailored plan to build up its international student numbers. The College wanted to raise its international profile and attract a more diverse student body, particularly to its flagship degree courses.

Outputs included:

  • Identification of target markets over a four-year period
  • Recommended steps to gear up for international growth
  • A detailed one-year international marketing and recruitment action plan – both generic and country-specific
  • Resource requirements and indicative ROI
  • Appendices including detailed market data and other useful resources

If your own institution is in a similar situation, download this pdf Information Sheet for tips on how to develop a really practical international student recruitment plan.

Malaysia Campus Marketing and Recruitment

University of Southampton Malaysia Campus​June 2013 – October 2013

Having enrolled the first students on its Malaysia campus in 2012, the University of Southampton engaged Vicky Lewis Consulting to provide a roadmap for growing student numbers over the coming years.

Outputs included:

  • an outline marketing strategy (including recommendations on organisational positioning, opportunities in Malaysia and the wider region, and programme development options);
  • proposals for marketing, communications and student recruitment resourcing and infrastructure (Malaysia and UK-based);
  • an operational marketing and student recruitment activity plan.

If your institution is considering establishing an international campus, download this pdf Information Sheet which highlights the marketing questions you should be asking at key stages of the project.

International Pathways and Public-Private Partnership Research

January 2015 - february 2015

A well-regarded traditional university commissioned Vicky Lewis Consulting to undertake some research into opportunities to support its internationalisation strategy via a public-private partnership. The objective was to provide a preliminary outline of opportunities and evaluation of the options available.

Outputs included:

  • an analysis of the global and national operating context for public-private partnerships and pathway provision
  • a profile of each of the main providers and an evaluation of fit with the university's strategic aims
  • recommendations on opportunities to pursue and next steps

International Student Recruitment Opportunities - Action Plan

MAY 2015 - JUNE 2015

A UK Film School, a specialist postgraduate-only institution which has been described by the Observer newspaper as ‘the best film school in the world’, commissioned Vicky Lewis Consulting to develop a tailored plan to increase high-calibre international applications and enrolments – with a specific focus on two of its niche Masters programmes.

Outputs included:

  • Identification of target markets and proposed tactics
  • Recommended steps to gear up for international growth
  • A detailed one-year international marketing and recruitment action plan – both generic and country-specific
  • Resource requirements and indicative ROI over a three-year period

Scholarships Portfolio Review

JUNE 2014 - SEPTEMBER 2014

The University of East Anglia appointed Vicky Lewis Consulting to review its extensive portfolio of scholarships (and other financial incentives and support). The objective was to develop a scholarships and awards portfolio which reinforces agreed strategic priorities in a clearly targeted, measurable and cost-effective manner.

Outputs included:

  • a set of research-informed guiding principles and financial targets
  • a new scholarships and awards framework proposal
  • a series of recommendations for implementing and promoting the new portfolio

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