Violaine Pogeant, Rennes SB Alumni & Fabrice Blanc, OAKland Group
When globalisation and competition go hand in hand, it becomes crucial for schools to keep a close eye on their international reputation, particularly by paying special attention to their alumni living abroad.
Of course, allowing international students to study at your institution is a clear asset: sharing cultures, diversity and language practice are real opportunities for students from the same institution. Beyond the cultural aspect, these are real drivers for developing curiosity and open-mindedness, two essential points in a learning pathway.
However, not all schools use the same strategy to attract young people at an international level in the highly competitive higher education sector.
What contributes to the schools’ reputation?
There are several levers to appeal to students.
The first, which is costly, is to set up impactful communication actions. But while the Grandes Écoles can mobilise substantial budgets for this type of operation, it is not always the case.
The second lever is to appear in international rankings. There too, given the considerable number of institutions present on the market, it is not always easy to secure a position. So we must not neglect the third, which for us is the most essential: prescription.
In education, as in every industry, we always give more credit to somebody who has experienced what we want to share, than to any other marketing or communication action.
Keeping in touch, but not only…
Thus, graduates who have completed their studies at your institution are undeniably major assets in attracting prospects. But relying on their presence at the school alone is not enough to make them talk about you, you must also stay in touch with them after they leave the school and maintain contact to extend their experience as alumni. This can be beneficial, especially when 33% of a school’s graduates live abroad, a significant source of ambassadors, as is the case for Rennes School of Business.
“From the very beginning, Rennes School of Business has wanted to assert its difference thanks to a highly international perspective. Today, we draw on this strength within the School’s 23,000-strong alumni community. Our daily challenge is to stay connected with our members, no matter where they live in the world”. Says Violaine Pogeant, Head of the Rennes SB Alumni Pole.
If the subject is relatively simple to address at the national level, it is often more complex at the international level. Keeping a link with alumni around the world requires being able to follow them on a continuous basis, thus having permanent access to international data, which is not an easy task.
This is what Rennes School of Business Alumni has realised and, in addition to the important work of animating the network of graduates present in more than 100 countries, it has devoted itself to setting up efficient solutions for managing heterogeneous data.
Violaine Pogeant explains: “We know that the average lifespan of information regarding our alumni’s professional situation is 3 years. Based on this fact, we are constantly looking for solutions to have the most up-to-date and complete information possible on our graduates”.
To keep in touch with alumni all over the world, it is important not only to know them, but also to be able to contact them easily and, above all, to be able to provide them with personalised information and services. Hence the importance of having continuous access to reliable, up-to-date and secure data.
Data is therefore becoming one of the major tools for guaranteeing schools’ effective international outreach.