Five Tips for Student Recruitment - Vietnam

by Lien Ta
Higher Education Institutions, Further Education Institutions, Schools & Independent Colleges, ELT Providers

Vietnam continues to be a hot sending country of students to competitor study destinations, yet UK market share is currently in single digit figures. We see Vietnam as a long term growth market for the UK, however this requires a good understanding of the local audience and communicating the right messages. I trust that the following five marketing tips give you some food for thought:

1. Focusing on employability

The main motivation of studying abroad for Vietnamese students and their parents are better career opportunities, leading to a well-paid and rewarding career. Therefore, messages about internship and work placement opportunities are always very attractive to students, especially at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  Once in the UK, Vietnamese students need access to a careers service where they can access information about local employers and relationships with them, so that they will be better prepared before returning home, and then can get employment in Vietnam more quickly.

2. The role of parents and their key concerns

Parents still play an important role in the decision making process of students, as career guider rather than controller. Adaptation, language skills and security are main concerns of parents when sending their children to study abroad. Student care and support activities; and activeness of Vietnamese student associations in helping students with adjusting to life in the UK are always important messages to gain trust from parents.

3. Promote your institutional ranking in subject areas

Students are now paying more attention to graduate employment market needs and chosing subject areas that will help them to find better job opportunities. They tend to choose a country and a university to study based on their selection of subject area. Therefore ranking of a university in specific subject areas has become much more important than the overall ranking.

4. K12 private bilingual schools – a growing feeder channel

More Vietnamese parents now send their children to study at K12 private bilingual schools, where they believe their children will be taught systematically in foreign curriculum, and will benefit from improved foreign language and soft skills compared to public schools. The increasing number of such schools in key cities is now a good source of recruiting students to foreign institutions. Almost all of them have student counselling departments which provide support for students in overseas study. The most common activities to establish relationships with these schools are organizing academic talks to students, English summer courses, scholarship tests and interviews, and familiarization trips for school counsellors.

5. Use different marketing approach between Hanoi and HCMC

Customers in Hanoi and HCMC have different behaviors that need to be taken into consideration. Hanoians are more conservative and more of a challenge to convince, while Saigonese are more open minded and more willing to experiment with new ideas. Therefore, it will typically take more time for you to follow up with prospective parents/students in Hanoi than in HCMC. While traditional advertising channels such as newspapers and magazines are still preferred in HCMC, digital channels such as news sites, social networks and forums have more impact in Hanoi. Word-of-mouth and referrals from alumni and family members also affect the decision-making process of parents in Hanoi more than with those in HCMC.  Institutional ranking and prestige of the foreign institution also much matter to Hanoians, meanwhile Saigonese care more about practical benefits that really fit what they need. Scholarships and tuition fee discount will help you win a student in Hanoi, but not always in HCMC.

British Council in Vietnam

We aim to help your student recruitment in Vietnam, leveraging our local knowledge to assist with the following:

1. Tailoring your marketing messages to appeal to the Vietnamese audience

2. Advising on what marketing channels (online and face to face) are effective

3. Access to private schools and local universities

4. Our Study UK fair for face to face engagement will this year include a job fair and career prospects forum, in order to attact a larger audience:



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