Deciding with Data

Using data-based decisionmaking to support international enrollment management goals.
Illustration: Shutterstock
Glenn Cook

George Kacenga is a self-described data junkie, the type of person who enjoys looking at information about the international students he is trying to recruit and finding ways to “make it come alive” for others.

“Data allows you to make a case for the work you want to do for your institution,” says Kacenga, the executive director of global engagement at Purdue University-Northwest. “But you have to know how to collect it, analyze it, and translate it so others can see and buy into your short-term and long-range goals.”

Higher education institutions—large and small, public and private—are increasingly tapping into data to make better informed decisions about their international recruitment efforts. Doing so, however, raises a number of questions: What types of data should be gathered? What customer relationship management (CRM) tools should be used to slice and dice the data? How can international enrollment managers take what is gleaned from their data and use it with internal and external audiences?

“With all of the data around us, the technology around us, and the preferences of students and audiences changing overnight, we are at a turning point in terms of how we are and should be marketing to prospective international students,” says Swaraj Nandan, director and cofounder of KIC UnivAssist, a firm that works with 170 universities in 35 countries to advance global engagement. “Mobility trends require us to have an internal focus, and enrollment managers are at the center of getting the information to help you to decide what

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