- Patrick Whitfield has worked from Hobsons, QS, and IDP, and brings a wealth of experience to his work as Chief Commercial Officer at Adventus.io.
- Educational institutions are adapting to massive changes and a hybrid approach that involves technology may be the way of the future.
- Supporting our partners to make the most of the Adventus.io marketplace is a big goal – one that Patrick is excited to be part of.
We’re thrilled to have Patrick Whitfield as our Chief Commercial Officer for a number of reasons. The depth of experience he brings to Adventus.io from around a decade of work in international student recruitment and EdTech is inspiring. His enthusiasm and passion for what technology can do for educational institutions is infectious – and his path to where he is now is just as interesting.
From management consultancy to sales to international student recruitment
Growing up, Patrick was surrounded by conversations about ‘how the world works’ via his family who predominantly worked in public policy in the UK. This instilled a curiosity in him that led to a role at a boutique management consulting firm, kickstarting his career.
From the get-go, he worked with massive global brands on strategy projects, fuelling an interest in the commercial aspects of business. It was there that he was introduced to international student recruitment via an ex-colleague who had recently started working with UK giant Hobsons.
“Hobsons was one of the largest suppliers of university CRM systems and outsource services,” Patrick explains. “When I first joined, I was responsible for leading accounts in the UK to work across all of those different parts of the business. Everything from selling software to application management solutions to outsourcing services. I eventually progressed into leadership roles before Hobsons was acquired by QS.”
Well known to people in international education, primarily responsible for the World University Rankings, Patrick’s role at QS involved leading a regional business unit for the UK and Europe responsible for QS enrollment solutions, which was the outsourced Services Division of QS. Most recently, however, Patrick was the Commercial Director of IDP Connect, within the B2B division, responsible for leading the global commercial strategy.
“I helped build teams who were responsible for finding and nurturing partnerships with institutions for IDP,” Patrick offers. “The role was dynamic and we did so many things; supporting student placements, digital marketing, data insights products, or launching various initiatives, including a new range of data insights services.”
A new frontier and challenge
Patrick has seen great success in his career thus far, particularly during his last role at IDP.
“We took a data insights product from virtually no revenue to a critical part of the value proposition for the whole organisation,” he recalls. “What made that so rewarding, was that it wasn’t just about being able to sell something: we were using data insights to improve our product offering, which was an extremely collaborative process with our customers. I can see a similar opportunity here with Adventus.io and I find that really exciting!”
The move across to Adventus.io has energised Patrick. He was really eager to be a part of an organisation at an earlier stage of development so that he could be instrumental in catapulting it into the next stage of growth.
“It’s a really exciting organisation to be a part of,” Patrick exclaims. “That, combined with an amazing foundation, plus the opportunity to directly impact the direction that we take, was really appealing.”
“Adventus.io also has a really exceptional group of founders. Getting to know Ryan Trainor and Victor Rajevaan particularly, as well as the other members of the executive team, was extremely energising – to have those conversations and to understand the vision for the business won me over!”
Addressing an important question: what changes will stay?
In the last few years, we’ve seen incredible change across the sector in a number of ways. Every institution has had to ask themselves this big question: to what extent are these changes permanent?
“What I’ve seen happen is an acceleration of digital transformation,” Patrick comments. “It likely would have happened anyway, but at a much slower pace. But it was really needed within international education. The ability to provide a great experience to students, in whatever mode, is absolutely the right thing, and there’s good progress.”
“Through research, I’ve led previously, and what we’re seeing at Adventus.io, is the demand from international students to actually travel and study overseas,” he continues. “They want the fulfilling experience of meeting new people, studying in classrooms, having a social life, and making connections that are going to be part of their life forever – that much is not going away.”
With increasing demand from international students, institutions will need to adopt a hybrid approach, one that places the student experience at its core and uses technology to enhance every aspect of it.
Student demand, digital transformation, and an exciting future
Looking forward to 2022 and beyond, Patrick is excited about the opportunity to be part of Adventus.io’s growth, both in terms of the marketplace and the institutional partnerships that will be nurtured alongside it.
“There are so many exciting things ahead,” Patrick muses. “The expansion of our source markets, scaling our model, and building relationships on the ground in countries like Japan, Korea, Brazil, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates. It speaks so directly to the reemergence of this need around diversification that we’re going to see in institutions.”
Adventus.io products [Drive] are in the early stages of development and rollout, so the potential for institutions to reach their recruitment goals via our marketplace is exponential. We’re on a mission to develop more flexibility for institutions and create opportunities for targeting the exact students they’re looking for, offering more certainty around their student pipeline.
“There’s so much opportunity with the platform,” Patrick explains. “We’re really just getting started! I’m excited to grow the team and go much further to help institutions connect with students in more interesting and seamless ways.”