- Davorin Vrdoljak has worked in international student recruitment for around 20 years, bringing his experience in lead generation to his role at Adventus.io.
- Quality control at Adventus.io is performed by people who understand the industry, not machine-driven AI.
- Acceleration of international student recruitment is going to be important as borders open up in the APAC region.
After experiencing some of the longest lockdowns and border closures in the world, the Asia Pacific region is slowly opening up for international students. This is a crucial time for our institutional partners and we sat down with Davorin Vrdoljak, Partnership Director, APAC, to see how Adventus.io can support this recovery.
To start, how did you come to work at Adventus.io Davorin?
I’ve been in the higher education sector for quite a while now – just over 20 years – and for a lot of that time I was directly involved with international student recruitment. I became aware of Adventus.io partway through last year and noticed that they were an ‘up and coming’ organisation in the sector.
I started to engage with Adventus.io predominantly with Stephen Connolly [SVP Partnership – APAC], at the time, who I already knew. So there was already a connection there which made it easier for me to understand the company and the culture.
I was also feeling restless as a result of the pandemic, but in the end the opportunity at Adventus.io swayed me to continue in the vein of what I’d been doing previously, but with a company that was experiencing growth and expansion as well as doing something new in the sector.
Yes, there’s an appetite for change out there and people are asking themselves: ‘where is the best place to be now that the world has changed?’
Yes there is – and while there’s the overarching EdTech banner with Adventus.io, I think what we sometimes undersell is the human factor behind what we do. A lot of the work that we do depends heavily on quality control that is carried out by humans, as well as tech. So whether that’s vetting and managing the agent network, or whether it’s updating and managing the quality of applicants and applications, a lot of the work is human judgment.
I think that appeals to education providers because they know with us that it’s not just a machine dealing with them, there’s a lot of compliance work that needs to happen. It’s not just automated, there are humans who are well versed in what needs to happen, who are carrying out the quality control. I think that’s what also makes the educational institutions feel more at ease about who we are and what we’re doing.
Glancing back at your incredible 20 year career in international student recruitment, what’s a career highlight or memorable moment?
Most of my career in general, but particularly in the education sector, has been in operational management. But there’s always been an element of the commercial to it as well, because I was typically responsible for winning and then delivering on strategic contracts, mostly with the government, but also with educational institutions as well. I’ve always worked as a service supplier to the education sector, rather than working within institutions.
My experience has been broad, encompassing everything from lead generation right through to student enrollment. That’s often a very long period too, because it starts from that initial engagement that a prospective student may have with an institution through email, or even clicking on a link to their website, right up to the point where they’ve enrolled, which can be 12 or 14 months, depending on the institution. There’s a lot that happens in between those two points in terms of nurturing students through that process.
Can you walk us through what you’re responsible for and how your new role fits into the Adventus.io ecosystem?
In the last year or so, Adventus.io has been developing solutions for institutions specifically. Prior to that, a lot of work had gone into building up the agent network. While the team has been focusing on how they can make the Adventus.io marketplace an effective recruitment tool, my role is taking those solutions out to our partner institutions in Australia and New Zealand.
The types of products that we’ve developed and are rolling out are largely marketing products. It’s about making our partner institutions on our marketplace front of mind for agents who would not have necessarily considered working with that institution in the past. It’s about broadening the reach and increasing the diversity of the students that they’re getting. And a significant part of it is solutions around data and analytics that provide the institutions with actionable insights that they can use when they’re adjusting their recruitment strategy.
Looking forward, what are you most excited about?
We’re only really at the beginning of the rollout of the marketing solutions – they’ve been operational only for a matter of months. So we’re only really at the beginning of their true potential. I truly believe in what the solutions can achieve for the institutions because, first of all, it’s built on the solid foundation of a vast agent network.
We’re delivering a very relevant audience to our partner institutions and prospective students who are in the final stages of their decision-making about where and what they’ll study. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens over the next year, particularly in Australia and New Zealand as the markets open back up.
The possibilities are just huge here, especially knowing that Australian institutions have been, arguably, more advanced in international student recruitment practices than anywhere else in the world. With us in their marketing and recruitment portfolio, I think the recovery is going to be a lot faster than it would be otherwise. That acceleration is going to be important and we’re well placed to deliver that. So to be a part of that is pretty cool and very exciting!