• The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many industries work and international student recruitment is no different.
  • Lisa’s focus on building relationships with our partners moves away from the transactional model of international recruitment.
  • Adventus.io can ease the pressure many universities feel around having to quality check every single application. 

Behind the work we do is a strong passion for supporting students to study overseas. Many of the Adventus.io team were fortunate enough to study abroad and deeply understand how enriching it can be, like Lisa Williams, who joins Adventus.io as Partnership Director for the UK and Europe.

We sat down with Lisa to talk about international student recruitment, her incredible resume, and what she’s most excited about in her new role with us. 

To begin, what are some of your career highlights?

I would probably split that into professional highlights and then some personal highlights. Personally, it’s been a highlight for me to work my way through the ranks. I’ve only been in the industry for about seven or eight years, and started off relatively junior as an international officer for Southeast Asia at Coventry University in the UK. 

Within three to four years, I’d progressed pretty quickly to Deputy Director Commercial at De Montfort University. I was responsible for the entirety of global recruitment, including the commercial aspects, for the university. I’m really quite proud of how quickly I climbed up by putting the work in because it meant I got a wealth of experience behind me and learned a lot. 

Another personal highlight for me was working in Latin America because I’ve studied Spanish since the age of 11. I’m fluent and it was an integral part of my bachelor’s degree. So being able to work over there and meet with Latin American clients and students in universities – actually using my Spanish – was a real ‘pinch me’ moment. 

Professionally, Coventry University is renowned for being a training ground for international offices. It’s incredibly savvy and internationally focused in its recruitment, student cohort, and academic curricula. It was incredible to be a part of that and I wore the ‘Coventry badge’ with honor and pride. 

In my next role at De Montfort University, about two years in, the pandemic hit. At that point, we had very ambitious recruitment objectives and COVID-19 disrupted all of that. I was leading the sales team as Deputy Director, and despite all of the barriers, we actually built on our recruitment during COVID and Brexit. We increased our numbers by a good percentage year on year and I couldn’t have done it without the team. They were the ones going out recruiting the students while I led from a management perspective. 

What does your new role at Adventus.io entail?

I’m the Partnership Director for the UK and Europe region. That means working with our existing partners – and by partners, I mean every level of institution, whether it’s a higher education university, further education college, English language school, and everything in between – to ensure that they’re happy and their recruitment objectives are being supported by Adventus.io. 

It’s my job to make sure we’re delivering a consistent and high-quality rate so they want to continue the partnership with us and renew. To increase the likelihood of this happening, I focus on building and strengthening relationships so I can be a trusted consultant on their recruitment journey. I don’t want it to be transactional. I want our partners to know that they are at the forefront of everything I do. 

The second part of my role is bringing on new partners. So looking from a business development perspective in the UK and Europe, who are we not working with? Where do we want to expand into? And by that, I mean, geographically but also portfolio-wise. We’ve got a lot of UK universities that work with us already: what about other kinds of institutions? What about boarding schools, English language schools, colleges, etc, so if we want to work with those kinds of partners, how do we do it? 

Why did you join the team?  

When I was at De Montfort University, I was one of Adventus.io’s clients, so Chris Price [SVP Partnerships – UK & Europe] was my account manager. He would drop in and see how things were going and check to see if Adventus.io was meeting all of my needs. And they were, it was an absolute pleasure to be their client!

I saw Adventus.io for everything that they were – they really helped with our recruitment. And we were going through quite a difficult period, with a high rate of visa refusals, so there was a lot of due diligence that needed to be done. The quality control Adventus.io performs really helped and lifted the pressure I felt.

I looked upon Adventus.io very favorably, I knew that they were trustworthy and were ‘tried and tested’. They’re a solid and robust company that has the customer at the forefront of everything that they do, so the ethics were really appealing to me. So when this role came up, it was a bit of a no-brainer. I actually approached Chris Price and said, “Give me this job”, I wanted it! 

What are you most excited to do with/for our customers?

For me, it’s going along on the journey with our institutional partners. I’ve been on the receiving end of agents who just want to come in and take our commission, or simply want to boast about who they work with and have our logo on their website. It’s incredibly self-fulfilling but doesn’t actually meet the objectives that the university wants. I don’t want to do that – I want to help deliver into our partner’s recruitment goals.

I’ve got a wealth of experience in all global markets and I understand international student recruitment inside out, so I get the nuances in every market worldwide.

I’m excited to be able to share that expertise and provide a level of service that’s personal and collaborative. Plus, I believe in overseas study. I was an international student myself, so  I want to facilitate that, especially post-COVID. I think it’s the most enriching and fulfilling experience you can do!

Connect directly with Lisa on LinkedIn, or reach out to our Partnerships team to learn more about how your institution can leverage the Adventus.io marketplace.

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