New Student Recruitment virtual events – a global approach

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It has never been more challenging, or important, to maintain contact with our prospective students.

Professional service teams within Marketing, Recruitment admissions and Communications (MRAC) have collaborated globally to implement new virtual solutions to continue student engagement. Global Executive Director Lucy Everest explains how colleagues are joining together to innovate new solutions.

In response to the recent COVID-19 cancellation of on-campus events for student recruitment and staff working remotely, new virtual events have been created by teams working together remotely across UK, Dubai and Malaysia. The aim is to minimise disruption to our student recruitment activities and continue delivering a great experience for prospective students.

This has been achieved by teams rapidly connecting globally to devise, plan and implement webinar events through a system called Adobe Connect, and using collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams to problem-solve and share learnings across global professional service teams at speed and scale. This involved quickly solving issues of procurement, data processing, scheduling of events, staff training and communication to prospective students.

New website content and pages have been created to aid prospective students in the UK when they are engaging with webinar events or considering their offer choices. This content and plan was developed within hours of the news that UCAS events in the UK were being cancelled. Delivery has been possible due to the strong support of many academic colleagues, to whom we are very grateful. The content includes new videos, podcasts and presentations, all created or constructed in a matter of days. Similar web content has also been created locally in Malaysia and Dubai.

This has been an intense and busy period for the team, who have managed delivery while also moving from the office to home working. There was a real feeling of transition when colleagues departed the Edinburgh campus carrying their pot plants, with the realisation they were unlikely to be back at their desks for a prolonged period.  The collective response across our professional and academic colleagues has been a great example of building commonality in practice and demonstrates the truly global response of our Heriot-Watt community in innovating and delivering our primary objectives.