By: Scott Tayloe, Founder and Director of IEP

While we fully recognize you may not view your education abroad office as a business – there are business practices from other industries that we all should take advice from. Here are our Top 10 Business Practices we’ve identified that could help you better advocate for more staffing, more funding, and just hit those target enrollment goals for your office.

  1. Discipline. Outline the data that you want to track for your office. It makes a difference when you are trying to advocate for more staff or funding, when you can back that request up with data! For example, how many students are walking through your doors now, compared to this time last year? 
  2. Job Duties. Are you conducting 3, 6, 12 month reviews? Better understand the current status of your staff by going through their job descriptions and touching base on a consistent basis. Sometimes it’s a surprise to find your staff can take on more, or also want to!
  3. Identify your “sales” team. How are students hearing about your programs and are you putting your marketing efforts into the right places? A recent partner of IEP found that over 80% of their students going abroad said they found out about their program from their faculty. Instead of spending all your efforts marketing directly to students, you may want to market to your faculty so they spread the word!
  4. Follow-up with “leads!” In Education Abroad we would call a lead an interested student. It typically takes 7x for someone to buy a product, so use this knowledge when following up. You may have to follow-up 7x with a student before they finally fill out that application to go abroad!
  5. Outline your goals. Not just enrollment goals but leads and advising goals. Everyone is motivated when they see goals and are tracking towards achieving them!
  6. Watch Shark Tank. Why? Well it’s a great show and fun to watch. But it makes you think about how you often pitch to your “investors”, or administrators. Why would they give you more funding for your office if you can’t back up why you even need it? 
  7. Develop committable Core Values – ones that you are willing to hire and fire by. 
  8. Understand your marketing segments and have an action plan to reach each of them.
  9. Consider using the DISC test with your staff to understand their motivations. What motivates and stresses your team members? It’s good to know to identify what projects will be best managed by key team members.
  10. Develop PR plans for your office. Make sure what you are doing is important to the entire campus community and to those constituents that contribute to success. 

As they say on Shark Tank, I’m in or I’m out. Work towards achieving the above Top 10 Business Practices and we bet you’ll start hearing more of “I’m in.”


IEP is a consultant organization focusing on U.S. University Education Abroad and International Student Services offices. For over a decade IEP has assisted U.S. Universities in the development, oversight and general direction setting of their International Offices. Interested in learning more? Contact our Executive Director, Scott Tayloe –