Industry Chat / Dirk Mulder, MulderPR

Dirk Mulder has extensive experience across the international student sector and is now Principal of MulderPR, a strategy and marketing communications consultancy. Highlighting that life is very different at the moment for universities and institutions in international education, Dirk shared his observations of how the sector has responded and what we might expect in the future.

Reflecting on how much has changed since January, Dirk outlined how each sector had responded. Acknowledging the challenges with innovating and keeping up with rapid changes to education models, he suggested that ELICOS had been hardest hit. This is concerning for the wider sector as the ripples of impact spread wider.

An opportunity exists for the sector to come back to something that maximises what is working well now, with institutions and agencies considering how they can add value at each point of the student journey. More than anything, Dirk sees this time as a great opportunity for institutions to be creative and work on initiatives that will ground them further and enhance their foothold, not only as institutions, but as city, state and country destinations. Peer to peer marketing is needed to cut through the communications crowding the market, with the authentic student voice an important element to sharing the student experience. Alumni are also critical to success, often an undervalued resource at an institution’s disposal to mentor students and communicate in different markets. 

“Having an authentic voice that students and their families can ask questions of… someone who is currently studying or has studied in the past should be a real advantage.”

One of the great strengths of Australian culture is the coming together of communities and Dirk reflects that we have seen this in the current situation, particularly within the education sector. The signs are good for students looking for an international experience, with Dirk saying he hopes for a “more integrated, globalised world where education continues to play an important role in helping us come together.”