MSM News & Announcements Education Agents Optimistic

63% are highly optimistic about online recruitment in the next 12 months but many are still grappling with the transition from a largely face-to-face business to online platforms, according to the latest report from international education provider M Square Media (MSM) 

At a Glance:

  • 65% of agents recruited with a mix of online and offline, while 35% recruited completely online
  • Most of the respondents – or 61.7% – recruited to institutions in Canada, followed by 22.3% to the United Kingdom 
  • 63% are highly optimistic about online recruitment in the next 12 months
  • Agents maintain a healthy level of caution. Beyond the need to navigate challenges in promoting institutions and providing student services at par with pre-pandemic levels, 84% worry over student entry restrictions due to COVID-19, 52.8% over financial difficulties due to unemployment, and 50.7% with the movement to online learning. 

(January 2021) A new report conducted among education agents in countries around the world show that amid a badly disrupted revenue model, agents are optimistic of recruiting students online during COVID-19.


Surveying 775 agents located in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Colombia, Mexico, South Korea, Turkey, and other countries worldwide, the report “Online Recruitment: Agent Toolkit, Challenges and Gaps to Fill” from international education provider M Square Media (MSM) showed that 63.4% of respondents are highly optimistic about their recruitment in the next 12 months, followed by 23% who are somewhat optimistic and 13% who are neutral.


Of the survey participants, 65% use a mix of online and offline tools while the remaining 35% went completely online. Email topped the list as used by 713 or 92% of respondents, followed by phone calls (691 or 89.2%), social media (618 or 79.7%), and mailed-in or distributed flyers and materials (310 or 40%).


A majority of the respondents recruited students to Canada (478 respondents or 61.7%), while others recruited to the United Kingdom (173 or 22.3%), Australia (62 or 8%), United States (17 or 2.2%) and other countries (45 or 5.8%).


When asked about the source of their optimism in online recruitment, 594 respondents or 76.6% cited the lifting of travel restrictions, 449 or 57.9% mentioned the COVID-19 vaccine. Interestingly, 274 respondents or 35.4% pointed to automation platforms for recruitment.


However, in an industry built on face-to-face interactions, old habits die hard.


“Agency office appointments, print media, and other traditional methods of working with students still have not made a full exit in the era of limited mobility,” wrote MSM, which surveyed the agents in late 2020.


The agent-student dynamic, according to the report, has always involved physical visits and face-to-face counselling to finalize application and registration plans.


MSM recommended ways to address the pushback, including adopting a tech recruitment platform that automates agent tasks and streamlines application processing with a high level of accuracy and security.


In June 2020, MSM surveyed agents at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, finding that a majority of respondents (84.8%) are experiencing a loss of income. The pandemic has posed new and diverse challenges for education agents, including mobility restrictions, hesitation from students and their families, and the cancellation of events and edufairs.


MSM builds global and in-country offices, manages agent networks, and provides business development and marketing solutions to higher education institutions. It currently has more than 40 partner institutions in Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, and other key markets worldwide. This year, MSM became a finalist in the PIEoneer of the Year category of the prestigious PIEoneer Awards 2020. The annual award is organized by The PIE, an independent media, recruitment, and events website in international education that connects its global community of professionals.

About M Square Media

M Square Media (MSM) is a leading service provider in international education and other sectors. We offer a wide range of global business solutions to clients including, international business development, market research and deep opportunity analysis, sourcing sales channel partnerships, market entry strategy, market expansion, lead generation, brand development, finance and accounting management, payroll and expense management, tax compliance and corporate administrative services, staff recruitment, local representation, HR support, and ready-to-go office space. Read more about MSM at

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Phone: +1 250 262 6686 

Email: [email protected] 


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