This is a long –awaited post. As the founder and initial concept creator of HelloUni, I feel obliged to clarify and explain to the wider audience about what is HelloUni and what we are striving to achieve here at ICAN Future Star Ltd.
Here comes the story behind the creation of HelloUni:
Firstly, for people who do not know me personally, I was an international student. I am originally from China but I went to a sixth form college in Cambridge. I then went through the process of UCAS like a typical domestic student and got offered a place in the University of Glasgow where I studied for a Bachelor degree, followed by a Research Master. After that I went on to complete a PhD in Behavioural Accounting in the Adam Smith Business School.
During my study at University of Glasgow, I was elected as the President and chairman for the Chinese Students & Scholars Association in Glasgow (part of the Chinese Scholars & Students Association CSSA UK which is under the direct supervision of Embassy of Republic of China). I also served as the International Student Officer at the Student Representative Council in the university to oversee all matters concerning the wellbeing and rights of international students at the university.
In the last year of my PhD, I won the John Mather Budding Entrepreneur competition, which gave me the starting capital and confidence to pursue my entrepreneurial ambitions. I was given business advisory support from the Adam Smith Business School as well as Financial Services firms such as PriceWaterHouseCoopers.
Because of my personal experience and research-informed insights into the decision-making process behind of international applicants, particularly those from outside the EU, I believe that universities need an innovative platform that gives them an edge over their competitors by giving total control of the messages communicated to prospective applicants. An alternative solution that doesn’t excessively rely on local agents or websites such as Studentroom.
Universities find recruiting the right calibre of international students difficult and costly. The most common practice is to use local agents, who don’t necessarily have an in depth knowledge of the university, who may represent multiple universities and who are expensive. External websites such as Studentroom require constant external administration to ensure their content is accurate and is not a dedicate recruitment and or marketing platform for individual university.
At ICAN Future Star Ltd, we believe that a technology-enabled product combined with the unique market intelligence of the segmentation of international students recruitment would improve our university client’s chance to connect with the prospective applicants at both rational and emotional level.
Our product is HelloUni, a cross-platform mobile solution which can be customised and integrated into universities’ current online marketing suit. HelloUni helps universities mitigate the problems mentioned earlier by providing them with a mobile platform which allows them to approach prospective students directly, engaging them with customised content about the university.
Because we care about empowering international applicants and ensuring university could attract and retain the right calibre of applicants, we offer the product in a SaaS model, which means we have stake in the game and we will work with the university client to continuously upgrade the product and leverage our region-based market insight to create innovative marketing solutions to help clients to better target individual market segmentations of the applicants.
The key benefits of HelloUni are:
1) A more personalisable and intuitive application experience
2) An automatically translated interface matching the location of the App Store for users in different regions
3) Mobilisation and automatisation of the existing ambassador network
4) Usability for agents or university country representatives, to engage applicants through their application journey via customised push notifications
5) Engaging the prospective applicants throughout the application journey, thus, supporting an increased emotional connection between prospective applicants and the university’s ambassadors
6) Providing user data and behaviour analytics, which can be fed to the university’s existing leads/ customer relationships management system for better targeting and marketing to applicants by segmentation
7) Runs on both android and iOS phones
The company’s market research and behavioural insights indicate that this can greatly increase the confidence of the prospective students’ and their families’ with the university and hence their likelihood of enrolment to that university.
Initial market validation has proved that there is a strong demand for HelloUni. The company is a winner of the UK Trade and Investment Sirius program, and currently working with University of Glasgow with the objective to launch HelloUni Glasgow in August and test the product with the applicants of the university.