Cara Skikne
2 years ago

Recruitment 4.0: Universities must respond to changes in student behavior and better use data and insight to successfully compete for global talent



Institutions need to rapidly respond to the exponential rise of data and use it to better target their recruitment. Students increasingly use data to inform their choices, says Dr David Pilsbury, Deputy Vice Chancellor, International at Coventry University.

Whilst at Coventry University, Pilsbury has worked closely with the Studyportals team. Thijs van Vugt, Director of Analytics and Consulting at Studyportals said: “Over the last four years, we have collaborated to transform their international reach in student recruitment. We helped them to shift from a traditional focus to an approach that uses granular data to discover new target opportunities in new and existing markets.” This has been a key part of maintaining Coventry’s position as the 4th largest recruiter of overseas students, and leading recruiter of overseas undergraduate students in the face of a step change in competition.

David has spoken widely on the use of insight as critical to nurturing and promoting targeted engagement with traditional destinations, and success in entering new markets. His commitment to advancing the cause of data and insight for the benefit of institutions and the students they serve has now led him to join Studyportals’ Advisory Board. David will chair the UK group, and advise Studyportals’ executive management team. His thought leadership activity will facilitate discussion and operational developments that will inform next generation international recruitment.

He explains why he was keen to join Studyportals at this time:

“Instances of misuse have made people nervous of data, especially when applied on a global scale, but insight is a force for transparency that has changed our sector for the better. We must embrace this opportunity and guide its development. Studyportals’ values and vision embody this approach and are a foundational element of Recruitment 4.0. Their systems employ advanced algorithms and taxonomies that match ambitious individuals with the courses of study that will enable them to better realise their potential. Data is the oil and Artificial intelligence the engine that will drive future recruitment and transform outcomes. Together they capture a student’s primary motivations and present options for study  informed by previous success stories that grew from similar motivations and goals.”


 Dr David Pilsbury, Deputy Vice Chancellor, International at Coventry University

Studyportals CEO Edwin van Rest spoke on this issue further at an event organised by The PIE last week:

“Alongside our commitment to transparency, at Studyportals we believe that student recruitment should not be a race. It should always be about presenting the institutions who are the best fit, not necessarily the first to capture an application. We also want universities to have complete control over their information, in real time. When every interaction is transparent, we can mitigate the risk of incorrect or expired data, misrepresentation and fraud.”

Graduate employers will also benefit from these improved data analytics.  Thijs van Vugt explains how this will work:

“Employers will be able to tap into a ‘treasure map’ of students who are developing the key skills needed and gaining the right knowledge at top-ranking institutions. Over time, we can expect the academic world and global economy to become more closely aligned as this new generation of insight provides a steady two-way flow of information. This will improve the market relevance of academic programme content and assist employers with workforce continuity planning and the development of new roles and functions that equip them for future challenges and opportunities.”



If you have any questions please contact Dawn Hotchkis, Communications Manager at


About Studyportals

Studyportals is the biggest education choice platform in the world, helping students worldwide to find and compare study options across borders, for free. Currently, Studyportals offers detailed information and personalized suggestions about over 200,000 on-campus and online courses from more than 3,750 participating universities from 118 countries and territories around the globe. Studyportals is the world’s leading information source for 45 million study seekers.

On our mission to empower the world to choose education, we help institutions to optimise their student population in size, quality, and diversity, through a fully digital, transparent and future-proof channel, with measured and guaranteed results.

Find out more at


About the Studyportals Advisory Board

Our advisory board, launched in 2018, consists of seasoned, multi-disciplinary education leaders and innovators  who have an interest in analysing and discussing the global higher education landscape, and share a commitment to steering it in a sustainable direction. It includes university presidents, an education minister and also e.g. the founder of edX.



For more updates, follow us!


More Press Releases