Understand. Engage. Influence.


The global benchmark for your international agent experience


International Agent Mystery Shopping is the only international benchmarking research built to help you improve the impact of your international recruitment activity, by understanding what your agents in different markets discuss with your prospective students.

When you know which issues the agents and students care about the most, how your institution is perceived and how supportive your agents are, you can identify which activities would engage agents and students in why you are a better choice than your competitors.

The Challenge

Your international recruitment and marketing teams are focussed on delivering 100’s of different activities to drive your international recruitment growth. But more activity may not be the best way to drive your growth. 


How do you know which of your current international recruitment activities are working, which aren’t, and most importantly which activities and messages are missing from your current plans, to help you grow?

The Opportunity

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Agents typically account for over 80% of an institution’s international student enrolments, playing a pivotal role in driving applications and offer acceptances. However, we have found that there is a significant gap between the recommendation levels institutions expect and those that agents actually deliver.

With a recommendation level of 30%, agents are diverting 70% of your leads to your competitors, wasting 70c in every $1 you’ve spent on lead acquisition activity in that country. So before you reinvest in last years activity again, it would be worthwhile understanding which activity would improve your agent recommendation in each market.

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Every market is different


The most effective recruitment activity will vary by market because;

Students from different cultures care about different issues when deciding where to study

The strength and breadth of your brand reputation varies by market

The strength of your agent relationships varies by market.

Current Performance Data Isn’t Enough


Analysing your agent performance data only tells you WHAT your agents are doing, but it doesn’t explain WHY they are performing the way they are and more importantly doesn’t help you understand what you need do to improve the performance of your agent network and your student experience in each market.

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Unique Cultural Insights Drive Growth


Understanding the key differences by market is critically important to increasing the impact of your international recruitment activity to drive growth


If you knew agents in Indonesia focussed on cost of living and were recommending your competitors ahead of you because your city was perceived as too expensive to live in, you could review your activity to refocus on communicating how Indonesian students afford a great lifestyle in your city and love living there (versus your competitor’s cities).


If you knew agents in China were focussed on course accreditations and were recommending your competitors ahead of you because their business course is triple-crown accredited, you could reassess your activity to strengthen your 3rd party endorsement and ranking messages versus your competitors for Chinese students.

The strength and breadth of your brand reputation varies by market

The strength of your agent relationships varies by market.


If you knew agents in India were focussed on post-graduation work opportunities and were recommending your competitors ahead of you because it’s easier to get work after they graduate, you could reassess your activity to demonstrate how you drive employment success for Indian students. 

The Scope


International Agent Mystery Shopping enables you to benchmark agent recommendation for your institution versus your competitors. It will help you identify WHY your agents aren’t recommending you and what you can do about it, answering key questions to help you develop more impactful activity; 

  1. How does your level of agent recommendation vary by agent, country and course?

  2. Is your proposition fully represented by your agents to prospective students?

  3. What are the key decision-making criteria agents talk to students about in each market?

  4. Why are other institutions being recommended by your agents ahead of your institution?

  5. Are agents who attended your familiarisation tour representing the key messages to students?

The Benefits


Understanding WHY your agents recommended your competitors to prospective students will help you to;

  • Improve your agent engagement and help them better represent your institution.

  • Identify the few recruitment activities that will make a big difference to improve your ROI.

  • Improve the student experience by developing more relevant student centred activity.

  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your global brand reputation by market.

  • Create an evidence base to support investment changes.

The Process


We have developed a simple process requiring minimal administration at your end;​

  • Only 5 questions to answer to start a project

  • Dedicated account manager

  • Comprehensive report

  • Recommended actions

Next Steps


With global coverage, tailor-made questionnaires and a 6 week turnaround time, International Agent Mystery Shopping is the leading research tool to improve your engagement with your agent network, the ROI of your recruitment activity and your student experience.


We recommend following a 4-step process to drive your international student growth and diversity;

1. Agent Mystery Shopping

To identify for each market the level of agent recommendation, the relative strength of your brand reputation and the key issues agents and care about.

2. Audit


Review your current international recruitment activity against the key findings from the agent mystery shopping research to identify opportunities to build your competitive advantage.

3. Engage


Develop a plan to focus on activities that will improve your competitive advantage with agents and prospective students tailored to each market.

4. Influence


Execute your activities in a way that will influence your target market to choose you ahead of your competitors.

Prioritise investment opportunities by benchmarking your performance to your competitors to identify the few activities that will make the biggest impact on improving your recommendation by agents.

Contact John at john@macmorgan.co for more information.