Culture Matters: Intercultural Management of an International Campus

Culture Matters: Intercultural Management of an International Campus

February 20-21, 2014 Two days of intense discussions about the implication of culture on university recruitment efforts and academic life have brought excellent results and much satisfaction, as evaluation charts show.

In the session on CULTURE IN COMMUNICATIONS led by Sander Schroevers from Amsterdam Univeristy of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands we talked about the rapidly internationalising world of higher education and the fact that more international communication, does not mean better communication. Over the last decade research has become available on what approaches work and what do not for certain cultures. To illustrate his points, Sander employed research findings and practical experience in the area of higher education, departing from a Central and Eastern European perspective, and providing useful insights for the educational growth markets. He outlined expert strategies for mindful cross-cultural communication (including norms, expectations, and taboos), effective recruitment across cultures and good communication with students in person. In a series of targeted examples we learned how to better communicate effectively across cultures by email, phone and skype, as well as in person; what to include and what to avoid when preparing culturally-sensitive marketing materials, what to include in orientation days and acculturation sessions. We discussed how students adapt to different cultures and how this affects educational interactions; we also talked about difficulties on the home front to see where is the room for improvement on the part of our higher education institution.

The session with Thijs van Vugt of iE&D Solutions, The Netherlands on SERVICE MARKETING AND SERVICE QUALITY IN MAKING THE CAMPUS INTERNATIONAL was an eye-opening experience for many participants. It shed light on issues rarely discussed at HEIs, namely, service marketing and services quality. Universities across the world want to be and claim to be international, welcoming and caring for students of various cultures. More often than not, however, such statements raise false expectations amongst (prospective) international students, as most universities do not or cannot deliver on this promise. Participants discussed the ways to develop an institution of higher learning into a truly welcoming place for international students by exploring such concepts as international student satisfaction, the reputation of the institution, quality of service and service marketing, as well as various models of intercultural management on campus.

Last but not least, we connected virtually with New York and enjoyed a webinar on OPTIMIZING YOUR WEBSITE FOR INTERNATIONAL VISITORS presented by Megan Brenn-White of Brenn-White Group, USA. In a series of examples and exercises, Megan demonstrated that a university’s English-language website is a complex instrument, having to fulfil the wishes of multiple stakeholders within the institution, while at the same time (and more importantly!) having to meet the needs of an extremely diverse range of international audiences. Websites that do not consider the expectations, interests, and behaviours of non-domestic users run a high risk of confusing, disappointing, or frustrating their global visitors. The participants got from the webinar ideas and techniques that they can immediately apply to their website, regardless of technical or other restrictions. Magan offered implementable solutions to common challenges that affect the content, navigation, and language used on international university websites. Real-world examples illustrated both best practices and areas where there is room for improvement. We only wished we could spend more time on this subject!


Megan Brenn-White Megan Brenn-White from The Brenn-White Group has led workshops and training sessions on international marketing communications topics for higher education professionals and faculty members for organizations such as EAIE (European Association of International Educators) and the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). She also have extensive experience presenting at major international education conferences such as NAFSA, AIEA, the Forum on Education Abroad, and more. In 2012 The Brenn-White Group also launched the International Education Academy (, an online platform for delivering practical and accessible training and professional development webcasts and webinars. The Brenn-White Group work with higher education institutions around the world to help them reach their international goals by providing marketing, editorial, translation, and strategy services. Clients include universities, colleges, consortia, government agencies, companies, and non-profits. In addition to holding senior positions in marketing and content at international websites, Megan Brenn-White, Managing Director, has served as Deputy Director of DAAD New York (responsible for marketing the German higher education system in North America), Executive Director of the Hessen Universities Consortium New York Office, and Director for International Partnerships at Parsons School of Design. Educated at Harvard University and the London School of Economics, she has lived and worked in France, Germany, Israel, the UK, and the US.

Thijs van VugtThijs van Vugt is director and partner of iE&D Solutions BV, an educational consultancy firm. Thijs has a Master’s degree in Economics from Tilburg University, a post-graduate certificate in Public Management from TiasNimbas Business School, and a post-graduate certificate in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) from Beeckestijn Business School. Thijs is the founder of the Professional Section on Marketing & Recruitment of the European Association for International Education (EAIE). He was the chair of M&R from 2002 until 2008 and was a member of EAIE’s Executive Board from 2004 until 2008. In 2006 Thijs published a book on The Impact of Tuition Fees on International Student Recruitment. In September 2009, he was awarded the Bo Gregersen Award for Best Practice of the EAIE. Some of his recent clients are: University of Groningn, Utrecht University, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Jönköping University, Uppsala University, VU University Amsterdam, Radboud University, University of the Arctic, Tromsø University, StudyPortals BV and RNTC. For more information about Thijs see

Sander SchroeversSander Schroevers is Cultural Intelligence expert, who has worked with both academic and corporate clients, and currently lectures Cross-Cultural skills at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. The author of some seventy management books in the field of international communication, he has become a frequent speaker at conferences around the world. He is visiting lecturer in Malaysia, Denmark, Pakistan and Korea. Sander is a member of the research group on Internationalisation of the Curriculum under Prof. Hans de Wit, involved in research on Intercultural Competence and Virtual Mobility. He presently serves as President of the Board of IECIE: l’institut européen de communication internationale d’entreprise (the European Institute for International Business Communication), an institute based in Issy-les-Moulineaux (Paris), France. Sander speaks around ten languages, although you mainly will be hearing English.


Kozminski UniversityKozminski University, founded in 1993, is a private institution of higher education with full academic rights. KU has obtained Polish and international accreditations, as well as excellent results in global and national educational rankings which shows the high quality of its programs and services. Due to these qualities, KU diplomas have become coveted. KU offers various bachelor, masters, MBA, as well as Ph.D. programs, also in English. The educational offer includes: management (in Polish and in English), finance and accounting (in Polish and in English), economics – international markets, law, administration, as well as social sciences in management: management in virtual environment, business and media sociology and psychology in management. Since 2009 KU has been highly ranked in the prestigious educational rankings provided by the ‘Financial Times’ – Business School rankings, which include the best universities from around the world. Moreover, for the past 14 consecutive years it has held first place among private universities in educational rankings published by ‘Perspektywy’, ‘Rzeczpospolita’ and ‘WPROST’. KU also received a special distinction from the National Accreditation Committee in regards to its management program. KU holds three international accreditations: EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB. Only 5% of business schools from around the world hold all three, including Yale and Harvard University. KU holds the right to award doctoral degrees in three disciplines: management, economics and law. As the only private higher education institution in Poland, it has the power to authorize a higher Ph.D. degree (habilitation degree) in the discipline of management and economics. Also under the so-called parametric evaluation of research units within the field of economics Kozminski University boasts the “A” category ranking.


BigChoice GroupBigChoice Group is the exclusive sponsor of this event. BigChoice Group are experts in attracting the highest quality enquiries for undergraduate and postgraduate courses across the globe. Our range of products and services uniquely target international candidates in the right place at the right time. BigChoice Group’s approach is not about numbers but about quality, offering a range of tailored recruitment solutions to guarantee attracting the right applicants. We specialize in education social media, direct qualified student enquiries, and assisting agents with in–country online marketing.