Elements of Successful and Unsuccessful International Strategic Planning


Successful & Unsuccessful International Strategic Planning




Whether you are responsible for recruiting international students or you have the responsibility for managing your institution’s  entire enrollment process, the 14 characteristics of successful strategic plans and the seven characteristics of unsuccessful plans listed in this article will be useful. I realize there are numerous books and scholarly articles written on the subject, but this blog post may be a good place to start.

The questions are simple. But the answers are not.

Check off the following yes or no:

Is your international strategic plan?

Driven by a compelling vision

Has the support of the president and key stakeholders

Is synergistic with your school’s overall strategic plan and complements the enrollment management plan

Has clearly stated goals and priorities

Is coherent, unifying, and integrated

Has an inclusive planning process

Is data-driven and research-based

Makes extensive use of social media

Recognizes marketplace realities, opportunities, and possibilities

Has the staff and funding resources for both the creation and execution of the plan

Has measurable outcomes

Is regularly assessed and changed, if necessary

Can answer why students should enroll in your institution


Elements of Unsuccessful Strategic Plans

Lack of presidential and key stakeholders support

Poorly defined goals and objectives

Little or no research

Inadequate staff or funding

Lack of prioritization

Inadequate follow-up procedures

Lack of assessment procedures


No longer can or should international deans and recruiters implement international strategic plans that were once successful in the past but are no longer relevant for the future.

Political, economic, social and technological changes require a different way of thinking and planning. Prevailing perceptions should be challenged. Developing a fact-based worldview in order to better understand the world’s new globalized markets and demographic shifts is essential to future planning.

Curiosity, or being open to new information and actively seeking it out, is an international dean’s greatest asset.

Future international students have options. So should international deans and recruiters.

This entry was posted in Colleges, Foreign Students, International Education, International students, Universities by Marguerite Dennis. Bookmark the permalink.

About Marguerite Dennis

Marguerite Dennis has been recruiting internationally for over 25 years, first at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and then at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts. During that time she was responsible for establishing a branch campus for Suffolk University in Dakar, Senegal and Madrid, Spain. Marguerite increased the international student population at Suffolk University by 193% from 1993 to 2011 and increased the number of study abroad programs by 135%, from 20 to 47. She monitored the recruitment programs for Suffolk University in 20 countries and hired a network of 10 international educational consultants. She signed agreements in Viet Nam, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Germany, Mexico, France and Argentina.

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