It was very clear from my attendance at the recent Investment Migration Forum in Geneva that few RCBI businesses had anything more than a superficial knowledge of the landscape of international education. There’s a paucity of understanding of the field, across the age spectrum, from kindergartens to universities.
The lack of familiarity with schooling options is all the more surprising when you consider that virtually every investment migration professional knows that one of the primary motivating factors for clients is to open educational opportunities for their dependents, particularly in prestigious markets and marquee destinations like the world-class UK Independent Schools market.
What can RCBI consultants and advisories do to capture a bigger part of the immigration value chain? As things stand, many of the businesses in the industry offer no educational advice, a few generate ideas and links from within their organization, and a handful of others refer clients to an educational agent or consultant for a small fee or retainer.
RCBI consultants should recognize the need for detailed knowledge of the educational possibilities their clients’ children have, not only within the jurisdiction of the new citizenship but also within the territory of the desired educational destination. This is crucial and requires in-depth sector knowledge. Local agents should be able to provide local knowledge and direct child-centered advice, but businesses should also seek recommendations, as the quality of educational agents varies greatly.
For jurisdictions beyond that which is immediately available to the new residents/citizens following their successful application, gaining specific advice from expert advisers, preferably resident in the country of educational choice, is necessary. They will be able to assist with appointments, travel arrangements, and visits to the appropriate institutions, based on the child’s current educational experiences, performance, interests, and potential. HNWIs require bespoke provision and service, tailored to their needs, expectations, and desires.
In either circumstance, RCBI advisories should look to create a network of strategic partnerships with quality providers, both locally and internationally. Is there a place for an expert specifically accredited by the IMC?
There is a myriad of educational agents/consultants within most countries. How do you select the right one? In my opinion, engaging with agents/consultancies that have a proven track record, have worked professionally as leaders or teachers within the required sector, or have been established for a considerable amount of time, is essential. Many agents appear and disappear very quickly. As with all consultancies, quality will out!
Others may decide they wish to bring this essential service in-house. Attracting the right individuals able to provide expert knowledge will require a quality package. Companies that can offer specific, dependable, focused, and detailed expertise – directly or indirectly – will elevate itself above the competition.
Clients, many of whom are entrepreneurs, know the educational world is changing dramatically with the advent of artificial intelligence and increased digitalization. Knowledge will no longer be power in the way it was, or at least it will be more equally distributed. Anything for which an algorithm can be written will result in an app or non-human resource. The human-condition and so-called ‘soft skills’ will be the defining criteria of the future. Informed internationalist parents seek these opportunities and possibilities for their children.
The best of modern education worldwide is evolving to meet the new opportunities and challenges our global society is experiencing. By evolving, they remain relevant; by pioneering, they succeed. The very best RCBI businesses are doing the same and, yes, your clients are actively seeking these new opportunities. An investment in knowledge, time, and resources is required.
My advice to you is easy to remember; the three Rs: recognize, reflect, and respond. Recognize and understand your market and clientele needs, reflect upon your current practice and your shortfalls, and respond by creating a quality, honed, and specific educational service. By doing so, you will reap the rewards of your investment of time and resources, by winning, keeping, and developing more clients, as well as boosting your reputation.
RCBI-advisories that establish a reputation as a top provider of auxiliary-service educational guidance will distinguish themselves from the pack.