Ethical Sales and Marketing in Study Abroad Mini-Series: Part I

I often hear international educators speak vaguely about “increased outreach” yet avoid the very thing to help achieve that goal: sales.

study abroad student at a conference

Selling like a champ, not a chump.

Sales is such a loaded word.

The term is associated with connotations such as “sleazy”, “pressure”, and “crooked.” The reality is, sales is an undeniable measure of success for nonprofits, multi-national companies, and study abroad offices and organizations.

SALES in international education doesn’t have to be sleazy, it can start with a commitment to incorporate sales strategies and practices ethically.

I know this from personal experience. After graduating from the University of Washington, I was a bit unsure of what to do next and found myself working in the sales department for a professional basketball team.

While this was not what I envisioned doing with my degree, the year I spent developing skills related to sales have continued to be invaluable in my positions within higher education. This is particularly true in my current role as Assistant Director for Education Abroad at Northern Arizona University.

Ready to get started? Take the “The Ethical Sales and Marketing Oath for International Education Professionals.”

In promoting and supporting education abroad, I will put a student’s personal, academic, and professional growth first.

This means I will:

Be as accurate and honest as possible in selling or marketing education abroad programs.

Encourage students to make their own choices with all of the information available to them.

Share my knowledge, insights, and recommendations alongside other trusted sources.

Put the best interests of the student above increasing enrollments.

Want to learn more about ethical sales and marketing practices for study abroad?

Stay tuned for Part II and learn 5 simple practices you can incorporate into your study abroad advising immediately.

About the Author

Zach Tobin is Assistant Director for Education Abroad at Northern Arizona University. Zach earned his MA in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University and his BA in International Studies at the University of Washington. Prior to his work in international education he held a sales position with a professional basketball team. This experience has allowed him to utilize formal sales and marketing practices in his current role overseeing faculty-led program management, advising for all education abroad programs in Northern Europe, and general office operations.

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