“We genuinely feel supported by Via,” says Murray State’s Rebecca Wylie
When Rebecca Wylie talks about switching to Via in Summer 2021, the Murray State University Education Abroad Coordinator doesn’t talk about purchasing software. She talks about joining the Via team.
“I have been so amazed by Via,” Rebecca says. “With our previous software provider, we could never get any support. We’d be lucky to even get an email back if we asked a question or submitted a ticket. We know we can depend on Via to care of us and, if we have an issue, to say, ‘Let us help you figure that out.’”
Meeting Via CEO Ann Oleson and other Via team members at Forum in March 2022 simply reinforced the EA office had made the right decision to switch, Rebecca says.
“She was so welcoming. She knew who I was and called me by name. It felt like I was talking with a friend.”
Rebecca was also blown away at Forum when Via’s Chief Client Officer Lisa Stern sat down at Rebecca’s computer to walk her through a process during a Via-sponsored networking event.
“I’ve never had a partner who would literally stop and answer my question one-on-one. That’s why I say we’re part of the Via team because we genuinely feel supported in the way a family or team member would offer support.”
Rebecca Lands “Dream Job” at Murray State
Rebecca joined the Murray State University Education Abroad Office in March 2019. A Murray State graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in nonprofit leadership studies, Rebecca says she had her sights set on working in the EA office for about six years. The reason? She knew how life-changing participating in Murray State study abroad programs had been when she was an undergraduate. Rebecca took two trips abroad, studying history and human rights in England, France, Italy and Greece.
“It completely shifted the way I view myself and the way I view others,” she says. “There’s been such a divide, especially in recent years, between Americans and those in other countries. I think if we can get more young people to experience different cultures and talk with people from different backgrounds, big things can happen.”
Rebecca recalls the exact moment she knew working in Education Abroad would be her “dream job.” She had just arrived in Italy and was eating gelato and people-watching next to a beautiful fountain in a piazza.
“I thought, ‘I want to do this forever.’ I wanted to help other people have those experiences.”
Her persistence paid off and she began working with the Murray State study abroad office in March 2019. She was on the job about a year when COVID-19 hit and shut down travel abroad. Though the pandemic brought a lot of challenges, it also taught Rebecca and the Murray State EA team how to get creative, she says.
Another bright spot: The EA office had more time to make exploring other software options a priority.
Single Sign-on Important to Murray State
Murray State wanted to make sure their next software system would easily integrate with their MyGate student/faculty/staff portal.
“For a long time, we had been wanting something where we could have a single sign-on and all of the students’ information could come over seamlessly,” Rebecca recalls. “Knowing that Via had that single sign-on aspect was huge.”
Murray State also liked that Via was “extremely mobile friendly.”
“Our previous provider was not easy to navigate on mobile devices let alone on the computer,” Rebecca says.
The ease of creating programs with Via was also appealing, she adds.
“We had so many programs we wanted to put up and have students apply to, but we could not create that many programs. With Via, being able to have our existing providers we partner with and their programs in the system is so nice. Now we can promote those programs, which is a really big incentive as well.”
Ease-of-use, for staff and students, was another benefit to Via.
“It’s so much nicer and easier for students, which is something that was really important to us, especially as we rebuild due to COVID,” Rebecca says. “And with our staff numbers dwindling a little bit, it’s nice that we don’t have to spend tons of times creating all these things.”
Even before COVID hit, the EA office had on its to-do list importing historical data from 1975 to present and putting it into a database—something Murray State couldn’t do with its previous system, Rebecca notes. Via solved that issue too.
Murray State considered another software provider but decided against it—first, because it appeared to be too much like Murray State’s old system and because it was “outrageously expensive for what they offer,” Rebecca says.
“Being able to get all the things that were on our wish list for Via’s price was huge. You definitely get more bang for the buck.
Murray State University Education Abroad now has more time to market study abroad to future student travelers, she adds.
“With Via, we’re able to breathe,” she adds. “We feel a lot more confident and we’re able to create a happier, more relaxed work environment. It’s given us more time to sit and chat with prospective students about study abroad.”
Like the team at Murray State University Education Abroad, Via TRM believes global experiences will change our world. That’s why we created traveler relationship management and travel risk management software, which helps universities and study abroad program providers to empower global experiences. If you’re looking for a true education abroad partner, turn to Via TRM.