Brent Schmoker’s first professional experience in the international field came when he worked for a sustainability NGO in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2011.
“I did a lot of work with program residents who had immigrated from Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa, and they inspired me to start following the world news in these regions more closely and to begin studying foreign languages.” Brent said.
After this experience in 2013, Brent moved to Brazil to learn Portuguese and teach English as a Second Language (ESL), and so began his first official foray into the international education industry.
Like many International Education professionals, Brent has spent the majority of his professional life living, working and traveling outside the United States.
“Whenever possible, I seek out opportunities to try foods from other cultures and I think I’ve only taken two vacations inside the U.S. in the last 5 years! All the travel that I have done has completely changed the way I see the world and live my life. I feel that learning to speak a second language and interacting with people from different cultures has given me a much less U.S.-centric view of global politics and has utterly transformed the way I think about work, friendship and family.”
In 2014, Brent returned to Lincoln to work at the Office of Admissions at the University of Nebraska (UNL), in a role focused on domestic recruitment, but his passion always remained in the international space. After UNL established its partnership with EduCo in 2015, he was offered an opportunity to coordinate the partnership, overseeing international marketing, recruitment, admissions, operations and student services.
“I jumped at this incredible job opportunity. The past four and a half years leading the UNL and EduCo partnership have been amazing and the opportunity to continue my involvement with UNL as the Director of Recruitment, USA, while also guiding recruitment efforts for the four other USA partners, is very exciting.”
Brent acknowledges that the international student recruitment landscape for the U.S. is constantly changing and competition within the agent/consultant channel is higher than ever.
“As a result, it’s extremely important that EduCo USA focus on the strengths that differentiate us from our competition — our exceptional customer service and in-depth product knowledge — while optimizing our travel and event strategy, operations and brand differentiation for our five university partners.”
In his first 12 months as Director of Recruitment, USA, Brent hopes to make significant improvements to enrollment numbers and nationality diversification for each campus in 2020.
“My primary focus is to implement strategies and policies that empower our US representatives (both offshore and campus-based) to achieve their best enrollment results ever, while continuing to grow into leaders and experts in their field. Having spent years working on the institutional side of things, as well as hundreds of hours directly interacting with agents, students and sales staff throughout Asia and Latin America, my goal is to help bridge any remaining gaps between our onshore and offshore teams, ensuring that both sides are in a position to have a very successful 2020.”