EduCo in Australia, Southern Cross University

Meet our new National Recruitment Director for the SCU Partnership — Kimberly Burdett

Kim has been in the higher education industry for over a decade – working across both public and private education institutions. With a well-honed passion for the student experience and education across borders, Kim’s wealth of experience spans three Go8 Universities, Navitas, and the VET sector.

Kim is a traveller at heart and believes that the best lessons in life are learned by jumping on a plane and leaving footprints in new lands.

“I don’t draw a line between work and play and have always been taught that if you choose a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” Kim says.

Kim started her international education career in international marketing and recruitment at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, which then expanded into encompassing domestic recruitment as well.

“I loved my job but I felt that there was more to student recruitment, there was something missing. And that something was incorporating the student experience into marketing.”

At the time, this thinking around the potential synergy between the student experience and marketing was a relatively new concept, but the USA was doing this really well, so Kim headed over to the United States to take up a role at the University of Washington in their Student Life and Marketing divisions.

“I explored ways to incorporate the student experience and peer-to-peer marketing into outreach and recruitment activities, and I witnessed firsthand how this simultaneously aided their international marketing strategy.”

As fate would have it, during this experience Kim was lucky enough to meet Bill Gates, who is an alumnus of the University of Washington!

“I asked Mr Gates what I should do with the rest of my life and he laughed and said that, ‘the best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.’ With this idea implanted in the back of my mind, I went on to develop my new role back at the University of Adelaide, and I have personalised my positions ever since. I don’t believe any job is ever written ‘perfectly’ for one candidate.”

It was with this experience that Kim returned to Australia to set up the Student Experience Strategy and Ambassador Program at the University of Adelaide.

“We integrated real-world industry experiences into the student journey and recognised learning outside of the classroom in the curriculum structure.”

Through the Student Experience Strategy and Ambassador Program, Kim was fortunate enough to take groups of students to Silicon Valley, the White House, and many places in-between. She secured a partnership with the United Nations University Scholars Leadership Symposium, and led several groups abroad with the UN, taking them to the Philippines and Cambodia to reach out to disadvantaged communities and learn about true leadership in an evolving and globalised world.

“Watching the students go in as individuals and come out as a strong leadership team was always heart-warming.”

Kim’s sense of adventure has led to many stories about the highs and lows of travel, but perhaps one of her most unique and surprising encounters, was one she had right here at home, in Australia!

I was robbed in Barcelona on a work trip and I lost everything, my passport, and my phone … the lot! So I Facebook messaged Virgin Mobile who set me up with a free phone and were so caring and helpful. They checked on me when I got back to Australia, and sent flowers to my home. So I wrote them a thank you card, baked them some cupcakes and took them into a Virgin store. I wrote in the card that they had emulated true leadership in line with their fearless leader, Richard Branson. Months later I received a call from Virgin, asking me to go into the Sydney CBD store, where I was surprised with a visit from Richard Branson himself! He thanked me for making the time to write a thank you card to his team, and repaid the favour by taking time from his busy schedule to fly in and meet me.”

This incredible meeting with Richard Branson reminded Kim of something one of her favourite academics, Ang Li, once taught her, ‘that there is one thing in life that we are all born equal with, and that’s time’.

We all have 24 hours in every day and it’s up to us what we do with it. The greatest lesson I have learnt in my career is the value in giving someone your time, and my story with Richard Branson just proves that true leaders value time!”

After developing the Student Experience Strategy and Ambassador Program at the University of Adelaide and watching it grow, it was time for Kim to take her career to the next step – so she undertook a position with Navitas in Sydney, as their National Business Development and Industry Engagement Manager. Kim led their Careers and Internships Business Development Division and set up B2B and B2C partnerships across the country and abroad.

Following this experience, Kim returned to the Go8 space, undertaking a position with the University of NSW, as their Faculty Education Manager. She led a team of specialists to transform the student experience and associated activities within the Faculty of Engineering.

“I watched the team grow from seven to forty-seven, and I am proud of all they achieved. The team incorporated marketing and outreach, industry relations, new pedagogy adoption, technological advances, and undertook significant workplace change throughout a growth phase.”

With impressive team growth and a strong structure, it was time for Kim’s next challenge, and that is where EduCo’s Southern Cross University Partnership comes in to play.

“I met with our Senior Vice President, Ben McCully, who described a new direction for the SCU Partnership and it sounded like a great opportunity, and following that discussion, I accepted the position of National Recruitment Director.”

Kim’s role as National Recruitment Director will focus on leading recruitment efforts both onshore and offshore.

“We are fortunate to be supported by a wonderful team nationally and abroad, and SCU is in a strong position for growth. Our Senior Leadership Team has grown significantly over recent months, and are working collaboratively to develop a growth strategy focussed on efficiency, quality and scalability. To date, the SCU partnership with EduCo has seen incredible growth over the years, and now is the time to consolidate efforts and ensure appropriate foundations are in place to sustain our strong position in the market. This means an enhanced Admissions process and criteria for both onshore and offshore applications, revised marketing assets and materials, a review of scholarships and product offerings, and an increased focus on relationship management with our agent partners.”

“With changes across the education sector, the SCU partnership is focussed on being in a solid position to ensure enhanced student experiences and graduate outcomes; this will be achieved by ensuring genuine students are recruited and accepted into our competitive programs.”

“We look forward to working with our agent partners to achieve our goals, and I remain confident that this new direction forward will ensure robust and sustained relationships for all stakeholders. We are all conscious of the changes in Government policies across the globe that are heavily impacting the international education market. However, as Australia’s third largest export, international education is a core component of our country’s economy. We are not simply selling a tangible item or asset, we are leading someone towards their future and helping them achieve their personal and professional goals.

As Nelson Mandela once said, ‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’