We talked to Emre Birol of Onedu Study Abroad Services about finding the best schools abroad, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Emre Birol: Good. We are being very careful since the beginning of this. My parents retired and started to live in our summer house. So lots of things changed in a year.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Onedu Study Abroad.
Emre Birol: I spent 8 years in the U.S for a bachelor’s degree. I studied business administration at the National University and attended few colleges before that. I have worked with international students and schools for a long time. Then I decided to be in the education part of it. I came to Turkey and started my own company.
How does Onedu Study Abroad innovate?
Emre Birol: Actually, we were doing most of our business online. Turkey is a huge country where you might have some students really far away from you. So we just upgraded our online tools and started to represent less schools. During covid-19, many schools were closed, and we were not able to recruit students for them. So we lowered the number of schools we represent and make sure we have great tools to help students to reach out to us and apply online.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Emre Birol: To be honest, it helped us to understand that we are changing our student’s life. Most of our students are overseas and away from home. During Covid 19, families and students were panicked, and it was hard to calm everyone at the beginning. Now we are more focused on student’s wellbeing and trying to understand if a student should really go overseas at this time or should start their education online. Online lessons help students to stay home and feel safe with their relatives. They can join the campus when the pandemic hopefully ends.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Emre Birol: Yes, at the beginning we had to cancel or postpone most of our new student’s bookings because there was uncertainty about when students could travel again. That was the smartest choice because we could not handle over 100 students waiting for a year to study abroad. I have learned that sometimes you should make hard choices even lose clients, but long term, it could help your business to grow even faster.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Emre Birol: We use so many apps. Calendar, CRM, Social Media, Zoom. Anything we see helpful for our students and also our staff we are open to establish right away.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Emre Birol: Many. Just be honest with students. They will help us to stay in the game for a long time 🙂
Your final thoughts?
Emre Birol: Thank you for asking those questions. We as representatives always try to help students to find a better career and happy to talk about those details with you.
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