“Ring ring riiiiing!” Off goes the alarm clock in the morning, at 8.00 sharp. Andrés quickly jumps out of bed and starts getting ready for the day. While biking to work, he goes over all the most important meetings that he has planned for the day. “Talking to theSenior Product Owner to make sure that I pass on those ideas about fostering more user-generated content for students” or “Have that Skype call with the boy from Pakistan who is studying Chemistry in Tallinn, Estonia, to establish a local partnership”. In no time, he gets to the Studyportals office. Indeed, time flies when you are thinking of how to make higher education more accessible on a global scale. At the office, he fuels up with a creamy double cappuccino and starts making things happen.
Andrés is the Digital Engagement Manager at Studyportals, designing and deploying omnichannel campaigns that activate students into leaving reviews about their university experience and taking care of a community of education-enthusiastic student ambassadors. But more importantly, he has joined Studyportals because of the opportunity to change people’s lives through access to education.
Studyportals is a company that, like many others, started out as a pain-relieving idea. In this case, among those who were feeling pain were three students from the Netherlands and Sweden. The pain was not having enough access to information about what study opportunities were out there. “I can’t believe I didn’t know that I could follow this programme” or “I could have studied at this institution, if only I would have known about it” were opinions that seemed to repeat themselves among students in their circles. Thijs Putman, Edwin van Rest and Magnus Olsson set out to change how students, from all over the world, would find out about their next life-changing education opportunity. They designed a platform, where they would gather all the most important study-related information that future students need when making a choice about what they will follow. At the time, Thijs, Magnus and Edwin thought that if they could have an impact on even just one student, then they would be on the right path.
Since then, the platform became six highly-detailed and student-centred marketplaces, aimed at different interest-based study options. They are open to the public and easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection. That potential one student became 30,5 million people looking for their perfect study opportunities via the marketplaces up until this point in 2018. And Andrés, a former international student himself from Ecuador, is now giving back to the community via his active role at Studyportals, along with his 190+ passionate colleagues from 35 different countries.
“I actively support what Studyportals stands for because their mission is deeply personal to me. See, I know how important accessibility to education is because, not long ago, I was a student who was looking for what I wanted to do with my life. Coming from Ecuador, I aspired to go for a university programme that would challenge me and prepare me thoroughly for my future. And I found exactly that on the other side of the globe, in the Netherlands, via my Master’s of Innovation Management from the Eindhoven University of Technology. Needless to say, that one small decision changed my life forever. Now, I have the opportunity to help students from all over the world find their dream study options that fit them best. This is what keeps me going, especially when challenges arise.”
Andrés and his colleagues know that the road towards accessibility in terms of higher education opportunities is not a lean one. Every day, they are pushing the boundaries of what is possible a little bit further. Sometimes, they face setbacks. But it’s the desire to help future students in making their most informed choice about their study programmes that fuels their passion to never give up and work towards making their dream a reality.