Why CBU-Interview with Victor Tomiczek, Director of International Recruitment and Global Partnership
Every CBU student has a unique story about how they ended up in North America's most beautiful island. I came from Ukraine, a lot of my friends came from India, China, the UK, Germany, Turkey, and other Canadian provinces. However, Cape Breton and CBU are still not fully explored and a lot of people do not even know that this place exists.
Caper Times interviewed Director of International Recruitment and Global Partnerships, Victor Tomiczek, and asked – how do you spread the word about CBU? How do you attract more and more students to come to Nova Scotia?
“Canada is a very popular destination, because of the demand and benefits international student graduates receive. Like a 3-year post-graduate work permit. What we have to overcome, as a university in Nova Scotia with a small population, is first to let people know that we exist. And then overcome MTV or Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, which most people know”.
Recruiters travel around the world to participate in education fairs and interact with future students. Canada, Ecuador, Philippines, Qatar, Jordan, UAE, Columbia, Mexico, East Africa, Taiwan, Korea, and even Ukraine. The recruitment team was not able to travel for the last two years. With restrictions being lifted it has now become possible and they are back on track. What they do is not only tell people about CBU but also ask what they are interested in studying. “If you want to study veterinary science, then from there I would say: “I am sorry, but we do not offer that”. Just speak to my colleague from UPEI. We would not guide somebody to our university if it is not going to benefit their education and overall appliance. We need to be honest about what CBU and Cape Breton offer, right? So, honesty is number one”.
From the recruitment perspective, what students are looking for are 4Ps: price, place, program, and professional outcome. Education is a highly competitive industry and operational funding for public institutions mostly comes from tuition, not the government. “We do try to remain a relatively affordable destination for students so we can be accessible because education should be accessible for everybody”.
Besides that, the recruiter’s duty is also to tell people about the place, about geography. “A lot of benefits of Cape Breton are things that we earned. We have clean air and an incredibly safe place. That is very important for parents that are willing to send their child out to the world, the place where they know children are going to be okay and safe. Cape Breton has natural international tourist destinations for our beauty, culture, and music. And as the person who grew up here, I took it so much for granted. Because I grew up across the street from the ocean and I would rather go to Halifax than to Cabot Trail, but later I realized that this place is awesome. So, when I sell it, it is honest”.
CBU experience is also different from the universities in bigger cities. Relatively small, about 5000 students, high investment into students’ services, class sizes, faculty interaction, and accessibility. “This is your first professional networking opportunity. You get to know some faculty, who mostly came from the industry that you want to pursue. They will know people who you can talk to, have opportunities or share their experiences that you might want to follow. It is just taking advantage of things that are here. There are undergraduate research opportunities that a lot of universities cannot offer. They reserve them for graduate studies, especially in the sciences. We just need to be able to get a handle of it, tell the prospects”.
Even after you visited the university or educational fair, recruiters keep in touch with prospective students. “We have to ensure that the recruiter is there for you. So, when you leave and think that you forgot to ask something – you can always shoot an email or text on WhatsApp. We are always on the clock when it comes to visiting or talking to students”.
CBU recruiter team has a bigger aim and value than simply attracting more people to the university. “We are all graduates from CBU and we genuinely want to improve the island. International student graduate is such a high value for our region and I think that it is an opportunity for the island itself to grow in the best way possible. I really believe in our work and I want to continue to improve our university and island to have the best student experience that we can honestly offer”.