The importance of a Sub-agent in the International Education Industry

The importance of a Sub-agent in the International Education Industry

From the School perspective, in terms of achieving results with student recruitment agents, it all comes down to relationships. Naturally, this doesn’t happen overnight, it can take up to one year just to begin building a relationship with an agent.

Smaller schools in particular can face the challenges of smaller budgets and less brand recognition, so for them, personal connections are even more valuable. Another way smaller schools can stand out is by forming partnerships with larger agencies who can help them make a mark in a new region.

Due to the reach and influence larger agencies have, if they begin to market a school or a product in a particular region, chances are that many other agencies in the region will want to work with that school as well. In this way, larger agencies often drive market trends and demand.

Another benefit of working with leading agencies is their connections with smaller local agencies who work with them as sub-agents, giving schools access to a huge network of consultants without the burden of managing all of them directly. For schools, it can be very labour intensive to manage a high volume of smaller agencies who might only send a few students per year. Therefore, institutions may need to ask themselves if the benefits of having many smaller agencies outweigh the time and administration needed to keep those networks going.

Some of our clients have created more than 15 special offices inside Sellead. We call a special office when they create an office for a Sub-Agent with their own logo and contact details. There is an old saying that “only larger agencies have the resources to invest in admissions systems to manage student applications”. This is not true anymore. With Sellead, even small agencies can afford a complete agency management system to operate their business. They sign up, choose a leading agency to partner up with and start selling straightaway.


There are many kinds of Sub-agents:

·        sole trader sales reps;

·        small team of 2 or 3 staff;

·        local language schools;

·        travel agencies;

·        primary and middle local schools;

·        local universities and more.

This issue is particularly evident in Southeast Asia, where several large agencies dominate the landscape. Institutions can often find that “80/20 Rule” applies to key source markets, meaning that 80% of the student market comes from 20% of the agencies.

The main advantages of the sub-agent model for institutions include:

·        they act as a quality control filter, choosing to work with only the most reputable smaller agencies;

·        they provide marketing information to sub-agents so they can promote the schools effectively;

·        they provide training to the sub-agents, so school only need to train the main agency once, and they subsequently train the other partners;

·        large agencies drive markets and are at the forefront of industry trends;

·        the sub-agent model creates time, resource, and cost efficiencies in planning and execution.

According to Ricardo Lemos, CEO of the Sellead System: “The model offers strong benefits for institutions and agents alike”.