In the third instalment of our spotlight series, we turn our attention to our Customer Success Management (CSM) team.
Our CSMs are not only responsible for supporting our network of over 6,000 school counsellors and 10,000 students, but also facilitating events and connecting our global school network with BridgeU university partners.
Their role is integral to shaping and supporting the counsellor guidance curriculum, but also empowering and equipping students with the right tools to take ownership of their higher-ed journey.
We interviewed Umama Ahmed, a Senior CSM based in the UAE, to talk to us more about the role, how she works to support our global network, and why it’s so fruitful for universities to build relations with international schools.
In case you missed it, last week’s spotlight was focused on our latest software feature, which was designed to support counsellors around the world.
“I work mostly with our schools in the UAE region, as well as some of our schools across neighbouring regions in South Asia.
Essentially, it’s really down to making sure our customers succeed when they’re using BridgeU. That can mean different things for different schools, according to what sort of the goals or needs and challenges of each school are.
Each school is assigned a CSM when they are onboarded with BridgeU. And really, that is essentially what we do; help them succeed when using the platform.
We are there for questions about implementation or training, but also generally about the platform, what it offers, specific questions students have about BridgeU, and how the platform can help them throughout their journey.
When I’m doing a student training session, I always remind students that the more they use BridgeU and the more information that they put on there, the better their counsellor or advisor is able to counsel them on their study destinations.
Each CSM works in a specific region and works with schools in that region. So that does help give you context to local cultures, norms and the types of schools.
Essentially, we make sure that schools are equipped with all of the right resources and training needs for the stakeholders.
Stakeholders can include school counsellors who are using the BridgeU platform, school management teams, and, of course, the end users who are also students.
So really, it’s about making sure that all of these different stakeholders are able to be champions of the BridgeU product. And we help them successfully implement the BridgeU platform at their school.
It’s important that we tailor all of these resources and implement the platform according to the challenges or their specific needs, in certain schools.
That’s why, when we are in a specific region, the CSMs have come to own that region and become champions of fostering relationships there.
I think the great thing is that we are a very global team. Although BridgeU is headquartered in the UK, (I) work very closely with our UK team, our APAC team in Hong Kong, our satellite offices in Dubai, Shanghai, and Colombia.
We are able to have a very global presence, but also have a team of equally diverse backgrounds and experiences.
We all come from very diverse personal and professional backgrounds, whether that’s the education side of things, the tech side of things, some of us have been school counsellors or school teachers and transitioned onto the educational technology side of things.
Similarly, with my background, I transitioned from a more traditional role with Education USA, and now I am working with BridgeU, which takes a more global approach.
The fact that a lot of us are Third Culture kids, means we easily resonate with the student research journey when it comes to university.”
How fruitful is it when universities build networks with international school counsellors?
“When you connect universities with students, school counsellors, or just school teams, they are able to break down the barriers, and really humanise the college application process.
I think it’s been really great to be able to break down a lot of misconceptions and myths that not only students and parents have, but also college and career counsellors at schools.
Fostering those connections has been really beneficial to understand that higher ed requires a holistic approach, and it’s not just academics or extracurriculars and so on.
It also helps to be able to understand from a different viewpoint. I’ve had American curriculum schools in the UAE that I’ve connected to UK curriculum colleges, because that is a completely new application system that school management teams in the US might not be familiar with.
So again, just breaking down the application process, whether it’s technical or generally, has been one great outcome of fostering this relationship.
When we do make that connection between schools, we debrief the university reps so they have an all around understanding of the region and its needs.
It also comes down to what the local culture and customs are like, but also what the regional needs are, and making sure that you really go in and approach it with a local mindset. So it’s been great from the university side, but then also from the school side, as well.”
What are you looking forward to in 2024?
We have lots of new product updates that are in store for the new year, which we’re really excited about. So are a lot of our schools and our counsellors.
Aside from that, I would say we are looking to make more school connections, and will continue to help schools succeed with the implementation of BridgeU at their school with their students.
*Interview has been edited for clarity.
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