There’s no question that communities play a massive role in education. They play an even bigger role in the case of professional networking.

We are all aware that “It’s not just about what you know. It’s also about who you know.”

Being a part of a great network brings immense value to one’s professional development.

That’s what inspired Yasir Ansari to found Edconnected.

About Edconnected

Edconnected is an online Professional Networking Community for International Academic Partnerships. Its vision is to provide access to international education professionals who are looking to form academic collaborations in higher education from all across the world.

About Yasir Ansari

Yasir is the Director/Founder of SimplED International Education Pvt. Ltd.

He is also an award-winning international educator, who worked for several years at different state universities in the U.S. including time as an international student support coordinator at a land-grant university. 

His commitment to diversity & inclusion makes him an outstanding advocate for international students. His passion & drive to empower students led to the formation of SimplED.

A few of Yasir’s achievements include:

  • Outstanding Young Alumni- SUNY Oneonta Alumni Association ’08
  • Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion- SUNY Oneonta Alumni Association ’08
  • Selected For Young Alumni Merit- Harisson College of Business, SEMO ’12

Interview with Yasir Ansari

Can you tell us about the Edconnected community?

Excerpts:

Edconnected is a platform for stakeholders in the international education community to come together, collaborate, and network with each other.

What’s the vision and motivation behind starting Edconnected?

Excerpts:

Our vision is to encourage the relevant stakeholders in the international education industry to network with each other. Because, in our industry, networking is not something that is good to have. It is a must-have. 

And the motivation came when we realized that there is a disconnect between international universities and Indian universities.

Who do you think will get the most value from joining Edconnected?

Excerpts:

Our target audience is Senior International Officers, Academic Heads, Vice-Chancellors, Director of International Education Programmes, and anybody who is responsible for facilitating international partnerships in their university.

What kind of partnerships do these institutions favor?

Excerpts:

It can vary from something as simple as a one-week exchange program to something bigger such as a joint degree program. It really depends on what the institutions are looking for in a partnership.

Does SimplED manage the Edconnected community?

Excerpts:

We have registered a non-profit organization called the Global Association of International Education Professionals or GAIEP. It will be leading all of these community efforts. SimplED won’t be managing it, but it will be a partner.

How do you align Edconnected community’s goals with your business goals?

Excerpts:

At the moment, our goal is to grow the community by building relationships with people in the international education space and inviting them to Edconnected. But, in the future, we do have plans to monetize the community.

What features were you looking for during your search for a community platform?

Excerpts:

One of the things we were looking for was customization. That’s really important to us. We also needed member profiles and a way to filter them. Our members will find that very useful. And of course, we also needed all those other common features that most community platforms offer.

How are you promoting Edconnected?

Excerpts:

Our first goal is to onboard all those people who have already experienced our online community. We also have three committees that will directly help us promote Edconnected. They will take various responsibilities of promoting the community in relevant areas.

But after some time, we want to get to a point where most of our promotion happens via word-of-mouth.

Give an example of how word-of-mouth marketing worked for you before.

Excerpts:

So, we had a university that attended one of our past conferences from this tiny European country called Lithuania. In our next conference, there were three universities from Lithuania and one other from Estonia, a neighboring country all because that one university had a great experience in our previous conference.

We’re hoping to see more of this for our community too. It should be easier as it’s an online community. The barrier of entry will be minimal.

How did you discover SocioHub?

Excerpts:

I did a lot of research. I’ve spoken to various other community platforms. I’ve taken demos of their products. At the end, I decided to go with SocioHub because of these reasons: 

  • I get direct access to working with the founder and giving him feedback
  • Praveen (the founder of SocioHub) came across as somebody who understands how communities function and seemed determined to build a great community platform
  • SocioHub is much more affordable than the other platforms I looked for

What do you like the most about SocioHub?

Excerpts:

One of the things I like about SocioHub is how smooth things run. The experience was smooth. The learning curve was much lower. It seemed very easy to understand each feature and use them. That is really important as our target audience may not be technologically savvy. From that perspective, SocioHub was really our top choice.

How do you think communities will impact the education industry?

Excerpts:

While studying in the U.S. I observed that universities here are always in favor of building communities. And when Facebook came out with groups, a lot of international students were creating groups there and connecting with one another. But later with user data and privacy concerns, people have slowly moved away from Facebook.

I think communities, not just in education, but rather in so many industries are moving towards building private communities where they have complete control over data and how things run in general.

Do you look up to any community builders or any communities in education?

Excerpts:

Yes. So when I came to the U.S. I became part of some communities here. I saw that there was so much value derived from these communities to all their members. That experience inspired me to start something for Indian universities.

I want to give the same access to Indian universities the resources that universities in the West possess.

Ready to build your own community?

Author

I head marketing at Sociohub. I'm passionate about the SaaS space, startups, and basketball. My goal in life is to prepare myself to survive the inevitable AI apocalypse in the year 2050.

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