Last Christmas I visited ASEAN. We had not enough time to do everything, but we managed to take a very interesting tour in Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, and Malaysia. And it made me think about the Spanish training market.
The Problem With The Spanish Training Market
Strolling through the business area of Kuala Lumpur, we found a training fair on our way: The Star Education Fair. The format was virtually identical to our fairs at theJuan Carlos I installations in Madrid (Spain), with each university or business school occupying a stand decorated with more or less imagination (depending on the available budget), and those responsible for student recruitment and marketing were wearing corporate shirts (they were not wearing suits, as it was terribly hot). There were Americans, Canadians, Londonians, Dubliners, Czechs, New Zealanders, Australians, Malaysians, and Singaporeans presenting their programs all over the place, with over 100 local and international higher education institutions, but there was not a single Spanish firm. Nor a business school, nor a university, nor a training consultant. No one from the Spanish training market. And the question is: What do the Czechs have that we don’t to be there?
The ASEAN Training Market
The training offered at the fair was provided in person, at the places of origin of each university, and in the English language. Which means: There were students of Kuala Lumpur who were happy to pay for a trip (that lasts from one to four years) to the city where the chosen University has its headquarters, to be trained in perfect English. And they were fully organized: An association was in charge of representing the foreign universities and managing the student recruitment from a single centralized stand, especially for students who didn’t have the time to see the whole fair and/or universities or business schools that didn’t have the budget to send their representatives abroad to set up their own stand.
But what happens with Spain? Is it really so expensive to translate content to English and deliver it to the Asian market without leaving the country? And yes, oddly enough, coming to Spain is attractive to them; even if it is just because they think it will be very likely to meet Lionel Messi in person.
There’s a whole Indian market with producers of multimedia content and content for classroom training in English, willing to create the English training content that we request from them, at prices three to four times lower, and fully accessible through LinkedIn. There are six hundred million people in ASEAN, of whom an exponential growth percentage is willing to study abroad in foreign colleges and graduate far away from home. So, what are we waiting for? Are we waiting for our business or program managers to learn English so they don’t feel overwhelmed and threatened by the international expansion of the small and comfortable Taifa kingdom?
Spanish Training Market Vs Latin America Market
OK; the Latin American market exists, but there are two things to consider: They also seek, as a mark of prestige, to be trained in English, and they do not accept the international Spanish language (misnamed “neutral Spanish”). They have their language peculiarities and demand personalized treatment in real time, i.e. with jetlag up to eight hours, forcing us to take the service from there and with local people. However, we are less afraid of having to assemble a complete infrastructure, with offices and staff across the ocean, than translating content to English and wait for students to move to us.
Have we not learnt that the Spanish market is exhausted? Have we not taken into account the crisis in Europe and the effect of globalization? Don’t we understand that if we don’t learn from our master, Amancio Ortega, we will die in the attempt? Not even in Asia they are requesting us to get adapted to the local languages of each country! They are happy to receive training in one single language: English.
Taking The Spanish Training Market Abroad
If Universities as the Czechs’, which their native language is so different from English as Spanish is, are going through the effort of translating all contents to English and finding local professors capable of teaching in the English language, why Spanish universities are not doing that too?
And I don’t even mention what we could do with online training, because I get nervous. Even if we already have a great offer of online learning in Spanish universities, it seems that we are not willing to sell it abroad. In short, if we drown in our own drool, it is because we deserve it. Hurray for the Czechs!