International House Aberdeen (IHA) is a language school teaching English as a foreign language to adults from all over the world. Students come to study for a variety of purposes; many live in Aberdeen, some come to work, some to prepare for university, some for a study holiday. Students can study from 2 weeks up to 1 year. The company also works with the local business community, offering English training to local companies who recruit staff from overseas.

Malcolm Davidson, Business Development Manager at International House Aberdeen, was interested in learning how he could work with RGU students. He contacted Talent Exchange to discuss the possibilities and following this conversation, IHA became involved in a digital marketing audit. Since then a class of MSc Digital Marketing students have audited IHA’s digital marketing efforts, with the highest performing audits being submitted to the organisation at the end of the review period. We caught up with Malcolm to ask how he found working with the students.

Can you describe the project that was undertaken?

IHA was used as a case study for RGU’s MSc Digital Marketing students as part of their coursework. The students had to assess our website, SEO, Google Analytics and social media channels and make recommendations in the form of a digital audit.

What was the outcome of the project?

RGU provided us with the two highest-scoring digital audits for us to use in our business. As a result, we came away from the project with a huge amount of really great recommendations which we could implement in our own digital strategy. And also it helped us define exactly what we need to know about digital as a business and become more informed and self-sufficient in this area.

How did you work with the students?

From our point of view, there was very little time commitment as the project was managed by an academic member of staff and was carried out as part of their coursework. Hence, the only time commitment was the wait for the finished audits.

How do you think the students benefited?

I think it highlights the strengths of RGU’s courses – that students get real world, practical experience as part of their degree, not just theory. So I’m sure that using a real business’s website for their coursework gave them an insight into the kind of challenges they might face in the working world. I’m really honoured that RGU chose to collaborate with IHA for this project.

How do you feel your business benefitted overall?

It’s been a massive benefit to us. Not only do we have lots of great recommendations to implement, it has also helped us become far more informed on digital and less dependent on expensive digital agencies. Many of the actions we’ve taken from the digital audits have already seen improved site performance and engagement on our social media. And it’s also nice to know that our business helped RGU’s students in their learning.

What would your advice be to others considering working on a project with RGU students?

I’d advise any business to keep an open mind and get in touch with Talent Exchange to find out more. There are so many projects which businesses can get involved in. When I first spoke to Talent Exchange a digital audit was not something I had in mind but I’m so grateful that we were offered the project – it’s made a massive difference to IHA.

What was your experience of working with RGU?

It’s been a fantastic experience and really I can’t thank the team at Talent Exchange, Simone Kurtzke and her students enough. The service and help we have had has been invaluable.