By Nicola Hancox, Editor of Study Travel Magazine

"I've been working on Study Travel Magazine for over six years now and when trying to explain the industry that I work in to someone I've just met, I'm greeted with some pretty confused expressions. "I work in international education," I often end up saying.

For anyone not directly involved in our industry, the agent/educator dynamic might be a difficult concept to grasp. But this week's View from the Desk of contributor, an industry outsider, clearly does, and identifying with it she applies the concepts she has picked up in her respective field of expertise — economics — to ours.

I heard Susan Hayes deliver a great closing speech at the Eaquals event in Dublin earlier this year. Having published several books on matters relating to economics, she focussed on what language schools could do to boost their commercial success. Today she touches on the importance of good branding and how it can help define and shape your business, be it a school, agency, restaurant, airline or retailer. I hope when you read her article you'll give some thought as to how your brand sets you apart from your competitors. If unsure, chances are so are the clients (school, agent, student) you're trying to reach. Sometimes it takes someone from the outside, looking at a business model with fresh eyes, to provide a little insight and there will be more from Susan over the coming months as she lends her business know–how to our multifaceted industry.

Interestingly, Susan also gives some sound advice to those thinking of selling their business, noting that the amount you sell your business for is directly proportional to brand strength. This ties in quite nicely with the Special Report feature we have lined up for our bumper September issue which will look at the evolution of the study travel industry and the growing interest among outside investors (particularly private equity firms) who are keen to take a bite out of the study travel market. "

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