GoAbroad Interview

Alex Paisner - Enrollment & Marketing Director

Alex Paisner - Enrollment & Marketing Director

Alex Paisner is the Enrollment and Marketing Director at Global Experiences, where he leads the admissions team in accepting students for international internship programs. A graduate of the George Washington University in Washington DC, Alex is also the point of contact for GE’s marketing efforts and social media. Away from the office Alex can be found on the water, where his passion is sailing. He has worked at Global Experiences since 2009.

You are an alumnus of Global Experiences’ Dublin Program. How did you make the transition from participant/intern to staff?

Yes! I interned in Dublin through Global Experiences as an undergrad back in 2008 and had a transformative experience. It was the reason I was getting job offers after college, but I felt the obligation to pay it forward and help more students participate in international internship programs. I was raving about it anyways, so it was an easy transition.

Tourist Traveling in Portugal

Alex while traveling in Portugal.

What does an average day look like in as the Enrollment and Marketing Director? 

As with any role, I wear a number of different hats. My role is a combination of inbound marketing, projecting enrollment numbers, ensuring we have enough placements for high-demand industries, and making sure our enrollment team has the information they need to accept students into our programs. I also work with some of our university partners. 

Your role goes beyond basic enrollment related tasks, to marketing programs and managing social media. What makes Global Experiences’ international internships so unique?

We’ve spent quite a bit of time talking internally about what makes us unique. At the end of the day, it comes back to how personal our programs are. We spend an average of 15 hours of one-on-one time with each student coaching, prepping, ensuring they’re ready for their internship program, and the ‘real world’ after their programs. The time, coupled with the award winning Gallup Strengths framework that we employ throughout the program, ensure an internship match and professional development structure that goes beyond anything else in our industry.

You’ve had a variety of travel experiences around the world, what would you advise students makes an international internship so much more valuable than just a trip abroad?

From an employability standpoint, not much is better than the personal and professional growth that comes with interning abroad. It has all the cultural components and fun of study abroad, but allows you to obtain the perspective, KSA’s (knowledge, skills, and abilities), and confidence that employers are looking for. Employers are looking for graduates who have a global perspective, and have proven themselves in a challenging environment. Interning abroad is not for the faint of heart, but it is the best way to show a future employer that you can handle yourself in the real world.

Your academic background is in Business Administration, how do you utilize your business skills in your current role as Enrollment and Marketing Director?

While we are in the field of international education, the challenges of any organization remain the same. At the end of the day you need a good product or service to be successful, especially in today’s world where consumers can voice their displeasure online quite easily. I spend much of my time engaging our alumni and collecting their stories; the best marketing in the world is word of mouth, so the better our programs and the more students we help, the less marketing we need to do.

Global Experiences Team after winning the GoAbroad 2014 Innovation Award for Internship Programs

The Global Experiences team won the 2014 innovation award for internship programming!

You’re an avid sailor, what advice would you give a prospective intern navigating the waters of selecting the right internship location and sector for them?

Haha yes! I like to get out on the water any way I can. One of our standard questions to students is, “What are you passionate about? Why?” Interning abroad is an amazing opportunity to test the waters in a career field and new city, so we encourage students to follow their passions. Part of our extensive one-on-one counseling with each student is guiding them to the best location, given their career field. Most students don’t know where the best opportunities lie for their industry, so we’re here to guide them. 

You’ve worked at Global Experiences since 2009, what has been your biggest accomplishment over the last six years?

Wow, it’s really flown by! There have been many great moments over the years, but winning the 2014 GoAbroad Innovation Award for our partnership with Gallup and our Strengths based career development, might be tops. It was great to get acknowledged by our peers in the community for something that has become a real game-changer!

Global Experiences Staff conducting a site visit

Alex on a site visit with London intern Sydney.

Intern abroad experiences often change a participant’s view of the world. How do you make sure students who apply are ready for these life-changing experiences?

We’re quite stringent on who we accept into our programs. Our application expressly has a question that asks how applicants have had to overcome adversity, and emotional intelligence and maturity are just as important as GPA for our programs. Global Experiences’ internship programs are a bit more mature and independent than the typical study abroad, and we want to make sure that our participants are up for the challenge. We also do extensive coaching, and a full webinar series on a variety of topics to make sure students hit the ground running.

What’s the best advice you can give someone interested in applying to an Global Experiences program?

Of course, number one would be do it! Over the years, the only regrets I have heard are from students who didn’t go and wish they had. Number two would be to do your research. International internship programs have lots of details and moving parts, and when we speak with students we prefer to spend our time talking about the Why, and not the What and How. Inclusions, exclusions, dates, pricing, and how it works are all on the website. We want to hear about why students want to go abroad, why they want to explore a particular industry, why this would be important for them, why they think they’re ready for the adventure. If we can focus on the Why, we’re able to help students get clarity on where they are headed in the future.

Global Experiences participants in London, England

A few of the Global Experiences team members on location in London!

What is your favorite part about working for Global Experiences?

The student stories! We spend so much time working behind the scenes and we get to know our students so well, hearing the stories that come back from each location is fantastic. There is a ton of affirmation when we hear about students getting offered jobs, or when they email us unprompted to thank us for the life changing experience that they have had. We do it all for the students, so watching their transformation is immensely rewarding.