Thorough screening of foreign applicants is worth the effort

When Business Academy Aarhus welcomes 350 new international students this summer, many of them have already met a representative from the Academy. This is because Business Academy Aarhus travels to Europe each year to collect the right students.

‘Welcome. Don’t be nervous. Just be yourself.’

Head of International Relations, Mads Hedelund calms the group of Czech applicants, who have shown up at Hotel Ibis in Prague on a spring day in June.

19-year-old Juliana Ouktiakova leans across the table, squeezing a pen and observes the two Danish representatives from Business Academy Aarhus.

‘It is important, that we find a good match from the beginning, and fill the programmes with the right students. Each year we turn down both Danish and international students, so if we don’t find the right applicants, it is a waste of both our time and their time.’ Mads Hedelund explains.

Nine countries in one week

At Business Academy Aarhus, one in five students are from a country other than Denmark. The many international students help to create an international study environment.

Business Academy Aarhus typically visits the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia to screen applicants. Applicants from Rumania and other countries are interviewed via Skype.

‘We evaluate them according to factors other than just their marks. For example we also look at their academic ability, maturity and language skills,’ Mads Hedelund explains. Together with Senior Lecturer Lars Wöldike, they need to screen 25 Czech applicants.

Well prepared 

Mads and Lars ask the applicants questions about their finances and their dreams for the future. ‘What do you know about Denmark?’ they ask the group, who take turns answering.

‘You have the royal family, who are very famous. You have H.C. Andersen and Niclas Bendtner,’ answers Denisa Taisova, who is doing a bachelor in Banking Management at the university in Prague, and working full time at a publishing house at the same time.

A young man in a dark blazer and freshly shined shoes, who dreams of starting his own business or managing a large company, adds: ‘Lego was invented in Denmark and you are the happiest people in the world’.

Really want this

22-year-old Vladimir Malik (to the far right in the photo) is finishing his bachelor at the University of Law in Prague. Like the other applicants, he too dreams of a Danish higher education and mentions the high level of education as one of the reasons.

‘I can identify with your culture. You are good at speaking English and you are a sympathetic and a green country. Other than that I love biking and know that you do this a lot’, he says and mentions group work, internships and a friendly study environment as the reasons for choosing Business Academy Aarhus as his first priority.

‘I heard about your educational system from a friend. My parents would like me to get a good education and this is possible in Denmark. If I find a job afterwards, I would like to stay. My dream is to work for Lego in Denmark.’

Rainy weather and high living costs

Lars and Mads tell the applicants about the typical rainy and windy weather, the housing market and the high living costs in Denmark.

They are not trying to paint a pretty picture. The applicants nod knowingly and answer the many questions well. They know a lot of the information already.

‘How many hours do you expect to spend on your studies?’ asks Lars.

‘You won’t manage if you don’t show up, are late or leave class early because of a job. Your primary focus has to be your studies. This means that you need to have savings and a financial plan for your years in Denmark.’

Agent bureaus find and help applicants

The agent bureau Scandinavian Study has gathered the 25 applicants for the admission interview in Prague.

‘Denmark has a good brand and is among the most popular locations for studying alongside USA, France and Germany. The practical approach and the high educational level especially appeals to the Czechs,’ says bureau owner Jakub Ružička, who has helped 300 Czech students come to Denmark, within the last five years.

Great candidate group

After yet another group leaves the room, Mads and Lars give each applicant a mark on a scale from one to five.

‘This year, the applicants are exceptionally good and well qualified’ Mads concludes, before he packs his suitcase and takes a train to Bratislava to meet 61 Slovak applicants.