Studying abroad looms large in the Australian spirit.
Bizarre customs. New perspectives. Lifelong friendships. Fiery romances. A cache of fond memories. All of these await students on their carte blanche voyage overseas as student ex-pats.Facilitating these unforgettable experiences fuels Rob Malicki’s morning commute. Pedaling to his Sydney office, the CEO and co-founder of The Global Society cites travel as a transformational experience not to be missed: “Being away from my regular environment was something that completely changed my perspective on things, and I think that’s something that young people really need.
You grow up in a little bubble; you go to school, you go to university, and it's not until you break free of that regular environment that you get to discover what you're really passionate about.”
Australia is a big country — the sixth-largest in the world by area. Students from all over the island go to study abroad but, without a bit of luck, odds are few will actually bump into each other.
With 15 staff and growing — most on-site and two remotely from the Philippines — Rob’s team inspires a life-changing experience in what otherwise might be humdrum life, fusing individuals to a collective of like-minded students and professionals. The vibe at Global Society offices channels that of a close-knit group of friends, boasting both a bean bag room and, in contrast, a traditional meeting room.
The organization’s cultivated partnerships with well over 20 universities makes it all possible. As such, they’ve given license to a community of thousands of members embarking on overseas studies by providing engaging resources, benefits and connections.
Should a student from Sydney and a student from Perth both enter the exchange program, say to California, Global Society puts them in touch with each other before they go. “They help each other prepare, they share those experiences while they're away, and then when they get back they help the next lot of students prepare for their experience,” asserts Rob.
Outside of work, family takes precedence. Rob and his wife (and business partner) have two enchanting young daughters toward whom all energy and time not depleted at the office is directed. On weekends, the Malickis conquer the outdoors: mountain biking, road biking, hiking, and anything that gets them in fresh air.
No matter where his entrepreneurial freedom takes him — whether a retreat to his wife’s family home in France or a leisure holiday on the beaches of sunny Santa Barbara, California — Rob seldom pulls focus from his big-picture vision.
“We just want to help more Australians to study overseas. If we can provide support to the universities and students, and that means that more young Australians can have this experience, then we've achieved what we set out to achieve.”
For many, it’s only a matter of time before the travel bug has you in its crosshairs. For Rob it was on his first plane ride, watching the landing gear retract as his aircraft took flight en route to Tasmania — a harbinger of his student exchange tour in the U.K. many years later.
“There's a lot of pressure on young people these days to try and decide what they want to do with their lives,” says Rob. “They get pushed towards going to university and, for me, being outside of my comfort zone at a university overseas was really transformational. It really helped me decide what I wanted to do with my life. And I just made a decision that I wanted to help as many people as possible to have the same kind of experience.”
Dissatisfied with the traditional model of student mobility — in which students are bound to their respective university programs — Rob sought to disrupt the status quo. Thus was established his and his wife Marine’s first business venture and precursor to The Global Society, AIM Overseas. Their answer to Australian student travel broadened a world of choice, giving students the ability to travel untethered by their respective university program.
“Almost everywhere in the world, study abroad programs have external providers. That didn't exist in Australia yet, and so my wife and I saw that there was an opportunity to do that as an independent organization.”
In their humble beginnings, the pair identified three holes in student mobility in Australia: programs, scholarships and community/networking. Whereas AIM Overseas handled the programs, the couple’s second venture – instituted to raise money for scholarships – was the missing link.
With a goal in place to support as many young Australians with their overseas study experiences as possible, Global Society’s vision was clear and, with it, Rob had charted a course to fulfilling his lifelong dream.And all it took was 10 years to make it happen.
Almost everywhere in the world, study abroad programs have external providers. That didn't exist in Australia yet, and so my wife and I saw that there was an opportunity to do that as an independent organization.
How Ontraport Got Him There
Facebook Custom Audiences
For Global Society, integrating its CRM, sales and marketing data directly with its Facebook Ad program has been of the most effective strategies to assembling what is now a series of robust and high-converting retargeting campaigns. “Rolling this out has added a whole new customer engagement approach for us,” says Rob.
As the only small business CRM on the market to allow users to build custom record types, Ontraport is a gold mine for Rob and his team. “We're managing all of our content, staff benefits and much more right inside Ontraport — and hooking that up with relevant contacts and partner organizations.”
“Whilst we don't formally do affiliate marketing, we're using the 'partner' feature to generate and track word-of-mouth referrals and are running a competition for the person who refers the most new business to us.”
Unless you’re tracking precisely where the bulk of your leads and traffic are coming from, your marketing dollars are simply shots in the dark. Zero frame of reference is no way to go about growing your business. Using Ontraport, entrepreneurs like Rob are finally getting a handle on how far their marketing dollars are taking them on their respective mediums with big results: “Holy moley. This is next-level cool. We're now tracking the direct impact of our advertising and other marketing channels and, for the first time in 10 years, are starting to generate real metrics on what is effective and what is not. That's only been possible because we've brought marketing, sales, payments and custom management all under one roof. The initial results have been fantastic!”