A Spotlight on Vlada Konaskina, Immerse Education

Name: Vlada Konaskina

Job Title: Programme Manager

Company: Immerse Education

Member Since: 2018

Though nothing will replace the experience of face-to-face learning, people are more open minded to online education and view it as a more pragmatic and less expensive alternative to residential programmes

Tell us a bit about your role and how it supports the business?

Immerse Education is a leading provider of academic summer programmes that take place in Cambridge and Oxford. We welcome students aged 13-18 to study a wide variety of subjects, provide an introduction to advanced study and insight into university life.

As a Programme Manager I look after the planning and delivery of all of our residential programmes. I spend a big chunk of my time scouting for the best academic and pastoral staff that are as passionate about education and delivery of high quality academic enrichment programmes as we are. The rest of my time is spent between designing the most interesting (and Covid safe) extracurricular activity programmes and making sure that the students get the best possible experience from the moment they meet our staff on arrival day and up until the very last moment, when they say their goodbyes on the last day of the course.

What has been your career highlight to date?

I’d say the fact that I have decided to leave a company that I have been a part of for the past 7 years and start my new journey with Immerse at the beginning of the year in the middle of a pandemic. Navigating not only through a slightly new territory but also the uncertainty of this year due of Covid and the ever changing travel regulations worldwide has definitely been a highlight of my year.

Also, receiving 10 out of 10 feedback from our students on our spring Online Insights courses.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Remember your ABCs: Assume nothing, Believe no one, Check everything.

If you were not working in this sector what other industry would you have pursued a career in?

My academic background is in International Relations and I have always been passionate about this subject. Should I ever feel the urge to change the industry – I would definitely try my myself somewhere related to IR.

What are the emerging trends within your sector?

People plan much further out. Whereas before people liked to confirm their plans up to a year in advance, now the situation pushes them to plan at least two years in advance, which is a helpful trend when planning for business development.

What is coming up for your company in the next 12/18 months?

For 2022 and beyond we are looking to expand the variety of our academic programmes, the number of residential colleges and locations, including some locations abroad! It is an exciting time for Immerse as we are looking to grow our team with the growth of our business.

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our industry, what is the one thing that you have learnt personally or professionally during this time?

Nothing is set in stone and you should learn to react and adapt quickly to the “new normal” until it changes yet again. I am used to being very flexible and think outside of the box, however planning for a variety of scenarios and adjusting those every couple of weeks can get tiring, but a very useful skill to have. I often remind myself of just how easy any type of planning  in the future will be once all Covid regulations will be lifted!

As we head towards recovery what do you think the challenges and opportunities are for our sector?

Pushing the restart button and refreshing your database of contacts – potentials students, staff, agents, suppliers, etc. A lot has changed since 2019 and this year gives us a great opportunity to rethink our engagement strategies with all of our old and new contacts.

How do you think Covid-19 will change our industry (if at all)?

Though nothing will replace the experience of face-to-face learning, people are more open minded to online education and view it as a more pragmatic and less expensive alternative to residential programmes.

Name three positives to come out of lockdown
  • People have stopped taking international travel for granted
  • England is a beautiful country to explore
  • There has been a positive shift in how people view their relationship with others

Find our more about BETA member Immerse Education here