An interview with Ashwini Kumar

In the shoes of South Asia Regional Director, Ashwini Kumar.

Travel is part and parcel of this role. American students contact institutions direct, but South 
Asia students mostly depend on education consultants. Some agents with a pan-India presence have around 15 offices. We were the first Scottish university to have an office in India. Compared to many other universities, Edinburgh Napier offers quite a lot of postgraduate programmes starting in January. And India is the largest market for international students for this intake. Right now it’s the very last phase of recruitment activity for January 2018 – the last 15 days. We visited many agent offices in October and November and encouraged them to generate applications for us.


Ever since the University began recruiting in India, we’ve been a lot stronger in the south, which is why the office is in Hyderabad. Four of us work here and I head the team. I was the first recruited, in 2008, and the main countries that I cover are India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. As well as student recruitment, we take care of admissions for most of the postgraduate courses. Our office processes applications, takes decisions on them, makes offers and does conversion activities to convince offer holders to come to the University. 

International recruitment has become tougher and tougher over the years. There was a great fall in student numbers after the UK scrapped the Post-Study Work visa in 2012. Numbers went down from more than 200 a year to maybe 50. Gradually we are increasing numbers, and we are now able to recruit in the South Asia region more than 100 students a year.

I love Scotland and going around the place. Pitlochry is one of my most favourite towns, with all of its flowers: every wall and every house will have flowers on top of it.

Ashwini Kumar

South Asia Regional Director

I travel within my region for about 40% of the year and come to Edinburgh at least once a year.I have done almost all available one-day bus tours leaving from Edinburgh. Whichever the company, whatever the routes – I have covered everything. I like the Loch Lomond trips and I like Inverness as a town a lot. 

Whenever I’m not travelling, I am most of the time just hanging out at my place with my young family. Going for small outings at the weekends with the kids is what I am into more than any serious sport or other activity. Whatever time they don’t get with me, I try to make up just by being around them – that is my approach.

Hyderabad is called the ‘city of pearls’, after the natural pearl ornaments and bangles they make here. It is also quite well known around the world for a dish called Hyderabadi biryani. I’ve been more than 16 years in the same city, but my colleague Neil Austin knows some of its monuments as well as I do. Believe it or not, when I showed him around a couple of years ago, it was also the first ever time I got to know the old city of Hyderabad.

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