Name: Fredrik Högemark
Occupation: CEO, Keystone Education Group
Fredrik Högemark has come a long way since he joined the co-founders of a student search platform in 2001, while still undergraduate students themselves in Sweden.
“We were studying our bachelor’s and realised how little information and guidance there was available for students,” Högemark says.
Högemark’s co-founders decided to create an online directory to help young people make an informed choice about where to study. As the internet evolved in the noughties, so did the organisation, becoming Education Medias Group – a market leader in providing search platforms for students.
Last year, EMG reached the latest phase in its iteration, merging with competitor Keystone Academic Solutions. The result is an ecosystem of 46 websites in 33 languages that are visited by 110 million students every year, according to Keystone Education Group (the company created in the merger). This week, Högemark starts as the company’s new CEO.
Formerly chief service officer, Högemark says he has spent the last couple of years focused on building out “our whole offering”.
“The initial merger between EMG and Keystone was combining the international student recruitment with the domestic student recruitment and then, with the acquisition of the agents and UniQuest, we provided the application and enrolment services.
“Our goal is to be able to help students throughout their entire journey,” he says. “Over the last couple of years, we have expanded our enrolment generation offerings with the acquisition of UniQuest, as well as several academic and sports agents.”
Students can visit one of Keystone’s sites (such as Masterstudies.com or Bachelorstudies.com) and browse programs and institutions. Through Keystone’s services, universities can also target students directly via social media advertising. Then, thanks to its acquisition of UniQuest, Keystone can manage the entire enrolment process.
In 2021, Keystone reported an expected revenue increase of 300% from 2019 following the merger. Under Högemark, the growth – and acquisitions – are set to continue.
“We’re always open to potential acquisitions that would strengthen our position in the market”
“We’re in the midst of a transformation from a student search company to provide student engagement services and deliver actual applications and enrolments to schools,” he says. “And so we’re going to continue to invest quite heavily in the application and enrolment sector.”
“We’re always open to potential acquisitions that would strengthen our position in the market where perhaps we’re not market leader today.”
Keystone has offices across Scandinavia, Germany and the UK, and employs over 650 people. The prospect of continued expansion presents both an opportunity and a challenge for Högemark.
“We’re growing really fast. We’re adding hundreds of employees on a yearly basis,” he says. “One of my key goals will be to recruit people who are really passionate about our mission. So scaling up and keeping a very strong company culture is definitely one of my [priorities].”
As the internet continues to evolve, so will Keystone’s approach.
“We also see quite a big shift of communication with the students, where historically it was a lot about the emails and phone calls, which is still super important, but we also see a big increase of communicating on the channels they are on, for example, WhatsApp and [Facebook] Messenger,” Högemark says.
His ultimate goal is, he says, to “establish us as the global leaders in student recruitment in the coming years”. But for now, Högemark is excited to enter a new phase for Keystone.