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Meet Rory O’Toole — Vice President – Partner Success

Meet Rory O’Toole — Vice President – Partner Success
  • With broad experience behind him, Rory has the knowledge to develop multi-faceted and impactful approaches to student recruitment.
  • In an industry that has been due for change for a long time, is an organisation that’s indicative of where things are headed in the future.
  • Getting out and meeting new and existing institution partners is a very high priority for Rory. Understanding their feedback in order to inform the direction of the product offering is also extremely important. 

Located in Leeds, UK, Rory is keen to start making connections with institutions to form strong strategic partnerships. His most recent role was Global Solutions Director at Sannam S4, where he was responsible for enhancing the company’s service portfolio and developing their innovation agenda.

Can you share a bit about your background and how you made your way to

I started my career in sales and account management roles in digital media, working with brands and universities. These roles gave me a chance to see what a great group of people we have in our sector and I’ve never looked back.

I wanted to move into a role that would allow me to better influence more of the student journey and support strategic decisions. This took me to QS, where it was all about highly integrated strategic partnerships where we had the opportunity to form a really strong relationship with institutions.

My next step was into the world of product development and innovation at Sannam S4 where I had the opportunity to launch a suite of new managed services in 2021.

So when you moved into your role at, what stood out to you about the company? is coming at this industry from several different angles, but at its core, the company is trying to do something fundamentally different to what’s been done before. Another thing that appealed to me about working for was the idea that it is tech-first with people around it. And there is a really strong technology agenda and it’s not a world I have worked in before. We are doing something revolutionary and transformative here. 

Also, the values. I’ve noticed that people here really embody these, and that’s important to me personally. It sets the tone really quickly about how we operate, and for my role, it’s important that partners feel that from us too — it’s about transparency, it’s about collaboration and doing what we say we’re going to do.

Tell us about some of the most memorable highlights of the last ten years of your career?

There are a few and they’re all to do with growth, innovation and collaboration.

Growing high performing teams from the ground up and seeing colleagues flourish and develop, enabling for example QSES UK to grow its client base threefold. Collaborating on truly innovative projects which have helped transform institutions’ approaches to recruitment — including co-creating new services in conjunction with progressive partners.

Those willing to invest time into projects and take some calculated risks with you are fantastic and there’s a real opportunity to do that here at given where we are on our development journey.

In the relatively short time you’ve been with us at, what are some of the things you’ve been working on?

Firstly, understanding how everything works! We’ve got such an array of talent in the team all doing impactful and interesting things and given the breadth of my role it’s been key for me to get to know as much as possible as quickly as possible.

Aside from that, I’ve been developing both our strategy and operational approach for enhancing our partnerships with institutions, also mapping our recruitment as we’re building a world-leading team so I’m always on the lookout! We’re committed to providing an outstanding partner experience for our institutions and their teams and that’s my overall focus. 

The way the education recruitment industry operates has shifted dramatically in recent years and our institution partners will be facing a whole new set of challenges. How will you be able to assist them moving forward?

That’s absolutely right, so much has changed but also some of the key pre-pandemic challenges remain, for example how institutions can best use data to inform their student recruitment strategy and tactics — from in market outreach, to marketing messaging, to accurate enrolment forecasting — the unique dataset is building has huge potential to enable institutions to make astute decisions. 

Student centricity has never been more important. Given the amount of change we’ve seen and the uncertainty that’s created, it’s vital for institutions and their partners to enable prospective students to make the best decision for them as easily and clearly as possible.

More generally, I’ll be working with our partners to ensure they have a complete view of their work with, maximising outcomes by using all the tools at our disposal.

Tell us, what are the most appealing things about working for a company that is delivering innovation in an industry that has been operating relatively unchanged for many years?

One thing I noticed straight away is that has both the capability and desire to effect change — if something isn’t working, we’ll change it, if something is we’ll build on it. The ethos and values that underpin the team really come through and that will always translate into the products we’ll continue to bring to market. 

There are just so many things that appeal! We’re at the centre of a changing landscape and while we have an amazing product we’re also committed to continually refining it to best suit the needs of our partners. 

Connect directly with Rory on LinkedIn or reach out to our Partnerships team to learn more about how your institution can leverage the marketplace.