Marist Brothers International School

Kobe, Japan

Miki Kobayashi

Admissions, Marketing & Communications Executive

Mika Inada


We saw a huge jump in January with applications and enquiries, and I think bulk messaging is a feature that we will continue to use to market and communicate.

Miki Kobayashi - Admissions, Marketing & Communications Executive

Why OpenApply

Located in Kobe, Japan, Marist Brothers International School (MBIS) is an accredited co-educational Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 school, where classes are conducted in English. The school is committed to excellence in education and believes that excellence extends beyond a rigorous and stimulating curriculum. MBIS’s holistic approach includes a focused dedication to character-developing skills which make their students stand out from the crowd.

The school began using OpenApply in October 2022 as they were looking for a single source of information that would capture student and parent data, which could then be used for a variety of purposes. Head of School, Shawn Hutchinson explains, “We had a paper-based admissions and enrolment process and wanted to move to a more reliable digital format. Working with applicants who were not in the country was a big issue for our admissions team and they faced a lot of challenges around this”.


The school embarked on a significant learning journey while navigating their way through the implementation stage. Operating both an International and an English school, they established OpenApply accounts for each. This centralised system empowered MBIS to seamlessly manage the entire enquiry, application, interview, and placement offer process online, especially catering to prospective families residing overseas.

The school prioritised a system that could seamlessly integrate with other tools and products – a crucial factor in their decision-making process during platform research. The school mentions, “We had a clear pathway between OpenApply, ManageBac, SchoolsBuddy and BridgeU. The whole Faria integration was critical for us in making the final decision, especially as we are moving towards IB, PYP and MYP.” They continue, “Our previous student management system was not able to develop curriculum assessment through ManageBac, and using OpenApply made so much more sense as we then had a direct sync with ManageBac.”

MBIS’s Admissions team began engaging in broader discussions, delving into student enrolment data and individual profiles. Immediately upon implementation, OpenApply gained a reputation as a versatile asset, serving the entire school community. Shawn adds, “OpenApply has become a really valuable tool and source for us as a school, not just from an Admissions point of view, but also helpful for the finance team, with notifications of application payments and registration fees.”

Miki Kobayashi, Admissions, Marketing & Communications Executive, points out that the system has also been immensely beneficial in organising her notes after each school tour. These details prove invaluable to her leadership team during interviews, providing deeper insight into the students and families, including their interests. She recalls, “I came to the school about six months into using OpenApply. Sometimes we still receive emails outside of the system, but OpenApply enables us to have all of our communication threads in one place. A great benefit, especially after doing ninety school tours, as it helps me to remember who is who!”

While MBIS continues to evolve their processes and procedures, they are progressively harnessing more of OpenApply’s capabilities. The platform has not only equipped families with a deeper understanding of the school and enrolment procedures but has also empowered the admissions team with enhanced efficiency and invaluable insights into areas of improvement. Consequently, MBIS has successfully streamlined its entire admissions process.

The school continues to regularly communicate with OpenApply’s customer support team, and is impressed with their readiness to promptly assist regardless of time zone differences. When asked how OpenApply supports the team, Mika Inada, Registrar at MBIS answers, “In so many ways!” Her colleagues agree, “The support we have from OpenApply, from transitioning data from one system to another, to migrating data, has been really helpful, especially their perseverance with us, and with their great level of expertise!”

The End Result

MBIS notes how OpenApply was able to alleviate significant pressure whilst also facilitating growth and development. The team was also consistent in praising OpenApply’s inclusive approach to training, extending beyond the admissions team to the wider body of staff, through professional development initiatives such as webinars, workshops, conferences and on-site visits.

A worthwhile consideration mentioned by the MBIS team, is the importance of investing time and effort into gaining confidence in using OpenApply. They encourage schools not to hesitate in reaching out for technical support, emphasising the significant benefits that this brings.

Looking ahead, the school is dedicated to fully integrating all available tools, including the CRM, into their operations. Finally, when asked whether they have any advice for other schools, the team at MBIS wisely advise, “Be clear about your own school’s processes. We were still following a paper-based process and realised that it could really be streamlined with OpenApply!”