International students market in the University of Waikato

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International students are those, usually in early adulthood, who study in foreign educational institutions. Most of the travel abroad mainly to improve their language skills, others travel to advance their specialized studies or for an overseas experience. Still others study abroad because suitable tertiary education is either in short supply or unavailable altogether in their home countries. In addition, in many parts of the world, a foreign degree, especially if earned from certain countries, is honored more than a local one. They are known to move past their cultural differences and learn a new language as well as new cultures. These students provide colleges with an opportunity to learn how to deal with those of diversity.

2. Market Share of International Students

Over the past few years, there has been rapid growth in the population of international students in New Zealand. It is estimated that during the year 2007-2008 there were 2.9 million students studying outside their home country and by the end of 2008, there were 88,557 international students studying in New Zealand with 82% of them being enrolled into tertiary institutes. The top markets from which international students are flowing into New Zealand is represented by the pie chart below:

There are numerous reasons why international students choose New Zealand as their destinations but some of the major findings are as follows:

English-speaking environment.

Globally recognized qualifications.

Safer comparing to other destinations.

Cost of living expense is cheaper comparing to the other top destinations.

New Zealand's scenic beauty, lifestyle, culture, travel and adventure also contribute as a factor to those students traveling for experience.

2.1Universities in New Zealand:

There are 8 state-funded universities in New Zealand. In the North Island, University of Auckland, AUT University, Victoria University, The University of Waikato, and Massey University on the South Island we have University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, and University of Otago. Each of these universities excels in some field of study or the other. As per the 2010 Shanghai Jiao Tong University Annual Ranking of World Universities the following New Zealand universities were ranked:

The University of Auckland (215),

The University of Otago (296),

Massey University (460),

University of Canterbury (462) and

Victoria University of Wellington (475).

In the past eight years, among enrolled international students, China had a very significant contribution to the number of international students as majority of international students where Chinese. Even now they hold a major share in the international students market. Over the past ten years, 2004 was the year where New Zealand had the most number of international students of 50,000, of which 30,000 students were from China.

During the 2001 academic year, there was the start of a rapid growth cycle in the number of international students enrolling in all sectors of the New Zealand. Since then the numbers have decreased and for the year end 2008, there was a further 3.0 percent decrease overall down to 88,557 with 72,914 (82%) of these international students enrolled in tertiary institutes (Education New Zealand, 2009b). The outlook for 2009 is looking positive as private education institutions such as English language schools, have had 18 per cent rise in enrolments with an across the board overall increase of 7 percent in enrolments of international students (Tan, 2009).

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The University of Waikato was established in 1964 and is the most modern and innovative university in New Zealand widely known for its international standards and flexibility. In the year 2004, University of Waikato enrolled over 14,000 students, of which 3000 were international students, mainly coming from the Pacific Rim and Asia regions. University is spread over 67 hectares of landscape which includes sporting and recreational areas surrounded by beautiful lakes. The University provides excellent study facilities with modern lecture rooms and laboratories and also a library of over 1,000,000 volumes.

2.2The University of Waikato comprises of seven Schools of Studies (Faculties) and one College. They are:

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Waikato Management School

School of Science and Technology

School of Education

School of Computing and Mathematical Science

School of Law

School of Maori and Pacific Development (Recognized as NZ's premier school for the study of native and Indigenous issues)

Pathways College

In this 21st century, the University of Waikato aims for the success of its international students and to increase the student numbers to 10% of total enrolments. In this fast growing world, University provides sufficient flexibility to make relations between different aspects of study for the students. This unique flexibility is the main center of attraction for the international students which aren't available elsewhere.

3. Why Waikato?

Waikato University is located in the heartland of New Zealand's leading scientific and wealth creating region. The Waikato region is a world centre for agri-business and home to more than one quarter of New Zealand's export business and working scientists. From the perspective of an undergraduate student there are many reasons that convince them to choose the University of Waikato. This include everything from range of flexible undergraduate qualifications, quality teaching staff, world-class specialist research facilities, Triple Crown management accreditation, cost of living comparing to other countries, the safety the country offers to the international students, global recognitions of the qualification, natural beauty of the country and so on. As for the same reason a verbal survey was conducted among the university hall of residents to analyze the key factors that made them choose University of Waikato as their option for studies and each citizenships had their on explanations on why they chose University of Waikato. The four main reasons that were pointed out by the target group were and these are placed according to the order of the survey:

The cost of living is comparatively cheaper to than living in a big city like Auckland.

The quality education offered with an adventure packed tourist destination within proximity

Triple crown accreditation of the management school

Beauty of the campus

Other things considered by an international student when short listing university of Waikato among other universities are the qualifications that the Universities offer. But this depends on the approach of an international student as well. There are heaps on international students who come in to a country just for an international experience or sometimes also known as the overseas experience. In this case the place of study, quality of education and recognition of the university won't be considered as the education part is mostly an excuse for an overseas experience. In this place the offer provided by each university matters a lot. If university of Waikato offered a person with a Graduate diploma qualification and some other university offered them with a Post-Graduate diploma for the same paper. There are 75% chances that he goes for the higher qualification as these groups of students are not bothered about where they get their qualification from. This can also happen when proper advises are not given out to the student by the agents on the importance of taking them from a better university or explaining him on the difference between a Graduate Diploma and a Post-Graduate Diploma.

But this is not the case with every international student. Other group of student would be who are seeking a carrier past their education, in such a situations the above said features like the place of study, quality of education provided and recognition of university matters. At this point it is very important to keep the morale of the university pretty high as this class of students needs to grab attention of the University of Waikato when they do their research for study. The Triple Crown accreditation is a very well renowned accreditation and there are just two universities in New Zealand that are entitled to that title. They are University of Auckland business school and University of Waikato management school.

4. Importance of Marketing Strategies over International Market

Marketing strategies used by the University of Waikato also plays a key role in gaining attention of the proposed international students who are researching for deciding upon which University in New Zealand they would choose. At this point it is very certain that the ranking and the recognition of the University over New Zealand would be considered. The first thing that would be done would be a quick research over the internet to seek the various universities all over New Zealand. After retrieving the list of universities usually there would be three options that would be considered to know more about each university. Those would be:

The first and primary one would be consulting an agent.

"Agents are also a key factor that influence a student from deciding upon university"

This can be explained well with a personal experience of our own team member (Antony Chakiath). He decided upon University of Waikato after a thorough research over the internet and by strong recommendation from his cousins who have been in New Zealand for almost 15 years. But while he approached an agent, the agent was strongly recommending him to go to Lincoln University and said this is a better university and its way easier to get an application through. What do you think that provoked him to recommend Lincoln University? Because after a thorough research Antony realized that Lincoln is way below Waikato at the time of application.

This is a clear indicator that agent's advice on the university clearly depends on the Commission paid by each university. He recommended Lincoln University even though when a student approached him to apply to the University of Waikato.

International Education Fair's.

"International Recruitment officer's turn to convince students"

International educational fairs are also a good source for a student to know more about the various universities. Here the International recruitment officer appointed by the university goes around the globe and represent the university. During these fair's, heaps of interested student come over to meet the delegates and about 50% of the students decision depends solely on the information provided by the delegate. As thinking from the student's perspective that is only the primary source for a student to know more about the university and from the university point of view that's the only time they come in direct contact with the student.

University should indeed utilize this chance and give them interesting information prospects of the university.

Internet and Relatives in New Zealand are the last resort.

"Spending money on designing the university web page is worth it"

Internet is a last resort for any information and in the modern world majority of the target group relies more on the internet to retrieve information. It always better to spend money on web designing as it will always help in holding a grip of attraction over the students. Keeping the web pages up-to-date and including all the necessary details regarding the qualifications and variety of papers are also important. It is highly recommended that all the information that makes the University unique comparing to the other university are posted as it gives us a competitive edge over other universities among this having the website in different languages are good (Lincoln University has that option). Updating the website with different languages won't cost the university more than $10,000 Having relatives in New Zealand is also a key factor considered by an international student as the information provided by the family are always the most genuine comparing to the other. This is more applicable to the Indian group of students as they are always bonded quite well to the family. But there is nothing that university can do in order to convince the relatives apart from having recognition in the local market.

Maintaining a well developed web page and a good recognition in the local market also favor the choice made by an International students at times.

5. Marketing Channels and Recruitment process

Market strategies play a key role in the gaining a student. A failure to maintain a good one will definitely impact on the number of students each year. Spending money on developing a good market strategy is worth even in a long run and is highly recommended to stay in the market.

There are various ways in which an international student may apply to University of Waikato. The flow off application into university can be mainly categorized into three they are:

Agent

The primary source of getting an application to the university is through a registered agent. This happens after a student has confirmed on the University of Waikato. But there are chances that a student might be convinced to apply into other universities by the agent. This case was discussed above. So maintain a good relationship with the agent is of primary importance as they have access to the international student market share in each university.

This could be dealt by offering better commission than other universities or by providing other incentives so that they stay in favor of our university.

Direct Application

Direct application is another method by which an international student may apply to a university. The number of application that comes over this source is comparatively less as the student himself has to run around for all the paper works including visa submission. Visa submission plays a vital role as even if the application get's through at the university he cannot make it to New Zealand unless the embassy permits him. The correct sets of papers for visa are always known by an agent as this is his profession.

Providing visa counseling to international students applying directly will help them over the visa process and that in turn will increase the flow of applicant's over direct application.

Partnerships

Other applications that come to university would be from the international partner universities where the student would have done half part of their study in the partner university in the domestic country and continue with the remaining part at the University of Waikato. This is a good source as the number of expected student can be foreseen and hence maintaining relations ships with the partners are also vital.

As of now the international partnerships maintained by the university of Waikato are limited to few university or institutes and increasing the number of partners in other countries who are also a dominant player in the international market will lead to a steady flow of international student into the University of Waikato.

There are various other factors that lead to a losing a student even after receiving an application. This can be addressed as the delays that take place while processing an application. There are chances that an applicant applying to University of Waikato might apply to other universities as well. If university of Waikato takes 10 days while processing an application and other university have responded to the student with an offer. At a desperate situation to leave for an overseas experience he might accept the first offer that gets back to him. This could happen as the agents are not well aware of the requirements of the university and might send in applications to a course that the student may not even have pre requisites. So providing proper training to the agents could help in clearing this problem of delay.

6. S.W.O.T analysis for University of Waikato for international students:

Strengths:

Triple Crown Accreditation for management school

Mathematics department was rated first in New Zealand in both 2004 and 2007

The university is co-located with Ruakura, a center for research in the primary industries.

The Computer Science department is particularly strong

The University has approximately 1000 places in accommodation, number of which are set aside specifically for international students

Located in Hamilton which is an inexpensive city to live in for students on a limited budget.

Weakness:

Various features over my web should be explained well enough to someone who is new to it.

Failure to make it 2010 Shanghai Jiao Tong University Annual Ranking of World Universities

Opportunity:

Open relationships with new partners across the world.

Expanding the relationship with the agents

Opening doors to foreign exchange programs with new countries

Bringing out more scholarship programs

Threats:

New Government regulations over International students

Agents convincing students to other universities as they pay more commission.

Failing to make it to the top Universities list around the globe

7. Recommendations that would indeed cater to improving the flow of international students would be

Increasing the number of partnerships with universities around the globe:

By increasing the number of international partners University of Waikato will be able to maintain an accurate forecast on the confirmed number of International student that would be coming the following year.

Pros: Increase in the flow of fixed number of students coming into the university, Easy to forecast the inflow of number of students.

Cons: Complications of matching the course outline with the partner university, Working out a partner is time consuming and expensive. This would cost around half a million or less depending on the university that we intend to join hands for partnership.

Maintaining a better relationship with the agents:

By maintaining a good relationship with the agents the turnover of the students to other university over commission basis can be brought down drastically. This could be done by providing them with additional incentives.

Pros: Increase in the number of students, Increase in the reputation of the university by word of mouth.

Cons: Decrease over the revenue earned from each student.

This would cost you university depending on how much they are planning on hiking the commission rate. Each percentage increase will cost the university around $200 dollars per student.

Reducing the delay taken over processing an application:

University takes a long time for processing an application and this could end up in an international student accepting an offer from some other university. This could be brought down by providing additional guideline to the agents on who are qualified to take a particular course.

Pros: Increase in the number of student turnover to other universities after application, easy for the University to process the application

Cons: No consequences that would affect the university. This should cost much to the university.

8. Group member's insights from the assignment are:

John Akkara:

This project has helped me interact with more international students through verbal communications. It helped me to know more about the past happening, processes and procedures of Universities. Moreover it helped me find different views of different students, the reasons why they choose University of Waikato as their first choice.

Joe George:

From my personal perspective I got an idea to investigate, analyze the data and how to implement recommendations regarding the universities market share of international students in New Zealand. It also helped me to assess the current strategies and procedures followed by the university.

Xiang Xiang:

By doing the research for the project I realized many of the market around the globe for the university and the importance of it to the economy.

Antony Chakiath:

Analysis over the over the various areas that a university operates on widened my knowledge on the market and is definitely giving me certain carrier idea on how to seek on what are the problems faced by an organization.

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