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The scope of higher education is not limited to the promotion of economic development of different countries but it extends to the promotion of diverse cultures, political democracy and trade. International co-operation becomes the main business in the promotion of higher education. (polytechnic.edu.na) A paradigm shift has been noticed in the pattern of higher education from 'national' to 'global' education, from 'state controlled economy' to 'an open market economy', from 'general education' to 'an educational system driven by market forces', from 'one time education for a few' to 'lifelong education for all', from 'teachers centred education' to 'learned centred education'. (Venkatasubramanian, 2002)
The main objective of the research is to show how the UK universities function overseas. The essay deals with the various types of marketing strategies used by the Universities of the United Kingdom to market their educational courses in the developing countries of China and India. The study illustrates investigation and data analysis according to the past records and current data which will help the UK Universities to create a suitable marketing model for promoting their marketing strategies globally.
Chapter 1 gives a brief view of the main topic. The structure of UK higher education over the years is discussed along with the background which provides details about the government policies and procedures in the working of the UK Universities. The research objectives are clearly discussed along with the rationale and methodology applied for the research. Important abbreviations are mentioned in the last part of this chapter.
Chapter 2 deals with the part of Literature review where the work analysed by other people will be analysed again. We explain the meaning of marketing in the digital and international context coupled with the explanation of marketing mix. We have also designed a suitable marketing mix for the University of Birmingham.
Chapter 3 provides the system of methodology used for the research. Case study is the main method of approach for this thesis where the different methods of data collection are explained and elaborated.
Chapter 4 shows the findings extracted from the different methods of data collection both primary and secondary. It also illustrates the analysis of the findings and recommendations from the methodology used.
Chapter 5 describes the actual scene of international students prevailing in the UK. The new UKBA rules have totally disturbed the scene of non EU students studying in UK universities.
Chapter 6 summarises the essay by providing suitable conclusions and recommendations for the UK universities to market their education worldwide.
System of higher education in the UK, China and India
In this chapter, we will get an overview of the whole topic as it explains the structure and system of higher education in the UK, India and China. The research objectives and rationale are clearly defined in this chapter along with the background of the study. The advantages and disadvantages of choosing this topic are also highlighted. Some of the important terms that are used in the research are also given an introduction.
1.1 Higher Education System in the UK
UK is considered to be one of the most popular destinations for higher studies by international students across the world.The Universities in UK are represented by the organisation named Universities UK (UUK) which is a collaboration of the two institutions namely Higher Education Wales and Universities Scotland which aims at providing high quality education to students. Initially the Universities in UK were private institutions established as charitable organisations. Oxford and Cambridge are believed to be the oldest universities which were joined by the universities of Scotland. Later they joined the University of Durham which resulted in the formation of the University of London. Most of the universities became independent and offered their own degrees. Now we have universities in the entire region of UK. (Weber and Bergan, 2006)
Higher education of UK universities is considered to be one of the best educational systems in the world. The contribution of the HE sector has contributed nearly 59 billion to the UK economy overall. Taking into account the export activities of the UK economy, the non-EU student fees accounts to 2.2 billion pounds alone which marks this sector in the most profitable zone of earnings. International students doing off campus courses from their home countries generate an additional profit of 2.3 billion pounds. (pearsonblueskies.com)
1.2 Background Information
The research will mostly deal in the figures of international students of China and India over the past decades in UK. The main reason for the rising number of foreign students in UK from China and India is that both the countries are in their developing phase. They are making developments in all the sectors of their economies. Both India and China are predicted to be in the top three countries of the world by 2020 according to euromonitor international. (euromonitor.com) Higher education has gained a lot of importance in these two countries. Most of the students from these countries are ambitious and want to pursue higher education from foreign universities.
Tremendous change has been noticed in the system of higher education in UK over the years.(Fry, Ketteridge and Marshall, 2009) The number of international students studying in UK has increased from 1.4 million in 1990s to 2.5 million in 2004. (Mazzarol, 2008)According to annual reports a 28% increase has been noticed in the increase of international students in the last ten years.(universitiesuk.ac.uk) According to the president of Universities UK, Rick Trainor, UK is one of the main players in the global higher education market and that the rise in international students from India was 'particularly welcome'. There was a 24% increase in the number of Indian students according to the annual report 0f 2008. HESA reported that the numbers increased from 19,205 in 2005-06 to 23,835 the following year. India continues to top the list of international students in UK after China, which continues to top the list (timeshighereducation.co.uk). International students supply a large part of income to the UK government. (guardian.co.uk) Non EU students bring an income of around 9 billion pounds into the UK economy. (bbc.co.uk)We will discuss the main reasons which have led the increase in the number of foreign students. The main reasons include the flexible rules and regulations of the government and the popularity of higher education of the UK universities. Talking on the personal front, students from developing countries want a foreign degree for increasing their reputation in their home countries other than gaining a broad view and good education.
1.3 Research Objectives
The main objective of this research is to examine the marketing strategies used by the universities of UK to advertise their courses in the developing countries of China and India. Along with the main objective, we will also try to find out the national and international techniques used for marketing of education by the UK universities in the previous years.Putting in points we can say that the main objectives of this research are:
Explaining the different marketing techniques used in China and India
Analysing the main factors responsible for attracting international students from China and India.
Impact of the new rules and regulations implemented by the UK government on international students.
Address the problems faced by UK universities to market education in China and India.
1.4 Rationale and Methodology of the investigation
The research work for investigating the international students of China and India will be based on a qualitative approach based on literature review of the data available. We have chosen the Case study approach to conduct the thesis because of the simplicity of this method.The qualitative research is investigated by preparing a questionnaire based on the case study of the University of Birmingham. The regional managers of India and China in the International Office of the University have been interviewed to answer most of the queries related to the marketing of UK universities and the problems associated with it.
Quantitative analysis will also play a major role in the essay as most of the data relating to the counts of international students is highlighted. Tables and graphs of various years relating to marketing and advertising of different universities in the UK are used.
1.5 Higher Education in China
China's education system is also deemed to be one of the largest educational systems in the world. Higher education has helped a lot in the economic development of the country by producing efficient individuals for the benefit of the nation. There is an entrance exam for pursuing the higher education in China which is known as the National Higher Education Entrance Exam. The Chinese name for this exam is Gao Kao and it is undertaken by 9.15 million students according to the data provided in June 2012. Around 660 higher education institutes are running in the country.(chinaeducenter.com)The system of higher education in China is mostly influenced by the standard of higher education of the United States. The bachelor's level degree is of 4 years. The good colleges in China offers Master's degrees and PhDs accredited by the State Council.(che.de) There are 1650 regular higher education colleges, 528 adult institutions and 214 private higher education institutes. ((Netherlands Education Support Office Beijing 2005, p.8).
The government of China spends a large part of consumer expenditure on higher education which in turn has increased the educational prospects in the country. A notable increase has been made in the number of MBA schools in the country since 1991. The graduate enrolment in PhD programmes has grown by 235 each year since 1982. Most of the international students in US and UK comprise of Chinese students. The percentage of Chinese students in the UK is 13.5% higher than other international students.
1.6 Higher education in India
Higher education has gained notable importance in India. The system of higher education in India is deemed to be the second largest system of higher education of the world. It consists of both public and private universities. The University Grants Commission is the main governing body behind the management of higher education system in India. In the decade from 2000 to 2011, the number of colleges providing higher education in India has increased by 20000 with 8 million new students. According to the survey reports of 2011, higher education institutes comprised of 42 Central Universities, 275 State Universities, 130 deemed universities, 90 private universities, 5 institutions of State act and 33 Institutes of national defence. Some notable features of higher education in India also include the system of distance and open learning. (Wikipedia.com) Institutes like Indian Institutes of technology (IIT), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Indian Institutes of Management (IM) in India are world famous and has motivated a lot of students to pursue the degree of higher education in their careers. Indian students who go abroad for earning an international degreehave also increased in numbers. Over 195,000 Indians were sent to abroad in 2010 of which 40,890 were enrolled with the Universities of UK. Most of the Indian students pursue postgraduate degrees from abroad after completing their undergraduate degrees in India. (britishcouncil.org)
1.7 International students from India and China studying in the UK
Reports show that the number of international students has doubled in the last ten years. (qaa.ac.uk). A 48% increase has been found from the years of 2000 to 2006. 229,640 international students enrolled in the Universities of UK in 2007/08 as compared with 117,290 in 1998/99. China is considered to be the ''most significant'' exporter of non EU students to the UK. A major part of UK's economy runs because of the revenue earned from the tuition fees provided by international students. In 2006/2007 around 1.88 billion pounds of income was reported. Britain attracts around one in 10 foreign undergraduates and postgraduates who study outside their home country. (guardian.co.uk) The tables mentioned in the appendix section of the research very well explains the number of international students studying in Great Britain.
Indian students studying in the UK:
Indian students are highly motivated to study in foreign universities. UK remains one of the most preferred locations for international students especially from the country of India. According to the statistics of 2010, double the number of Indian students was enrolled in the universities of UK as compared to the universities of US despite strict visa policies. The number of student visas issued by the UK Government to Indian students was 57,500 in 2010 as compared to 32000 student visas issued by the US Government. There was a drastic change in the issue of student visas to the Indian students by UK in 2010. In 2009, only 34000 student visas were issued and in 2010 the number almost doubled. The main reasons behind this sudden increase can be stricter visa rules and regulations by the US and Australian governments.(universityworldnews.com)From the statistics mentioned above, we can make out the interest of Indian students to study in the Universities of the United Kingdom.
Chinese Students studying in the UK:
The international students from China form a major part of student population in the universities of the United Kingdom. The reports provided by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) tell us that 4,976 Chinese students were enrolled for higher education courses in 2008. This showed a 14.7 increase over the last year. The total number of Chinese students studying totalled 75,000. Singapore and Hong Kong also supply a good amount of international students to the UK.
1.8 Important terms used in the essay
UUK- UUK stands forUniversities United Kingdom. It was formed as an organisation to represent the universities of the United Kingdom. (universitiesuk.ac.uk)
BC-BC is an abbreviation usedforBritish Council. It acts as a link throughout the world to promote cultural relations. It has played a leading role in promoting higher education in around 100 countries worldwide. (britishcouncil.org)
HE-HE is used to define the term of Higher Education. Higher education means the education that is provided after finishing primary education. HE is provided in universities mainly starting at a bachelor's level degree of three or four years.
UKCISA-UKCISA stands for theUK Council for International Student Affair. It is UK's advisory body which deals with advising internationaland UK students on matters relating to higher education. (ukcisa.org.uk)
HESA-HESA is the abbreviated form for Higher Education Statistics Agency. This agency is officially responsible for maintaining information about the statistics of international students who come to the UK to pursue higher education. (hesa.ac.uk)
UKCGE-UKCGE stands forUK Council for Graduate Education. It is also an association to look into the interests of graduates studying in England. (ukcge.ac.uk)
UOB-UOB is used to represent the University of Birmingham in the essay. It is a leading university in England.(bham.ac.uk)
Universitas 21-Universitas 21 is a leading organisation that unites the research intensive institutions across the world. The University of Birmingham is associated with this foundation. (universitas21.com)
HEFCE -Higher Education Funding Council for Englandis the full form of HEFCE. It is responsible for funding quality higher education in the universities of UK. (hefce.ac.uk)
UKBA- UKBA stands for UK Border Agency. It is one of the biggest law agencies in the UK. It is a part of the Home Office of the UK government.
Home Office- This is the government department which is responsible for managing immigration, issuing passports, prevention of drugs and crime in the UK. (homeoffice.gov.uk)
UCAS-This term stands for University Colleges and Admissions Service. It is an important organisation established for supporting the students of higher education by helping them connect with each other on a global scale.
Marketing of UK Universities by creating marketing-mix
The second chapter explains the bottom-line of conducting this research. In this chapter, the term marketing will be explained in detail. All the aspects of marketing including advantages of marketing, international marketing and its relevance in today's time, digital marketing and marketing mix will be explained. A general example of marketing mix taken into account the University of Birmingham will form an important part in the chapter.
2.1 Definition of Marketing
Marketing is defined as a social and managerial process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships to gain a profitable return from its customers.
(Kotler and Armstrong)
Marketing is the management process for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. (The Chartered Institute of Marketing CIM)
Marketing can be defined as an activity, a set of institutions or processes which are used for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that serve value for the customers, partners, clients and the society at large. (American Marketing Association)
Marketing is all about the consumers because it helps in identifying the customers, satisfying the customers, and, most importantly in preserving the customers. (Wikipedia.org)
"MARKETING IS MANAGING PROFITABLE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS" says Philip Kotler in his book "Marketing: Creating and Capturing Customer Value"
Marketing can be divided into two categories namely inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Inbound marketing involves doing marketing research, doing competitive analysis of different products and services, pricing and positioning of products, naming and branding, etc.
Outbound marketing relates to the advertising and promotion of different products, sales, public and media relations, customer services and social networking, etc. (ezinearticles.com)
2.2 Importance of Marketing
"LET YOUR LOGO LEAD THE WAY" is a famous quote which explains the worth of marketing to any business. (advantagesinmarketing.com)
Marketing is a very important part of modern business organisations since it's the key to its success.Advertising, sales promotion and public relations are the major functions of marketing along with production and distribution. Marketing helps in explaining the fact that Customers should be the prime concern of any business and not merely the products sold.(exforsys.com)It helps to foster a healthy competition among brands which in turn increases the local competition in the market. (mbacareerprogram.com) Companies who do not use marketing in today's time are undergoing losses because of unawareness among the people. (scribd.com)
Some of the following are the main advantages of marketing of goods and services:
Marketing generates awareness among the general public
Marketing helps in increasing sales
Marketing helps in increasing goodwill (exforsys.com)
2.3 International Marketing at a glance
"At its simplest level, international marketing involves the firm in making one or more marketing mix decisions across national boundaries. At its most complex level, it involves the firm in establishing manufacturing facilities overseas and co-ordinating strategies across the globe." (Doole and Lowe 2001)
"The international market goes beyond the export marketer and becomes more involved in the marketing environment in the countries in which it is doing business." (Keegan 2002)
International Marketing is the process of planning and conducting transactions across national borders to create exchanges that satisfy the objectives of individuals and organisations. The main forms of International marketing are export-import trade to licensing, wholly owned subsidiaries, joint ventures, turnkey operations and management contracts. (Czinkota and Ronkainen)
International marketing has been assuming a commanding new role-not only executing strategy but increasingly shaping it as well. International marketing is affected by a number of factors namely political, economic, social and cultural, and, technological factors. (Geoffrey Randall)
International marketing of education in India and China will form the basis of this essay.
2.4 Marketing Mix: The 4 P's of Marketingand the Extended Marketing Mix
"The marketing mix is . . . The set of controllable tactical marketing tools - product, price, place, and promotion - that the firm blends to produce the response it wants in the target market." (Kotler and Armstrong 2010)
The first step of a firm in manufacturing their products is to create a right mix of the four elements by:
Manufacturing the appropriate product
Selling the product at the right price
Selling the product at the suitable place
Applying the most profitable technique of promotion
To create a perfect marketing mix, the following requirements should be met:
The product must have attractive features. It should look prim and proper. The customer must be able to sense durability and sustainability in the product.
The price of the product should be reasonable as compared to its competitors because customers prefer low prices goods.
The third most important factor is the place. The goods must be supplied as soon as the demand arises because customers prefer timely delivery. Supplying the right product at the right time provides an edge over competitors in the target market.
Promotion and advertising is very important in the selling of a product because the consumers become aware of the particular product. Consumers get a chance to compare the product with similar products available in the different markets which in turn gives an advantage over other products which are expensive than the product sold by the particular company.
Product, price, place and promotion are traditionally called the 4Ps of marketing mix.
"Price is the amount the consumer must exchange to receive the offering." (Solomon et al 2009)
The price is the most influential determinant involved in selling a product. (businesscasestudies.co.uk)The main variables that affect the pricing decisions of the manufacturers are pricing strategy (skimming, positioning, segmenting, penetration, etc.), retail price, volume discounts and wholesale pricing, cash and trade discounts, seasonal pricing and bundling, price flexibility, and, price discrimination. (netmba.com)
"Place includes company activities that make the product available to target consumers."
(Kotler and Armstrong 2010).
Place factor in the marketing mix refers to the distribution of the product to the final consumers. The major distribution decisions involved are the choice of distribution channels, market coverage, inventory management, transportation and warehousing, channel members, distribution centers, order processing, reverse logistics, etc.(netmba.com)
"Product means the goods-and-services combination the company offers to the target market." (Kotler and Armstrong 2010)
The manufacturer has to decide how to make the product, decide the production and manufacturing lines, financing the products, etc. Marketer has to decide on the appearance of the product and the function of the product.
The main attributes which are responsible for judging the reputation of a product are functionality, brand name, quality, styling, packaging, safety, warranty, and warranty. (netmba.com)
"Promotion includes all of the activities marketers undertake to inform consumers about their products and to encourage potential customers to buy these products." (Solomon et al 2009).
Communication with customers is the final step to sell the product in the target market. Promotion serves to help the customers by making them aware about the particular product. Promotional decisions include using promotional strategies (push or pull), advertising and personal selling of products in different locations, direct mail, telephonic conversation, sales force and sales promotions, public relations and publicity, and, marketing communications budget.
Figure 1: 4P Marketing-Mix Model (bing.com)
Figure 2: Extended Marketing-Mix Model(Marketing-made-simple.com)
Extended Marketing-Mix: Physical Evidence, People and Process: 7Ps
In today's world, marketing has become far more consumer oriented than ever before. So to match the needs and requirements of modern consumers, 3 new variables were added to the existing traditional marketing mix namely
"(Physical evidence is) . . . The environment in which the service is delivered, and where the firm and customer interact, and any tangible components that facilitate performance or communication of the service." (Zeithaml et al 2008)
Physical evidence is the environment in which the service will take its form. It gives a platform to the consumers to judge the value of the service provided. For example, if we think of having dinner in an expensive restaurant our expectations are of a good environment and hygienic food. (learnmarketing.net)
"(People are) . . . All human actors who play a part in service delivery and thus influence the buyers' perceptions; namely, the firm's personnel, the customer, and other customers in the service environment." (Zeithaml et al 2008).
The staff of the company is another important influential part of a marketing company because a person's way of interacting with others determines his credibility. The staff of the company should be equipped with good interpersonal skills, aptitude and service knowledge to provide adequate details to the consumers so that they buy the product happily. Proper training should be given to the employees of the company to deal politely with the consumers. (learnmarketing.net)
"(Process is) . . . The actual procedures, mechanisms, and flow of activities by which the service is delivered - this service delivery and operating systems." (Zeithaml et al 2008).
Process is that element of the extended marketing mix which denotes the method of delivering service to the consumers. The service mechanism is referred to as the process. (learnmarrketing.net)
Addition of three more domains of physical evidence, people and process to the traditional 4P marketing mix model, we derive the 7P model of marketing mix.
For example, we can discuss the MARKETING MIX OF THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM by applying the 7P model.
The price element will be fixed by the parameters of the course fees and accommodation fees. International students will also consider the cost of visa application and travel tickets. Counselling fees is also a concern in some cases.
Products also mean services in the marketing sense. Both are interrelated terms. So the product (service) provided by the University of Birmingham is the availability of various courses like undergraduate, postgraduate, taught, research and PhD, and, the degrees awarded at the time of convocation to students.
International students are the main consumers of the foreign universities. Talking about the University of Birmingham, international students from developing countries expect the universities too good. They have very high hopes about the teaching and accommodation facilities, fee systems, sports facilities, etc. Goodwill of the University matters for international students to decide about their admissions.
The Universities of Birmingham has been doing its promotions in various parts of India and China by hiring certain educational consultancies which helps in advertising the available courses to the prospective students. Internet is a very useful source of online marketing of education.
To prove that the university provides the services for real, some physical evidence is required like advertisement and personal selling of services, hand-outs and leaf-lets, circulars, pamphlets, flyers and folders. International students would want to have a quality experience at the University of Birmingham as they pay a higher share of fees than the domestic students.
The staff and the ex-students of the University are the most influential people who help the international students to decide whether to take admission in the University of Birmingham or not. Students can have face-to-face communication with the university's representatives in the educational fairs organised in their home countries or through emails and telephonic conversation.
The process implemented in the admissions of students in the University is the admissions procedure which involves enrolling the students by giving identity cards and assigning roll numbers.
2.5 Sources of internationalmarketing
INTERNET is the most active low cost source of providing information to users all over the world.It has gained relevance as a consumer-oriented marketing tool in the last five years because it has been used extensively for business to business marketing programs through emails, newsgroups and online forums. (globalmillenniamarketing.com)
Using internet in educational institutes can provide the following advantages:
Promote fast and effective communication in the organisation,
Provides information about anything in the world. It is a storehouse of information,
Promotes social marketing in the organisation which helps to connect with different organisations and people across the globe,
Good source of entertainment,
Helps in conducting daily transactions online,
A successful institution should apply the following online techniques for marketing their courses across the world:
A clearly defined official website with easy navigation facilities:The universities who are planning to market their courses worldwide should have a clearly defined website. The website should explain all the major parameters with easy navigation facilities.
User Interface: The user interface should be very creative and lively. The webpage should look fascinating.
Management system: The universities should have an user friendly management system where the records of the students can be easily tracked like the semester results, students roll numbers and addresses, etc.
Customer support system:Customer service should be very fast and effective. Talking about the customer support system of the universities, it should address the queries of students on time in a reliable manner.
Live chat application: The live chat application should be included in the online services of good universities because this will help the international students to get in touch directly with the management and past students. This will add an extra feature to the university as the doubts of international students coming overseas will be cleared by the trusted employees available on live chat. For example, the University of Birmingham provides the facility of live chat with the accommodation staff to talk about the accommodation facilities before the start of the term.
Transaction support system: The transaction support system of the educational institutions should be atomic and durable. They should have the facilities where students can pay their fees online, direct debit systems should be maintained, online shopping, etc.
Marketing system:Having an efficient marketing system is the first requirement of marketing business online. The main properties of a good marketing system of universities should be lead generation (attracting potential students), conversion (gather the information of students), retention(taking care of the student's choices to retain them), Up Selling (If a lot of students are enrolled in the universities, the marketing system should be very clear with the details of all the students and their respective courses) and Referral system (tracking referral rates).
Landing page: The landing page is the main background page of a website. It is often highlighted on social media networking sites. Example, the University of Birmingham has its landing pages on Facebook namely University of Birmingham, University of Birmingham Accommodation services, etc.
2.6 All about Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is the online form of advertising goods and services. It is the new buzz in the world of internet. Web browsers, smartphones and game consoles are majorly used to promote different products using a suitable internet connection. Digital marketing is divided into two main parts- PUSH and PULL. Pull digital marketing is one in which the consumer is actively involved in seeking marketing content through web searches. In most cases the marketing information is provided through email, text message and web feed. The main types of pull digital marketing are streaming media both audio and video, websites and blogs.
2.7 Marketing of Higher Education by UK Universities
Higher education has gained tremendous popularity in developing countries. It has become a primary program with an international dimension because of globalisation of activities worldwide.
Higher education starts from the beginning of the Bachelor's degree which is a three years course. Postgraduate courses comprises of a Master's degree which can be taught or research, and, a Doctorate degree. Some of the major factors responsible for international marketing of education are:
Reputation of the University worldwide,
Quality of faculty members,
Financial position in the market
International strategies alliances with the developing countries
Offshore programs and agents in other countries
Advertising and promotion policies
Variety of courses available
So we get to know that the major factors that attract international students from India and China to study in UK Universities are:
Good reputation of the University
Provision of Scholarships
Reasonable and affordable fee structure
Fascination for western culture specially for Indians
Influence of alumni associations
Good job opportunities
Technological advancement (fast internet)
Explaining the methodology used for research
In this chapter, the methodology planned for the research is elaborated. We have opted for using the approach of Qualitative Research by using the case study method. The use of both primary and secondary data is shown but most of the data collection sources are secondary. The advantages and disadvantages of the different qualitative methods are demonstrated to make the research work more strong.
3.1 Methodology and research paradigm used for research
The main part of the research is the methodology section where we will explain the procedure followed to collect the appropriate data for conducting research on UK Universities.Methodology is a term which explains the tools and techniques to write a research project. (Wikipedia.com)
Under the research paradigm we will discuss the different types of research methods:
Qualitative research: According to Shank (2002), qualitative research is defined as "a form of systematic empirical inquiry into meaning". (p.5) He described the term systematic as "planned, ordered and public" following certain rules of qualitative research, and, for the word empirical he explained that the inquiry is defined in the proven experience. Inquiry into meaning means how different analysts observe the work of already existing researches done in history. Denzin and Lincoln (2000) defined qualitative research as an naturalistic and interpretive approach.(p.3)
Advantages of doing a qualitative research are as follows:
Contextual factors are considered during the research,,
Welcomes different types of ideas and opinions,
Provides social meanings of the findings as well as studies symbolic differences,
Provides opportunities for better exploration of different theories.
(Conger, 1998; Bryman et al, 1988; Alvesson, 1996)
"It is a formal, objective, systematic process in which numerical data are utilised to obtain information about the world". Cormack (1991) Heath (2004)
The conceptual research gives a base to the research conducted by describing the preferred idea in all perspectives. (Wikipedia)
This type of research is based on actual observation and experiments and uses quantitative data analysis. (nsu.edu)
3.2 Case study as a research method: advantages and disadvantages
A case study is defined as:
"Empirical inquiry that
- investigates a contemporary phenomenon in depth and within its real life context, (especiallyWhen)
- the boundaries between the phenomenon and the context are not clearly evident." (Yin 2009)
Advantages of case study research:
Generates new ideas and opinions: Case study is an in-depth study of already existing matter. In this way, the new analyst can put his ideas and opinions on that topic and prove it to be better than before.
Provides opportunities for innovation:Case studies provide new opportunities for innovation and research as it allows the researcher to apply his own skills in the research.
Descriptive in nature: The best feature of a case study approach is that they are highly descriptive. They explain everything in detail by which the reader can draw a better conclusion about the research. (nvcc.edu)
Challenges the existing theoretical assumptions:Nothing can be perfect. So the researcher can put a question mark on the already existing theoretical assumptions.
Helps to analyse rare phenomena:Case study approach involves detailed reading which helps to observe the assumptions and theories of existing matter particularly.
Serves as an alternative to the group focus of psychology:It serves as an option for conducting focus groups for Psychological purpose.
Disadvantages of case study research:
Difficult to generalise from single reports:Case study analysis is based on real life analysis so it is very difficult to draw same conclusions from every analysis. Case studies are based on small subjects and mostly people have done experiments with just a single subject. It is very difficult to generalise. (Yin,1984) Dependency on a single case exploration makes it very difficult to generalise. (Tellis,1997)
Cause-Effect conclusions are difficult to be drawn:It is very difficult to drawacause and effect relationship based on a case study approach because of its non-generalised nature.
Biased method: it gets very difficult to manage large amounts of data research involved in conducting a case study analysis. This leads to biased results at times.
Impractical and unscientific: Case studies have proved to be a very difficult and impractical research because it involves a lot of documentation. (Yin,1984)
3.3 Case study of the University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham was founded in 1900 by Queen Victoria by Royal Charter.The University was UK's first civic university laying a platform for students to come from all religions and backgrounds. The growth of the University is based on the radical vision of the first Chancellor, Joseph Chamberlain. It is also counted as a member of the Russell Group of Research universities and a founding member of Universities 21. The University is ranked as the 12th elite institution in the UK by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The University is home to 16500 undergraduate students and nearly 8000 postgraduate students. The University enjoys 67th position all over the world according to QS World University rankings. (Wikipedia)
The University of Birmingham is composed of five colleges which are further sub divided into a number of schools and departments which as stated as follows:
Arts and Law
School of Archaeology and Antiquity
Birmingham Law School
School of English, Drama and American and Canadian Studies
School of History and Cultures
School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music
School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion
College of Arts and Law Graduate School
Engineering and Physical Sciences
School of Chemistry
School of Chemical Engineering
School of Civil Engineering
School of Computer Science
School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering
School of Mathematics
School of Mechanical Engineering
School of Metallurgy and Materials
School of Physics and Astronomy
Life and Environmental Science
School of Biosciences
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
School of Psychology
School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Medical and Dental Services
School of Cancer Sciences
School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
School of Dentistry
School of Health and Population Sciences
School of Immunity and Infection
Birmingham Business School
School of Education
School of Government and Society
School of Social Policy
The University is recognised all over the world for its good reputable position. Over 4500 students from 150 countries are studying in the University of Birmingham making it one of the largest hubs of studying for international students.
3.4 Research methods and strategies used
Yin identifies the research design as "guiding the investigator (in our case an architect) in the
process of collecting, analysing, and interpreting observations. It is a logical model of proof that
allows the researcher to draw interferences concerning causal relations among the variables under
Investigation". (Yin 2009, p. 26).
The most commonly used research methods for collecting data are as follows:
Panels (focus groups)
Observation (participant and non-participant)
Databases (Fisher 2007)
However in this essay, questionnaires, interviews and focus groups will be used.
The research strategy followed in the report is the case study approach. Both primary and secondary data will be collected for the implementation of this study. The University of Birmingham forms the basis for the conduction of the case study approach. We will explain how this university has marketed its courses in the countries of India and China by using a suitable marketing mix. The research will help in explaining the factors that are relevant for the UK Universities to consider the recruitment of international students.
A questionnaire is essentially a structured technique for collecting primary data. It is generally a series of written questions for which the respondents has to provide the answers. (Bell,1999)
In simple words, a questionnaire is a pattern of questions written on a form which is filled by a certain sample of people for the collection of statistical data.(freedirectory.com)
Types of Questionnaires
Questionnaires are mainly divided into two categories:
Closed-ended questionnaires: In this type of questionnaires, the respondents have to answer the questions from a given set of answers.
Open-ended questionnaires: In this case, the respondents have to answer the question based on their own opinions. They can answer the questions in their own words.
The following steps are required for designing an effective questionnaire:
The project must be clearly defined
The type of survey to be conducted
Choice of data whether qualitative or quantitative?
Designing the question type- closed ended or open ended?
Addition of necessary prompts and probes
Decide the order of questions
Rate the questionnaire on certain scales
Sampling strategy to be used
Collection of appropriate data
Analysis of collected data for proper screening and feedback
3.4.2 Advantages and disadvantages of questionnaires
Questionnaires can help to access a lot of people at low rates.
Low response rates.
Coverage of wide geographical area.
High rates of biasness because anyone can complete the questionnaire.
Easy to contact disabled people through telephonic interview.
Use of trained interviewees is required for Face to face interviews.
Use of visual aids for conducting interviews has made the use of questionnaires simple.
Face to face interviews are time consuming.
3.6 Data collection methods:Primary and secondary data
Both primary data and secondary data collection methods are used. Primary data forms an integral part of the essay as it is obtained from the reliable sources of the University by conducting in-depth interviews and questionnaires. Secondary data is collected from a variety of sources including books, journal articles, websites, government publications, and various higher education agencies of England.
Qualitative Data Collection Methods used in the research
Observations: Participant and non-participant
Action Research (libweb.surrey.ac.uk)
Quantitative Data Collection Methods used in the research
Surveys (telephone, mail)
3.7 Semi structured Interviews: definition, advantages and disadvantages
Semi-structured interviews are referred to as in-depth interviews which are used to collect to collect qualitative data for research.(sociology.org.uk) They are often called under the tagline of "conversation with a purpose".(researchproposalsforhealthprofessional.com)
Smooth two way conversation is possible because the framework for conducting semi-structured interviews is frank and open. (aber.ac.uk)
Semi-structured interviews should be preferred because of the following various advantages:
Practical approach: In these types of interviews, the approach followed is practical and simple. Both the interviewer and interviewee are at comfort because of clearly defined questions.
Reliability and validity: The interviewee has the flexibility to express his feelings clearly in detail which makes him comfortable with the interviewer. This makes the system more reliable and valid.
Easy handling of complex questions: The interviewee can answer the questions according to comfort level. He can skip questions if he wants.
In spite of benefitting the researchers, semi-structured interviews presents some disadvantages:
Lack of confidentiality
Application of methodology and its evaluation
This is the most important chapter in the whole essay as this will present the information about the interviews conducted from the people working in the University of Birmingham. We will apply the case study approach by conducting primary interviews based on semi-structured questionnaires. The evaluation of the interviews conducted, target of research objectives will also form a part of this chapter. While conducting this research, we also faced certain problems which are discussed in the last part of this chapter.
4.1 Application of Methodology in conducting research
In this chapter we are going to apply the case study approach to the University of Birmingham by analysing the research questionnaire which is answered by the staff of the University's International Office. The questionnaire will answer questions like the factors that attract international students to the UK, effect of UK Government's rules and regulations on international students, lifestyle of international students in UK universities, etc.
4.2 Interviews conducted based on questionnaires
The questionnaires prepared for the survey are very simple to understand. They are mainly conducted for addressing the research objectives. Questionnaires are a primary source of data for the investigation as they are conducted face to face with the people in the university. The regional manager of the Indian admissions department in the international office UOB, the regional manager of the Chinese admissions department in the international office and the programme instructor of the International business department in the Business School are the main respondents of the research based on interviews. The interviews were conducted in the month of September 2012.
Questionnaire 1:This questionnaire was conducted in the International office of the University of Birmingham from the regional managers of China and India. This interview will help us explain that what are main factors they attract international students from China and India to come and study in the UK. The full procedure from the application stage to the enrolment stage is explained. The main purpose of conducted this interview was to get a real picture of international students studying in the University of Birmingham. We have primary information from the people working in the University.
Question 1: Views about marketing higher education in developing countries of India and China?
Answer from the Indian regional manager UOB: India is one of the largest higher education markets for the UK, approximately 24,000 students enrolled for UK programmes in 2010/11 (HESA). The USA remains the dominant destination for Indian students and Indians continue to dominant the market of international students as well. As a result of recent slowdown in enrolments, the US government eased visa restrictions and increased budget for international and cultural exchanges. This compared unfavourably with UK government's decision to tighten the criteria for international students to come and study here. In 2011/12, a sharp decline of 35% was noticed in the admissions of Indian students in our university. There is increased competition from other markets such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Japan. In combination, these factors make India an increasingly competitive market to operate in.
Answer from the Chinese regional manager UOB: The percentage of international students in the UK that come from China is 13.5% higher than in any other country. China is a also a major source of foreign students for key countries that traditionally recruit students from overseas including US, Japan, Australia, and, Republic of Korea. China has been the largest country for providing international students for higher education in the UK including UOB.
Question 2: The role played by the International Office in the marketing of higher education?
Answer from the Indian regional manager UOB:The International Office is responsible for co-ordinating recruitment from India for the University. We have a regional team (South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa) comprising Regional Manager, International Officer and Administrator and we work closely with two colleagues in the India office in New Delhi. Between the two offices we co-ordinate and participate in around 30 recruitment events during the academic year throughout India. In addition, representatives from all colleges visit India regularly for recruitment purposes as well as partnership and development visits, which are co-ordinated by the Head of International Development.
The International Office is also responsible for appointing and managing agents. There are six agents working for us, managing a contract strategy with applicants and office holders, and liaising with current students / student societies in India.
Answer from the Chinese regional manager UOB:The international office's role for recruiting students from China is the same as in India. Particularly, in China we have a Guangzhou Centre, and two offices in Beijing and Shanghai. Altogether we have 5 based locally staff, and 3 of them help with recruitment actively. They provide the reports about recruitment directly to us. They work very closely with agents and schools in China.
Question 3: Marketing techniques used by the university to attract international students from India and China for pursuing higher education in UK Universities?
Answer from the Indian regional manager UOB: Educational fairs are being organised in the important cities of India to promote awareness among the international students who plan to come to the UK.
Postgraduate taught remains the largest market segment, however, UOB has increased applicants and accepts at undergraduate and postgraduate research levels over the last one to two academic years. We have increased the level of school liaison activity in India, through participation in school fairs and visits, planning a school counsellor visit to UOB campus and encouraging academic guest lectures at Indian schools. We will continue to target the PGT market through our network of agents and through participation in exhibitions, fairs and office visits. Our increased level of co-operation and collaboration with Indian institutions will maintain and increase PGR market.
Answer from the Chinese regional manager UOB:Apart from traditional brochures at exhibitions, we also use a central CRM system to collect the data of students and follow up with them automatically. Our marketing department also has a contact strategy to get in touch with students throughout the recruitment cycle. Apart from these we promote scholarships to students. We have international postgraduate scholarships including a glorious Li Siguang scholarship which is given to the research PhD students of China specifically.
Question 4: Major factors responsible for the success of the university in marketing education overseas?
Answer from the Indian regional manager UOB:
Investment in non-recruitment activities, such as research collaboration, exchange programmes and institutional partnerships is the key to our profile in India and raises awareness for the relationship between UOB and India. Our India Office offers students and agents an additional level of support and guidance, on local time, to support core recruitment activities throughout the year. The office provide a drop in service, telephone enquiry service and co-ordinate pre-departure briefings in key cities. Our agents are the key to our success and extending our network from two to six representatives in 2011/12 has provided additional support for students and a wider geographical reach within the market.
We encourage visits to India by academic departments and these have proven to be very successful in recruitment terms.
Our new online admissions system has made the PG application process more user friendly and helped to reduce the turnaround time on applications, this is a key factor in India too.
Answer from the Chinese regional manager UOB:The University enjoys a good reputation in China and our strategic partnership with Guangzhou municipality has helped to strengthen our profile in the country which in turn has helped us a lot with recruitment. Also academics at UOB have extensive links with China. However all these engagements have helped in recruitment of Chinese students in the UK.
Question 5:Views about the services provided to students like teaching, meal system and accommodation?
Answer from the Indian regional manager UOB:Our global reputation for academic excellence is a key marketing tool and a significant factor in attracting Indian applications. Additional services, such as our Careers and Employability Centre, with dedicated international student support and the range of affordable accommodation on campus is very attractive to Indian students.
Answer from the Chinese regional manager UOB: As students have become more and more demanding nowadays, we have to provide better services to facilitate them in order to sustain our success. As mentioned by the Indian regional manager, services like helping students to improve their employability will make us more competitive, as employability is a key issue for students in today's time.
Question 6: Percentage of international students enrolled in the university for the last five years?
Answer from the Indian regional manager UOB:
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
PGR 12 (29) 16 (37) 4 (35) 11 (35) 9 (32)
PGT 83 (97) 73 (88) 98 (117) 101 (117) 66 (70)
UG 8(20) 7(19) 17(31) 12 (24) 12 (30)
Total 103 (146) 96 (144) 119(183) 124 (176) 87 (132)
In 2011, 2,369 international students were enrolled at UOB, total 4,010. Indian students make up approximately 3.5% of international students. Total (full time students only) enrolments were 9,302 in 2011, 23,132 total.
Answer from the Chinese regional manager UOB:
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
PGR 32(106) 30(90) 42(118) 57 82
PGT 250(265) 329(350) 464(499) 689 917
UG 100(256) 126(280) 168(298) 34 66
Total 382(627) 485(720) 674(915) 780 1065
Question 7:Are you planning to increase the international intake?
Answer from the Indian regional manager UOB: We have targets to increase both UG and PGR intake from India in 2012 and 2013 intakes. We envisage a smaller increase in PGT intake due to on-going visa situation.
Answer from the Chinese regional manager UOB: We are not planning to enrol more students from China as 60% of the students of our university are Chinese. But we would definitely like to maintain the share of international students from China.
Question 8: How are you planning to increase the international intake?
Answer from the Indian regional manager UOB: We will continue to work more closely with schools and agents in India, to focus and target our recruitment activities and offer increased support for applicants. It is hoped this will improve our conversion rates and lead to increase in enrolments.
Answer from the Chinese regional manager UOB:For China the objective is just not to increase the number of students but more importantly it is essential to improve the diversification of intake by level and by subject. We will continue to work with academic colleges to promote their programmes, and work with agents to diversify the intake.
Question 9: Will the new UKBA rules affect international applications in your university?
Answer from the Indian regional manager UOB:
As discussed in question 1, the changes to Tier 4 regulations had a detrimental effect on Indian applications and enrolments in 2011 and applicant data for 2012, suggests that the PGT market will not recover this year and will continue to be a challenge as long as the current regulations are in place. Other international markets have not been affected, or affected to this extent. We believe that the emphasis for Indian students on careers/employability and potential to work in the UK, coupled with very negative media reporting on the changes, has led to the pronounced downturn in enrolments. UOB has invested heavily in Careers and Employability and we hope that increased support with internships and placements, as well as graduate jobs in UK and India, will help to address this.
Answer from the Chinese regional manager UOB: The trend that is prevalent among the Chinese students is that they generally go back to their home countries after finishing their course in the UK universities. The culture of post study work is not very common unlike the Indian students as they go and join their family businesses in China. The new UKBA rules have not impacted the admissions of Chinese students unlike other countries.
Questionnaire 2:The second questionnaire is conducted with the programme instructor of International business in the business school of the University of Birmingham. The world has become a global village by engaging itself in trade and commerce. Most of the students are doing their degrees in business and management. The business schools of foreign universities are always enrolled with a lot international students especially from the countries of India and China. As we know that most of the international students pursue higher education degrees in the business and management sector, so we have tried to analyse the position of international students from China and India in the business school of the University of Birmingham.
Question 1: Views about higher education in the developing countries of India and China?
Answer from the Programme Instructor of Business School UOB: The best universities in China and India are excellent. The problem is given the number of universities, how do we classify? The top 50 universities in China are highly reputed and the next 50 are considered reliable. The inconsistencies rise as we keep getting low in number.
India is the same and top state universities are excellent. The private universities are alsoconsidered to be good. India has some of the best management institutes in the world namely Indian institutes of Management (IIM). Overall, we can say that higher education has become very popular and demanding in India and China.
Question 2: International students studying in the business school of the