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Input vs output: what our international admissions processes say about us - and why it matters Gavin Douglas Director of Student Recruitment The Robert.

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Presentation on theme: "Input vs output: what our international admissions processes say about us - and why it matters Gavin Douglas Director of Student Recruitment The Robert."— Presentation transcript:

1 Input vs output: what our international admissions processes say about us - and why it matters Gavin Douglas Director of Student Recruitment The Robert Gordon University

2 A couple of starting points The quality of a university is best measured by the kind of student it turns out rather than the kind it takes in. (Nayanjot Lahiri- University of Delhi) The asset of high moral status, the young thrusters in the marketing department may realise, is not something that can be bought (Melanie Reid, The Times, 14/10/2008)

3 “When junk was gold” Moody’s Information Services – a top global credit-rating agency Founded early 20 th century, a service paid for by investors Joined by Standard and Poor’s – “a happy duopoly” Then Fitch: “Now banks could ‘ratings shop’” 1980’s: banks introduce new bonds – and go to Moody’s et al to get them rated. Now the bank is the customer.

4 “When junk was gold” 2000: Moody’s goes public –“High pressure, fast turnaround ratings (are) the norm” 2004: Moody’s allows mortgage backed bonds to get AAA ratings 2007: software glitches discovered at Moody’s 2007: mortgage defaults start to rise August 2007: Moody’s downgrades mortgage bonds The rest is history...

5 “When junk was gold” “Our ratings and research are our only products, and our reputation is our only capital” (Moody’s, May 2008) The effect of competitive pressure.... vs

6 It’s been a time of rapid growth... Source: HESA Back to international students...

7 ...even in Aberdeen 16% 12% 15% Source: HESA Few of the government's targets were hit quite so squarely and rapidly as the prime minister's 1999 initiative to bring an extra 50,000 international students to UK universities (plus an extra 25,000 to further education colleges).

8 Typical(?) organisational behaviour during this time Use of agents –PRO: local presence, local market knowledge, student support –CON: motivations / pressures Pre-masters and foundation degrees –What undergrad’s have to do: word dissertation + viva –What pre-masters students have to do: have an awareness of how to compile a dissertation Spot offers –Conflicts of interest? Short top-ups –14 weeks to a UK Honours degree?

9 Typical(?) organisational behaviour during this time Moving international admissions in with international recruitment –PRO: increased communication –CON: issues of power and control Speed of response –Is it really a sustainable competitive advantage? Alternatives to IELTS –Vs Australia: IELTS compulsory to get visa Simple metrics: fee income / FTE’s –What gets measured gets done –No first destinations stats –External barometers replace internal controls

10 Where are you? LowConcern for marketingHigh LowConcern for student welfareHigh Sales orientation Welfare orientation Bureaucratic orientation Marketing orientation

11 The Douglas NARIC 3 step model* Immature or ignorant phase Emergent phase Full-on marketing phase * not be taken too seriously

12 Is it just me? I don’t think so... Bringing foreign students to the UK has become a major economic consideration for universities, amid fears that Britain is losing market share. (People's Daily Online As one university administrator from Manchester put it, ‘They’re recruiting them like mad here, because of the money.’ (Philo, 2007) As a proportion of the size of each student group, 2.5 times as many overseas students as home students are referred to academic tribunals. The vice-chancellor of Cambridge University has warned there is a danger of a "downward spiral" in the standard of students at UK universities... if there was a massive growth in the number of overseas students enrolled at UK universities because of financial pressures on budgets. (Times Higher)

13 Let’s just pause for a moment... Economic factors underpinning internationalistaion Factors affecting student choice External environment factors affecting UK international recruitment Factors affecting marketers (whether thrusting or not)

14 Economic factors underpinning internationalistaion

15 Factors affecting student choice “Anyone with a British education is considered well educated and rises rapidly to positions of influence in the country.” “No country in this world looks down upon a British higher education qualification. It is recognised everywhere under the sun because it is believed to be rigorous.” (Quoted in Maringe and Carter, 2007)

16 The external environment Tight security following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America had caused the visa application process to slow down, but... the US was committed to opening its doors even wider for international students (www rediff.com) The number of English-language study programmes offered by Dutch institutions of higher education is set to rise this year to (www.studyin.nl)

17 Factors affecting marketers Loss of channel control –“My course is very vast. I did not find my 1st semester very interesting, but my 2nd semester is very good. The subjects & course work is very closely related to practical work in the investment market. The university has materialised all promised academic modules.” (www.uniguru.com)

18 In summary... It’s all about quality in this business: – Students choose the UK because of a reputation for quality –Competition for students is increasing – from high quality countries too –ICT makes it easy for students to publish their views on actual quality

19 An even better summary The good reputation of British higher education (and indeed of Britain as a country of gentle people) took literally hundreds of years to establish. It is a major reason why students are attracted to the country in the first place. Such faith in our society and its institutions is a precious national asset. (Philo, 2007)

20 So what next? International student experience Partnership Increased in-country activity

21 What else needs to change? Government funding of HE (hmmm...) Metrics –Balanced –Public –To include retention / achievement of international students –To include employment outcomes Transaction or relationship - reward systems Perseverance

22 The role of NARIC Continue the good work; stay independent Talk to uni’s and understand their needs and pressures (but don’t just accept them) Understand the gold standard issues Broaden the information available to Universities

23 To sum up... The quality of a university is best measured by the kind of student it turns out rather than the kind it takes in. (Nayanjot Lahiri- University of Delhi) The asset of high moral status, the young thrusters in the marketing department may realise, is not something that can be bought (Melanie Reid, The Times, 14/10/2008)


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