(Ad)ventures in Global Education - A study on how international branch campuses in China recruit Chinese students

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för företagande och ledning

Abstract: Increased mobility of students and universities worldwide has resulted in a global education market, in which knowledge and financial resources are transferred across borders. One trend in the internationalization of higher education is to establish international branch campuses (IBCs), in which a university offers a degree abroad by collaborating with a domestic university. In China, where demand for higher education is increasing, this trend is becoming evident. By conducting qualitative interviews with seven IBCs in China, this thesis studies how IBCs in China recruit Chinese students. The empirical findings are compared with theory on student recruitment within enrollment management, which assumes that universities want to control their student enrollments by performing for-profit marketing strategies. The research finds that effort in first hand is put on improving the name-recognition of the IBCs, since the IBCs offer a new educational product in China. Furthermore, the IBCs need to recruit through a national college entrance system, controlled by the Chinese Ministry of Education, which limits the freedom of controlling the size of the student body. To overcome this, interviews and other quality checks can be included in the recruitment to be able to affect the characteristics of the student body. To conclude, the findings imply that the studied IBCs share the market-centered view that enrollment management builds on. However, the institutional resources are not found to be as systematically used as enrollment management theory propose, which might be a result of differences in cultural backgrounds of the partners cooperating the IBC.

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