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International MBAs buck recruitment trends

A survey by education marketing specialists CarringtonCrisp has revealed that while the US and UK continue to show signs of decline on the global student recruitment stage, their international business education markets remain attractive offerings.

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Ireland is seen as one of the easier nations in which to pass visa requirements

The answers given by more than 1,200 international business students from nearly 75 nations shed a light on the way business students think about mobility and their destination’s positive and negative attributes.

“The study reveals a wide range of factors that contribute to a country’s reputation as a study destination”

Despite global politics affecting the international student market, and the declaration by IDP’s Lyndell Jacka at NAFSA 2018 that “uncertainty is our new normal”, the US and UK remain at the top of students’ choice destinations in 2018.

The percentage of students whose first choice was the US did dip by 5%, potentially due to factors such as political situation, but it remained top with 66%.

The UK, however, gained popularity by 8% compared to the same results of 12 months ago.

Andrew Crisp, the report’s author, explained that political climate may be worrying for professionals in the international education sector, but students pay attention to various metrics and politics may not always be the most important.

“While major events, like the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum, play a part in influencing student decisions, the study reveals a wide range of factors that contribute to a country’s reputation as a study destination,” he said.

Of these other statistics or impressions, the ‘Business of Branding’ report measures the perceived expensiveness of the destination; how welcoming to international students the society is; how easy the visa system is to navigate; and how attractive the lifestyle is.

Unsurprisingly the US is rated as the most expensive by perception, but it makes up for this with a high score in the “sense of adventure” stakes (78% of respondents marked it first) , beating the challenge of Australia by a single point, and its antipodean neighbours New Zealand by a further two.

The US and Canada also perform well in the lifestyle marks, but it is the UK which comes top of that category with 76% of respondents picking it as their first choice. Conversely, India and China score the lowest marks in this category.

Although Ireland did not impress especially, there is a reminder in the scores that “business schools… need to capitalise on the positive perceptions of their country,” according to Crisp, as the Republic is seen as one of the easier nations in which to pass visa requirements, while also being seen as one of the cheaper options for mobile study.

But “[business schools] also need to be aware of the negative aspects, ready to counter those with other messages, or go further and take action with other schools to try and address them,” Crisp added.

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