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Marketing Factors Influencing The Decision Making Of Asian Student

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Introduction

 
 

The purpose of this study is to understand the marketing factors that influence the decision making of Asian students to study in the Huddersfield University. The Huddersfield University is a reputed university in England and every year students from all across the world takes admission in this university. Every year a large volume of Asian students would take admission in foreign universities of America, Europe and Australia. These students take admission in foreign universities in search of quality education. The level of higher and professional education is not as good in emerging economies like India and China as in developed economies of England and USA (Tashakkori, 2009). There are lots of marketing and other factors that students have to analyze before they finalize the place to study. There would also be constraints like financial condition of the family, fee of the institute etc. that may decide the institute to which student may want to go for higher education.

Typically the marketing factors can be explained from marketing mix perspective. The marketing mix constitutes of product, price, place and promotion that majorly determines the marketing factors affecting the decision of student (Creswell, 2011). The research would be carried down to figure out the elements of marketing mix and other marketing factors that shapes the decision of Asian students to study abroad. The marketing mix as perceived by student can be discussed as below:

Product

The product in question is the Huddersfield University. The product can be termed as an excellent product as the university is doing well for so many years. The institute is known to provide quality education with practical exposure. The university also has a pool of talented professors that are committed to provide quality education to students. The research seeks to find the relative position of the Huddersfield University among different international schools that exists as option for Asian students.

Price

One of the major concerns for Asian students is the concern of price. The institute fee may appear to be heavy on students’ pockets. The university does offer certain scholarship programs but then every student cannot get the scholarship. It can be said that price could be one of the decision making factors when Asian student decide the university where they want to take admission. The research would work to figure out the inter-relation between the fee of the institute and the decision of Asian students.

Place

The University is located in West Yorkshire. It is a prime location and the ‘place’ or the location to the university provides and edge to the university. Asian students also have a charm about England and Asian students would certainly want to study in England. This, ‘place’ element of the marketing mix is a supportive marketing factor for Asian students to decide upon their options.

Promotion

Typically universities are engage on two types of promotional activities. First one is the direct promotional activity in which universities promotes the campus and the educational programs directly to students. The other is the indirect channel of promotion in which universities uses the power of social media and Face book to reach to student. The research work would identify the direct and indirect method of promotion that can be used by Huddersfield University to attract Asian students.

All the above factors would act as the base of the research work. The research would be carried out to figure out the combination of factors that actually influence the thought process and decision making of Asian student to study in Huddersfield University.

Objective

 
 

The three most important objectives of this research work can be listed as:

1.What are the marketing factors that influence the decision making of Asian students to study in the Huddersfield University?

2.What elements of marketing mix can be used to shape the decision making of Asian students when they are taking admission in foreign universities?
 
What kind of promotional activities (as part of marketing objective) should be used by foreign universities such as Huddersfield University to attract the foreign students?

All the above listed objectives would serve as the sole of the research project. The research would be carried out to complete the above listed objectives. In short it can be said that the single objective of the research work would be to identify and analyze the marketing factors that can be discussed with respect to the decision of Asian students to study and to complete their education in foreign universities.

Literature Review

 
 

A large amount of research is already being done on the factors (marketing and non-marketing) that influence the decision of Asian students. The students have to take this decision about their future at the time when they complete their school or any other professional education like engineering or diploma. Typically Asian students would go out to study higher education and professional course like MBA. (Turner, 2007, pp 113) has highlighted that price or the fee of the institution is the main factor that has a string influence on the decision of students. The authors highlighted that students may want to take admission in top class colleges but due to high fees student drop the idea and shortlist the colleges that falls into their reach.

This research work has also taken the input from the study of (Salisbury, Paulsen & Pascarella, 2012). These authors have highlighted the importance of study abroad for students from Asian countries. These authors studied the similarity among the Asian students who seek to take admission in the foreign universities. The authors also highlighted that England has become the favorable destinations of students studying abroad. This research work is inspired from the study of these authors. These authors have provided a credible source of information and knowledge. It can be said that the research work of these authors acted as the groundwork for this rsearch work.

(Mertens, 2009) has highlighted that the scholarship is also one of the important factor that can shape the decision of Asian students. The scholarship may not come directly as one of the factor but it has a huge impact on the attitude of students. Authors have also highlighted that Asian students always find it difficult to fund their tuition fee for foreign universities like Huddersfield University. One of the options for students is to get the loan for the fee but it is not always easy and feasible to get the loan. Secondly the students also have to pay a heavy amount as interest on the loan. Therefore a large volume of student relies on the scholarship. The existing Asian student in the Huddersfield University has also acknowledged that scholarship is one of the most important reasons that shape their decision.

(Waters, 2011) has highlighted an interesting point that marketing factors are not the only factors that can influence the decisions of students taking admission to foreign universities and at the same time the decisions of students is also influenced by the decision of their parents. (Niehaus, 2009) has highlighted that the universities should also focus on different elements of marketing mix in order to ensure that students from Asian countries get the value proposition out of the idea of studying in foreign universities. Authors have also highlighted that marketing factors can also be influenced by other factors that can have an impact on the decision making of the student. This other factors could be internal to student and his family. The study from literature suggests that student from Asian countries lists down the different factors that could shape their decision. These different factors are written down in a priority order. It can be said that these factors are then discussed upon within the family before any final decision about the university is made (Morgan, 2007, pp 49).

(Dunne , 2011, pp 162) has highlighted one of another model that could be used to decide upon the marketing factors influencing that persuade the decision making of Asian student. The marketing model used by these authors is the ‘service gap’ model. The authors have highlighted that Asian students wants to get admission in those foreign universities where their perceptions can be meet out. The ‘Service Gap’ model of service marketing suggests that there exists a difference between the customers’ expectations and the management perception of customer’s expectations. It is important for Huddersfield University or any other foreign university to bridge this gap. Typically the Asian students are in chance of opportunities to study in foreign universities. As far as level of education is considered, it is a common understanding that foreign universities in England, America and Australia provides a better level of education and therefore Asian students want to pursue education in the foreign universities like Huddersfield University.

Experts have said that

With the rapid pace of globalization, it is vital that all students have access to study abroad opportunities. Experiences and experience gained through studying abroad provide students with skills that are essential in today's interconnected world. The knowledge students acquire along with the academic experience will have a profound effect on their lives and careers (Murphy, 2010).”

The authors have highlighted the importance of studying abroad. The authors have also discussed the ways through which students decide upon their future. The literature suggests that many a times students are not sure about the universities that they want to take admission (Biber, 2010). Many a time Asian students would choose the university based on gut feeling and intuition. Therefore it is important to understand the complexities associated with the entire decision making process. Authors have also believed that the decision to study abroad could be the decision of the parents of students also. Therefore the marketing factors influencing the perception of parents should also be considered. The universities like Huddersfield University should be in a place to understand all the factors and players that can influence the entire decision making process of students studying abroad.

Many experts have also believed that a systematic approach of research should be followed to complete the research objectives (Teddlie, 2007, pp 78). The complete research plan and methodology that would be followed as part of this project can be highlighted as:

The above listed method of research work is a standard method of research that is being followed by researchers for different kind of research work.

Methodology

 
 

The methodology section is probably one of the most important sections of any research project. The success of this research work would be based on the ways research is carried out and the way data is collected. The methodology for this research work would include using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Traditional approach of research would suggest using one of the quantitative or qualitative methods. However the modern approach of research would suggest using mix methods of research in which a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods are used (Paulsen, 2011, pp 124). The research methodology for this project would involve a mixed method in which a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods would be used. Many definitions of mixed methods are available in the literature (e.g., see Johnson, Onwuegbuzie, & Turner, 2007). For purposes of this project, mixed methods research will be defined as a research approach or methodology as:

The essential goal of mixed methods research is to tackle a given research question from any relevant angle, making use where appropriate of previous research and/or more than one type of investigative perspective.”

A true and complete insight about the research objective can be achieved only when mixed methods are used. The mixed methods would also help to get a 360 degree view of the topic and eventually the research questions would be answered in more holistic and thorough way (Knafl, 2009, pp 209).

To complete this research project, a combination of primary and secondary research would be done. The primary research for this project would include the following activities:

The researchers would interact with the existing students of Huddersfield University from Asian background. The interaction would help the researcher to collect the raw data about the marketing factors. This data would be collected in an unbiased way and it is expected that all the respondents that would participate in this primary research would also provide an unbiased opinion.

The primary research for this project would also involve collecting the data from the aspirants who want to take admission in the Huddersfield University. This data points would help researcher to figure the marketing factors that are being considered by these students. The objective of the researcher would be to collect and interpret this data in an unbiased way.

The primary research for this project may involve collecting the data from the families of student or from the professors in the Huddersfield University.

To conduct the primary research interviews would be done with the candidates. The researcher would develop the questionnaire and this questionnaire would be shared with all the participants (Vermunt, 2012, pp 303). The respondents would be expected to take part in the interview. A ‘focus group’ study can also be done as a part of primary research to complete this research project. The existing Asian students of Huddersfield University would act as the candidate for focus group. The information collected from focus group study would also help researcher to make meaningful conclusions.

 The secondary research for this project would include the following activities:

The journal articles and the past research would serve as an excellent source of information to complete this project. Researchers would be able to get good insight about the research topic from the past researches down about the topic.

The secondary research for this project would also include collecting the data from secondary sources such as websites. The internet and different websites act as power house of information and a large amount of information is present on websites. The researcher has to be careful while using the information on websites as the information on all the websites may not be authentic and correct.

Typically the time required to complete the secondary research is less than the time required to complete the primary research (Bryman, 2006, pp 98). In this case, the advantage of primary research would be that it would help to collect the accurate data from the existing and ‘to be’ students. Also, it is less expensive to finish the secondary research as compared to primary research.

This research project would also use a live case study from the existing student of the Huddersfield University. As a part of this case study, 3 to 4 Asian students would be selected from different countries like India and China. These students would be asked to list down the marketing factors that influenced their decision when they were taking admission in foreign university. The data collected from the live case study would help researcher to make useful conclusion and recommendations for this research. The live case study would also help researcher to conclude the research work.

The data for the research work should be collected in a systematic way (Happ, 2010, pp 725). The scientific approach would be used to collect and analyze the data. The data that would be collected would be mapped with the research objective. The scientific tools and statistical method of analysis would be used to make meaningful conclusions from the data. Before any of that the collected raw data would be processed to adjust any biases.

In the concluding remark it can be said that any research work is not free of issues. There are several challenges that have to overcome as part of this research. Some of the issues are theoretical and some are ethical in nature. It is important for researchers to understand all the issues related to research. One of the important ethical issues associated with kind of research work is to maintain the anonymity of respondents and participants. The responses provided by the respondents (student in this case) should not be used for any other work other than this research work.

Timeline of study

 
 

The research is an exhaustive project and it would take a considerable amount of time to complete this research. The timeline, along with the duration for each of the activity, for this research project can be mentioned as:

WBS

Tasks

Start Date

Duration(days)

End Date

1

Literature Review

15/06/2014

60

15/08/2014

2

Data Analysis

15/06/2014

35

20/07/2014

3

Exploratory Research (Questionnaires)

21/07/2014

10

31/07/2014

4

Data Analysis (Questionnaires)

01/08/2014

20

20/08/2014

5

Exploratory Research (Interviews)

20/08/2014

45

05/10/2014

6

Data Analysis (Interviews)

22/08/2014

30

22/09/2014

7

Development of Analysis, further interviews where required.

23/09/2014

61

23/11/2014

8

Introduction, summary and editing

24/11/2014

31

24/12/2014

 

 

Time line of study

The researcher must be flexible throughout the project to apprehend the given work properly. Indeed the time plan is essential as it gives the overall view of deadlines. But there are certain situation in which a person is bounded with work and social commitments which affect the time plan and the submission deadline of project. Considering all the external work in the time plan and by making it more flexible and conciliatory the best possible results could be gain. The research plan for this research work would stick to the above timeline. There can be certain slight deviations from the duration of the above activities but on a high level the above timeline would be followed. 

References

 
 

Brooks, R., & Waters, J. (2011). Student Mobilities, Migration and the Internationalization of  Higher Education. Palgrave Macmillan.

Bryman, A. (2006). Integrating quantitative and qualitative research: How is it done? Qualitative Research, 6, 97-113.

Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2011). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hesse-Biber, S. N. (2010). Mixed methods research: Merging theory with practice. New York: Guilford.

Johnson, R. B., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Turner, L. A. (2007). Toward a definition of mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(2), 112-133.

King, R., Findlay, A., Ahrens, J., & Dunne, M. (2011). Reproducing advantage: the perspective of English school leavers on studying abroad. Globalisation, Societies and Education9(2), 161-181.

Marambe, K. N., Vermunt, J. D., & Boshuizen, H. P. (2012). A cross-cultural comparison of   student learning patterns in higher education. Higher Education,64(3), 299-316.

Mertens, D. M. (2009). Transformative research and evaluation. New York: Guilford.

Morgan, D. L. (2007). Paradigms lost and pragmatism regained: Methodological implications of combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(1), 48-76.

Morse, J., & Niehaus, L. (2009). Mixed method design: Principles and procedures. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press

O'Cathain, A.O., Murphy, E., & Nicholl, J. (2010). Three techniques for integrating data in mixed methods studies.BMJ, 341:c4587

Sandelowski, M., Voils, C. I., & Knafl, G. (2009). On quantitizing. Journal of Mixed  Methods Research, 3(3), 208-222.

Salisbury, M. H., Paulsen, M. B., & Pascarella, E. T. (2011). Why do all the study abroad students look alike? Applying an integrated student choice model to explore differences in the factors that influence white and minority students’ intent to study abroad. Research in Higher Education52(2), 123-150.

Song, M., Sandelowski, M., & Happ, M. B. (2010). Current practices and emerging trends in conducting mixed methods intervention studies in the health sciences. In: A. Tashakkori  & C. Teddlie (Eds.), Handbook of mixed methods in social & behavioral research (2nd     ed., pp. 725-747). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Teddlie, C., & Tashakkori, A. (2009). Foundations of mixed methods research: Integrating  quantitative and qualitative approaches in the social and behavioral sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Teddlie, C., & Yu, F. (2007). Mixed methods sampling: A typology with examples. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(1), 77-100.

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