Link to abstract
Presenter: Aftab Dean, Leeds Metropolitan University
Aftab Dean has been researching aspects of university branding, international student recruitment and their experience for a number of years and has compiled a large amount of compelling data and expertise in this field. I last attended a presentation that he gave at a Business School promoted conference back in September 2010.
Aftab was pleased to be able to report on a study that he had recently completed that was based on the successful recruitment and enhancement of learning for Indian students from which he has been able to draw some significant conclusions. This work started with his involvement in reviewing NSS data from an international student perspective on behalf of the HEA. He presented a huge amount of data as graphs and tables that looked very interesting, but were difficult to assimilate in this time restricted presentation.
One of the most interesting aspects of this study is that Aftab was able to look not only at India as a single entity, but had broken the country down into 4 geographical regions that he discovered had their own identifiable separate needs and concerns in respect of their higher education experience. This would allow his university to both target recruitment more accurately as well as tailor the student experience to suit these needs.
The presentation covered important issues such as the time it takes for international students to acclimatise to a UK-based institution. He noted the impact of growing competition and the development of India’s own higher education system, combined with the UK border agencies recent stance on student visas.
In addition Aftab had identified some significant ‘pull factors’ that explain why international students chose a British based education and broken these down into 9 catagories (all beginning with C). Perhaps unsurprisingly the most important category was 'Career' that headed up the key concern from a wide range of responses. Further to this he had identified some significant differences between the learning preferences of home and international students, with the former preferring individual tasks and assignments and with the latter expressing a preference for group work and the use of social media as an education tool. Both groups wanted the programmes to make use of YouTube and visual media within the curriculum.
In conclusion Aftab has evolved an enhancement process for working with international students called M.A.T.E.S. This is an holistic approach that incorporates the roles of Market, Advertising, Training, Engagement and Support in the consideration of an international student’s entire higher education experience.
Mike Seignior, CLTE