Strategy Essay

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A Grounded Theory Study into the Factors Influencing the Choice-Making Process of Indian Students when Selecting an International University for Graduate Studies Anne O’Brien, University of Delft, Holland Paul Webb, Steve Page & Tony Proctor, University of Chester, UK Abstract Universities operate in an increasingly competitive market place facing new and complex socio-technical and economical challenges. For many universities international student recruitment is desirable and necessary for survival. Universities knowledge in this area is often an imperfect tool as the changing environment and diversity of cultures with which it must interact challenge previous assumptions and common wisdom. The overall goal of this study is to identify those factors responsible for influencing Indian students’ choice of international university for graduate studies. The results are based on a longitudinal study that was carried out using the Grounded Theory research method. This qualitative methodology provides a good framework for rigorous and relevant research of emerging phenomena in student mobility. Primary data consisted of unstructured interviews, focus groups and questionnaire surveys among participants of the sample population. The literature was used as a source of secondary data. A narrative style and thick description were used to report the research findings. Four major influencers emerged from the analysis, which is referred to as programme content, international reputation, funding and job prospects and quality. Drawing together these findings the study examines the implications for recruiting graduate students from India and reveals that there are a number of ways in which the university can influence the choice-making process. The results clearly provide a sound basis for future study. Background The inability of the indigenous

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