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Is studying an MBA worth it?

UCW releases report exploring the power of data in international education

trio of students walking together and laughing

University Canada West released a new report on February 17 examining the power of data in international education.

University Canada West (UCW) recently partnered with IDP Connect, a world leader in student recruitment, to create an unprecedented project for a group of UCW’s international MBA students.

Students analyzed IDP Connect’s real-time data, as well as secondary research, to develop a presentation imagining themselves in the role of strategic advisors to a fictional university.

Their insights, outlined in the white paper – MBA Case Study: The Power of Data in International Education – provide fascinating ideas for educators in Canada and elsewhere to consider when recruiting in overseas markets today.

“As far as I know, nobody has conducted an MBA study based on international education, and having MBA students analyze the problems faced by their peers was very meaningful,” said Cyndi McLeod, CEO of Global University Systems Canada, UCW’s parent company. “The work is important. COVID-19 has had a massive impact on international students and educators… There is an urgent need to help students find the right programs for their goals and to support them – and their families – during these uncertain times.”

International education is a global, multi-billion-dollar industry that positively impacts several other sectors, including tourism and hospitality. Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, more than 5.3 million students studying abroad, up from two million in 2000. The pandemic with the resulting lockdowns and travel restrictions disrupted the growth trajectory of international student mobility. Two years later, with vaccination efforts in full swing and many borders opening up, students around the world are once again eager to fulfill their dreams of studying abroad.

But where will they decide to go? That is the question on the minds of educators everywhere.

IDP research conducted throughout the pandemic found that international students who might have once considered only one destination or institution are now more open to other options.

There is a new set of factors influencing their decision-making.

UCW MBA students in the Capstone Consulting/Innovation Graduate Project analyzed data and research with three goals in mind – determining Canada’s competitive position relative to other leading study abroad destinations; exploring prospective students’ evolving motivations for studying abroad; and developing a successful branding and recruitment campaign for a fictional university.

“We thought, ‘Who better to explore the challenges and opportunities facing university recruiters and admissions staff than international students already enrolled in an overseas graduate program?’ UCW’s MBA students not only have a keen business aptitude, but also a unique and informed perspective about what matters most to international students,” said Mike Henniger, Senior Consultant, IDP Connect. “They took IDP’s robust real-time data and paired it with a student’s understanding of what works and what doesn’t in recruitment campaigns.”

The full white paper is available to download on UCW’s website at ucanwest.ca/media/publications/power-of-data-in-international-education.

Published on Feb. 17, 2022.