As part of our quest for more qualitative research about international students’ motivations, we visited one of the key student recruitment markets – India. Did we learn something new about the way Indian students select universities abroad? Certainly. Did we confirm some of the stereotypes that already existed? Somewhat.
Let’s start with a stereotype that we have found some evidence for…
1. Indian students’ parents are actively involved in their educational and career choices.
Although this is still the case, it would seem the attitude here is shifting. A number of students have told us that their parents will actively and sometimes inevitably give them advice on what to study and which countries/universities to target. What’s unclear is just how much influence this actually has on their decisions. When we probed students further on this topic, they would often say that they feel they have to consider their family’s views even if they don’t always agree or feel they have the most relevant experience to be providing advice on the matter but would then seek advice from elsewhere.
The pilot edition of the Rankings applies QS’s new innovative approach, intending to take the discussions on employability rankings to the next level. Stanford leads this first edition; more than 20 new institutions place in the top 50.
Employability has been a hot topic for the Higher Education industry for years. With far easier access to a far broader selection of universities, it became an even more relevant aspect of students’ decision making. QS has been measuring employability in all of its rankings, with our Employer Reputation Survey running for over 20 years. But given the public’s special interest in this topic, it was time to expand the analysis, step out of the comfort zone, and create a new, specific ranking.
The primary aim of the QS Graduate Employability Rankings is to help students make informed choices for their educational futures based specifically on the ability of their chosen university to help them succeed in the employment market. Thorough research conducted over the course of 13 months saw consultation with, and input from, academics, university representatives, companies, students and alumni. This year’s experimental methodology was extensively refined throughout the year, and we are delighted to have introduced – for the first time ever in our rankings – unique metrics such as graduate employment rate and university partnerships with employers.
I gave a speech on 15th September 2015 to Graduate Recruiters Network to a group of employers on the latest global salary trends of masters graduates recruitments. They asked me to summarise key points I said at the meeting. Here it is.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my amazing QS colleagues especially Benjamin Clayton and Susan Gatuguta Gitau whose great support and fantastic work has enabled this major research piece possible.
After the major fall in salary levels between 2013 and 2014, 2015’s responses have shown signs of recovery. While salaries have not risen across the board – Eastern European salaries fell slightly, while Asia Pacific saw a major drop – the overall trend is one of growth, which should give students working on their postgraduate degrees a lot to be optimistic about.
Asia Pacific’s salary drop was especially dramatic considering it had been rising since 2012. It is currently at its lowest point since 2011. Eastern Europe’s salaries have declined for the second year in a row, and 2015 is its lowest salary level so far. Africa & Middle East has broken out of its own two-year decline and is growing again, while Latin America and Western Europe have recovered from their 2014 slump. Salaries in the US & Canada, on the other hand, are on a two-year streak of growth, and are at their highest point yet.
According to a study published by the Academic Cooperation Association, written by Bernd Wächter and Friedhelm Maiworm, the number of English-Taught Programmes (ETPs) at universities in non-English-speaking European countries has more than tripled between 2007 and 2014. Perhaps just as remarkably, they have increased tenfold since 2001.
Data and correspondence show that the rise in ETPs and English as a Method of Instruction (EMI) is set to continue not just in Europe, but around the world – what does this mean for higher education, and academia as a whole?
Studying abroad is a wonderful, professionally and personally enriching experience. It’s no wonder it’s becoming increasingly popular, with numbers going up from 2 to 4 million students in just the last decade. But what is it students are looking for overseas?
Just in March we interacted with over 500 students from Italy, France, Moscow and UK, with the intention to find out what they value in a university. We were particularly intrigued to see if there’ll be any variation by country.
This is what we found:
For universities both aspiring and elite, having international students on the books is an excellent way to build up their global reputation, draw in a wider pool of talent and, of course, bring in extra revenue. As you might expect, there is a lot of competition for recruiting international students, especially among universities with a smaller international profile. This has resulted in the widespread use of student recruitment agents, who bring interested students to universities and guide them through the application process in return for commission. Alongside this ‘soft’ help, the agent’s commission is sometimes taken out of a student’s tuition fees, providing a discount for students and more of a ‘hard’ incentive for them to use an agent.
Of course, where there’s money to be made and prestige to be gained, there’s always the risk of impropriety by one or more parties…
We were celebrating the 10-year anniversary of QS World University Rankings® last September, marking 10 editions of one of the most sought-after rankings in the world. Who’s interested? Academics, university leadership, media organisations, governments – and, of course, students.
Whilst it may be evident that rankings are growing in popularity and influence (QS is certainly not the only organisation to produce rankings either) and although we know millions of students consult the rankings every year, it is unclear how they use them and just what the impact is. Given the primary audience we compile our rankings for is prospective international students, we set off on a research project to answer these questions.
This new report initiated by the QS Intelligence Unit, unambiguously titled ‘How Do Students Use Rankings?’, explores student motivations when selecting a university, with a view to better understanding the role rankings play in the journey from being a perspective student to becoming a graduate.
• How important is the rank of an institution compared with other factors such as course specification, location and student experience?
• Why study abroad and in an internationally recognised institution?
• How are you choosing what and where to study?
These are some of the questions we asked the students we met at QS international education fairs. The trends presented in the report are primarily based on a series of 11 focus groups held in London, Paris, Milan, Rome and Moscow, involving a total of 71 prospective students. We additionally ran a survey, collecting 519 responses, which allowed us to provide a balanced perspective based on a mix of qualitative and quantitative data.
Our findings were enlightening, yet completely in line with what one would expect to be on a prospective student’s mind. Whilst students shared a variety of ways in which they use the rankings and a wide range of priorities, when we pushed for the ‘absolute’ driving motivation, they overwhelmingly gave the same answer…
The first-ever Indian Students Mobility Report 2015, released by M.M Advisory Services reveals a renewed growth in the Indian student market, with student outflows surpassing China for the first time. The new report looks into Indian student mobility trends to the main English-speaking countries – the Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and United States. These account close to 85% of the total outbound student mobility from India.
China saw a growth rate of 8% in student numbers to the five English-speaking countries between 2013-14, India drew a higher growth rate at 10%. There were over 300,000 students from India in 2014, however this figure still lags behind China’s 650,000 Students. Nonetheless, growth in the Indian market is a welcome change to the slump experienced over the past 4-5 years. The report further estimates the international students market in India is currently valued over $4.5bn, strengthening its position in the student mobility market.
Source: Indian Students Mobility Report
According to the firm, with the exception of the United Kingdom, every other country has seen more students go from India this year than previously. This could perhaps be attributed to the strict visa rules introduced in 2014.
The report, examining trends since 2005, was prepared using statistics and data from government departments in various receiving countries including the US’s Institute of International Education, the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
On 11th March 2015, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit met Jim O’Neill, ex Chairman Goldman Sachs Asset Management, father of the term “BRIC”. They enjoyed an interesting discussion on the QS BRICS University Ranking.
About the Conference
This is the 3rd year of the annual China Business Conference, oragnised by the China-Britain Business Council. This year, it attracts 500 participants, most of leading business leaders who are working on the Chinese market. More than 40 topical speakers have been invited from McKinsey, Alibaba, Arup, UK and PRC Government, Oxford University, just to name a few. The event was supported by CBI, London & Partners, British Chambers of Commerce, Commercial Section of the Chinese Embassy, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, The UK Chinese Business Association.
Key topics cover:
Education, Innovation & Entrepreneurship
The Chinese Consumer
Visiting Britain – The Experiential Economy
Jim O’Neill on the Chinese Economy
Jim O’Neill is previously the chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. He is one of the world’s most famous economists, who is best known for coining the term BRIC, which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China—the four rapidly developing countries that have come to symbolise the shift in global economic power away from the developed G7 economies.
Jim gave a keynote speech titled “Growth & China: Quality vs Quantity”. He seems to be very optimistic about the Chinese economy.
He argued that the slightly slowed Chinese economy is not a bad thing that might have concerned some. Instead, he argue that the Chinese economy currently stands at 7% GDP growth annually is mainly because “the Chinese government want its economy to slow down”. “The Chinese government is pursuing quality as opposed to quantity of growth”.
The Chinese economy has already slowed down in the past decade. However,”China’s economic growth hasn’t slowed as much as I predicted for the whole decade – yet.” And “China is the only BRIC not to disappoint”.
“Economically, at 7% growth, China creates another India every 2 years, another UK every 1 year, and another South Africa every 3 months”.
Talking about the role of the Chinese economy in the world, he pointed out that “the world economy in past 20 years has not slowed down that much than expected was directly a result of the strength of the Chinese economy”.
In conclusion, he proposes that he is very looking forward to 2016 when China would be hosting the G20 and he is keen to talk to policies makers in China to assist the sustainable development of its economy and hence the global economy.
Jim O’Neill and QS BRICS University Ranking
It was not the first time Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director of QS Intelligence Unit met Jim O’Neill. They met quite a few times before at various events. For example, 30th September 2014 Lecture with Gerard Lyons and Jim O’Neill, The New Economic and Political World Order: Challenges and Opportunities on 30th September 2014 at the 48 Group Club event.
Before his keynote speech at China-Britain Business Council China Business Conference, Jim O’Neill and Dr. Christina Yan Zhang had a discussion about the QS BRICS University Ranking.
Jim O’Neill was surprised that it was the Russian, rather than the Chinese government who sponsored the BRICS Universities Ranking! Obviously, Mr. BRICs believed that China was the one that performed best among the BRICS countries and ideally, they would be the one to sponsor a regional rankings like this.
Jim O’Neill was very pleased to read the QS BRICS University Rankings and happily took a photo holding the ranking supplyment with Dr. Christina Yan Zhang.
(On 30th September 2014, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit met Jim O’Neill at a 48 Group Club event with Gerard Lyons spoke on The New Economic and Political World Order: Challenges and Opportunities)