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An international student strategy helps NZ university grow revenue and impact

Our Work | Case Study

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Our client was one of New Zealand’s largest universities, with approximately 30,000 students across multiple campuses.

The university’s market share was slipping

About one-fifth of the university’s revenue came from international tuition fees in 2019, but by 2021 it had lost market share. Many staff were focused on teaching domestic students and unsure of the value that international students and internationalisation could provide.

The university sought our help to increase its international education footprint by developing an international strategy and a go-to-market plan for India, as well as advising it on partnerships.

We developed a strategy to bring the university together around internationalisation

We developed an international strategy that articulated what and how the university aimed to achieve in international education, including which countries it would target. We articulated the value of internationalisation to strengthen a positive staff view.

We combined market analysis and perspectives from Nous’ international network of education experts with engagement with university leaders, faculty and function representations to refine a strategy that represented institution-wide views. This included engaging with Māori and Pasifika university staff, which highlighted the need for the strategy to respond to the university’s global responsibilities to these students, staff and communities.

To support the university to implement our strategy, we reviewed the institution’s partnerships to focus efforts on a smaller number of high-value partnerships and a market plan for India that outlined recommendations to rapidly increase recruitment from this market.

The new strategy has built momentum for the university’s internationalisation efforts

Internationalisation requires a truly pan-university effort to achieve change. The strategy has helped the university’s International Office bring the university together around a vision and agreed priorities and actions to progress internationalisation.

The university is implementing an outcomes-focused approach to developing international partnerships and putting in place recommendations from the India market plan to support it to increase its market share from India.

What you can learn from this project

Achieving significant growth in international student recruitment requires university leaders to build institutional support, necessitating strong communication of international students’ value.

As competition for international student recruitment grows, a focused international strategy that articulates a unique value proposition and clear institutional priorities becomes more vital.

Universities are increasingly seeking – and are sought after – as partners internationally: principled decision-making will ensure that the value delivered is greater than the maintenance cost.