Outbound Mobility and Students' Decision Making Process: A Case of India

Outbound Mobility and Students' Decision Making Process: A Case of India

Rashim Wadhwa (Central University of Kashmir, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9746-1.ch003
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The author explores the decision making process of Indian students and factors influencing the decision of going abroad from the lens of prospective students. The study involves a sample of 362 prospective students from India. The author used a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews to collect data. The findings revealed that Indian students' decision making process involves four stages and differs according to the type and level of education. This study also provides insights into international student recruiters related to potential clients' choices and usage of different marketing strategies.
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Indian Scenario

India has a high proportion of outward mobile students (Pawar & Deshmukh, 2013; OECD, 2013). In recent years, India has become a leading player in the international student market as the second most important sending country after China. The number of Indian students studying abroad has steadily increased from about 150,000 in 2006 to about 250,000 in 2009 and 2010 (Powar, 2014). The recent OECD (2014) report highlighted that 45% of Indian students abroad are enrolled in the United States, 17% are in the United Kingdom, 6% in Canada and 5% are in Australia. Today, almost one in two international students in the U.S. is from China, India, or South Korea (Choudaha, 2012). The emergence of a rapidly growing economy in India has created a huge international market for western countries.

These figures are becoming so dominant that international higher education is emerging as a multinational industry. Students are therefore treated as customers or consumers by the educational institutions (Birnbaum, 2001; Simon, 2001). Emergence of “consumerist approach” in higher education has increased the need to consider students’ expectations more (Nicolescu, 2009). Moreover, higher education applicants are no longer passive consumers. They have become informed consumers who make rational choices of higher education courses and institutions (Baldwin & James, 2000). In a way it has become imperative for international education marketers to understand the consumer expectations.

In this context the present study attempts to investigate how the decision making process of prospective Indian students differs according to the type and level of education. What factors influence prospective Indian students’ choice of a particular destination country in general and particularly with reference to level to education? What factors influence choice of course and institution according to the type and level of education?

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