Strategic Alliances in the marketing of higher education: a framework for enduring success

“As with any organization wishing to internationalize its products or services, higher education institutions (HEIs) are faced with a multitude of cultural, financial and administrative challenges. Given that HEIs are quite labor-intensive, generally have low operating margins and find it relatively difficult to achieve economies of scale,

this problem is exacerbated. It often becomes difficult to justify the high cost of international travel to recruit only a few students from one country. The obvious solution is to market within a few countries that can send large numbers of students. However, this diminishes the variety of nationalities in the classroom and the overall learning experience for all those involved. Such lack of diversity has been a source of complaint from many professors faced with ‘international classes’ that contain only one or two nationalities.”

“A potential solution is for HEIs to share their costs and engage in co-branding and joint promotion of their programs. This would allow them to diversity their marketing activities into different regions and bring more diverse students into the classroom. This in turn will enhance the international learning experience for students and faculty. It has the added benefit of responding to the requirements of ranking organisations and accreditation bodies that often judge the quality of a business school by the scale and scope of its international student body.”

“Within industry, the number of strategic alliances has grown considerably over the past 25 years (Meier, 2011: 1). According to a study by Accenture and quoted in Lambe et al. (2002: 141) alliances “account for anywhere from 6% to15% of the market value of a particular company.” That HEIs should wish then to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation is a mere reflection of the rapid development of “alliance capitalism” (Dunning, 1995: 461) that has taken place in companies since the 1980s. However, cooperation of this kind brings a fresh set of issues to be addressed.”

Key words: strategic alliances, business schools, international students, marketing, cooperative competition, diversity.

For full article: Click here

Thomas, M. (2014). Strategic Alliances in the marketing of higher education: a framework for enduring success, Journal of Strategic Management Education, Vol. 10, ISSN: 1649-3877. 

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