Institution strategy in transnational higher education: late entrants in mature markets – the case of international branch campuses in the United Arab Emirates
Taylor and Francis
Market entry timing strategies have been analysed by numerous scholars, but not in the context of higher education. Although there is to some degree consensus on first mover advantages, the research on late entry has been largely inconclusive. Thus, the purpose of this research was to identify and analyse the different positioning and differentiation strategies adopted by late entry institutions to gain a competitive advantage. The sample consisted of seven campuses established by foreign universities in the UAE between 2012 and 2018. Data were collected from sources freely available in the public domain, such as institution websites, promotional materials and press releases, as well as wider media coverage. Applying a content analysis procedure to institution websites, the results revealed that although the communicated identities and strategies adopted by institutions are largely homogenous, they also implement a range of positioning and differentiation strategies. One of the strongest differentiation strategies appears not related to any part of the marketing mix but to the targeted market segment – specifically, targeting students of a specific nationality. The potential advantages for institutions of a global market segmentation strategy are discussed.
transnational higher education, international branch campuses, international strategy, late entrant advantages, differentiation, market positioning
Wilkins, S., & Huisman, J. (2021), Institution strategy in transnational higher education: late entrants in mature markets – the case of international branch campuses in the United Arab Emirates. Studies in Higher Education, 46(4), 704-720.