Australian National University (ANU)

April 13, 2019 · Corporate

The Australian National University (ANU) is Australia’s No.1 ranked university. It attracts both domestic and international students to its undergraduate and postgraduate flexible degree options, and provides access to some of the world’s leading experts.

The business issue

ANU has identified a need to define the decision-making process of international students as they choose a study destination for science related postgraduate studies.

The ANU also needed to test awareness and identify the market demand among international students for existing and potential postgraduate programs within the College of Medical, Biology and Environment (CMBE) and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (CPMS) – Joint Colleges of Science.

Research objectives

  • Conduct environmental scanning in the key countries of Australia (onshore international), India, China and Indonesia to determine internal and external signs of opportunities and threats (for example skills shortages or employment opportunities/ agendas e.g. ‘innovation agenda’)
  • Define the decision-making process of international students in their selection of a study destination for postgraduate science degrees
  • Identify two emerging markets in Asia
  • Determine current and potential demand for science disciplines offered by CMBE/ CPMS
  • Identify demand and sustainability of existing postgraduate coursework offerings
  • Identify potential demand and sustainability for proposed offerings and more generalist master programs (e.g. Master of Science with specialisations)
  • Analyse strength of competitor offerings and gaps in market
  • Provide key demographic information about ANU’s current postgraduate cohorts
  • Test awareness of ANU brand and how we could position ourselves against our competitors
  • Test perceptions of the quality of Australian education and how this compares to the US and UK

Research methodology

Both qualitative and quantitative research with potential international students and international education agents in Australia, China, India, and Indonesia.

The qualitative research included focus groups and in-depth interviews with potential international students and education agents in-market.

The quantitative research included a survey and was conducted with potential international students in each country.

The outcome

The ANU was able to determine the international student demand for its postgraduate programs in science, and gain efficiencies by reducing the number of those programs significantly.

The marketing strategy provided to the ANU as part of the research, helped design targeted campaigns in each market and distribute them on relevant channels.

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