A study by Stephen Connelly and Dennis Murray
Using data from the Australian Government’s Higher Education Information Management System (HEIMS) we examined enrolments of international students at Australian universities in two postgraduate business courses, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and the Master of International Business (MIB).
Onshore and offshore enrolments over a three-year period (2011-2013) were examined. This is the most up to date data, 2014 data not being available until mid 2015.
The analysis focused on those Australian universities offering the two designated courses. Data allowed for analysis in numerous ways, including as a time series. However, for initial purposes, findings are presented for 2013 only.
Selected charts and tables are presented in this summary of findings. Sets of charts and tables were prepared for the Australian universities as a whole as well as for the Group of Eight (Go8), Australian Technology Network (ATN), Innovative Research Universities (IRU) and Regional Universities Network (RUN). The full sets are not shown here for reasons of brevity. Substantial tabulated data form the basis of the analysis.
The analysis was framed in two main ways:
1. Benchmarking all Australian universities offering the designated courses (each course examined separately)
2. Benchmarking universities within designated network groups (Go8, ATN, IRU, RUN).
Benchmarking measured data according to two criteria:
1. Proportion of enrolled international students within each course compared with the national average and with the average for the designated university group;
2. Market share represented by enrolled international students compared with the national average and with the average for the designated university group.
The findings reveal substantial differences in international student enrolments among Australian universities for these two courses. Equally, within like groupings of universities, where greater uniformity in enrolment patterns might have been expected, there are significant differences between universities.
Master of Business Administration (MBA) findings
In 2013, a total of 16,301 students were enrolled in Australian MBA courses, on and offshore. 6,949 or 42.6% were international students. 56.7% of those 6,949 international MBA students were enrolled onshore, the rest in offshore courses. 29.9% of onshore MBA students were international.
Onshore MBA analysis
39 Australian universities reported enrolments of international students in MBA courses in 2013. 6 universities had international MBA student numbers exceeding 50% of total MBA enrolments. Federation University led the pack on this basis with 77.9% of its MBA students being international, followed by the University of Southern Queensland (75.9%), Charles Darwin University (71.3%), James Cook University (71.1), Flinders University (66.7%) and Central Queensland University (53.4%).
The majority of universities however enrolled proportions of international students well under the average. Enrolment numbers as well as enrolment proportions were tiny in some cases.
Table 1: Proportion of International Students in Onshore MBA Courses, ATN Universities 2013
16 Australian universities offer the MBA offshore, enrolling a total of 3,008 international students in 2013.
Table 2: International Students in Offshore MBA Courses, Australian Universities 2013
Master of International Business (MIB) findings
In 2013, a total of 2,265 students were enrolled in Australian MIB courses on and offshore. 2,056 or 90.8% were international students. 71.6% of those 2,056 international MIB students were enrolled onshore, the rest in offshore courses. 87.6% of onshore MIB students were international. The MIB is a course of considerable interest to international students.
Onshore MIB analysis
15 Australian universities reported enrolments of international students in onshore MIB courses in 2013 (Chart 1). 7 universities (Edith Cowan, La Trobe, Macquarie, Canberra, Newcastle, Wollongong and Sunshine Coast) had proportions of international students in the MIB at or above the average, with Newcastle having the highest proportion (96.8%).
Offshore MIB Analysis
Four Australian universities (Curtin, La Trobe, Monash and Wollongong) offer the MIB offshore, exclusively for international students. No Australian students are enrolled offshore in the MIB.
Table 3: International Students in Offshore MIB Courses, Australian Universities 2013
Dennis Murray and Stephen Connelly
Over the past three years the authors have conducted benchmarking analyses of enrolments of international students at course level for a number of Australian universities, as an aid to performance review and identifying opportunities for growth. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The data analysis has been based on reports specially commissioned from the Commonwealth of Australia, drawing on the Australian Government’s Higher Education Information Management System (HEIMS). The accuracy of the analysis is entirely dependent on the data as submitted by the universities. As users of HEIMS know, there is sometimes considerable variation in the way that universities report their data.
For example, names for the Master of Business Administration and for the Master of International Business courses may vary between universities and are sometimes reported by universities under different HEIMS course codes. For the purpose of the present analysis the researchers investigated courses only with the names “Master of Business Administration” and “Master of International Business. These were the great majority of the courses and the great majority of associated enrolments appearing in the relevant HEIMS reports. Courses having specialised names (e.g. Master of Business Administration (Health Services Management); “International Master of Business Administration”; “Executive Master of Business Administration”) were excluded. Also excluded were joint degree programs (e.g. “Master of Financial Analysis/Master of Business Administration”; “Master of Law (Juris Doctor)/Master of Business Administration”; Master of International Business and Master of Commerce).
Finally, HEIMS reports do not provide fine grade data for enrolments less than 5. A small number of enrolments that were reported as “>5” have been averaged at “2” for the purposes of the analysis.