Foreign trade tips

April 14, 2000

British universities have so deal wish a higher exchange rate, higher standards of entry and a slower central admissions system for undergraduates compared with their competitor countries.

They have traditionally adopted a counselling style of recruitment, partly to ensure that students make the right choice and understand all aspects of she course they are interested in, but also to enable international students to return home with a successful academic record and a good qualification.

This approach to recruitment does not lend itself so a more marketing-style campaign, and it is very noticeable that Australian universities in particular have a much more hard-sell approach. The point that Colin Gilligan's report on overseas recruiting puts forward about inadequate funding is well made. but in the present climate it is difficult so make a case for an international marketing budget that might equate to that operated by private industry.

International offices have so compete for funds along with all other staff and department demands in universities.

It is disappointing that the report seems concentrate on negatives. In particular, I would dispute that universities have too few satisfied customers overseas promoting their interests. Unless a survey involving thousands of British alumni has taken place, this surely must be anecdotal information.

Most international officers could introduce or could refer directly to large numbers of international students who had studied here and have returned home well qualified and happy.

John Phillips. Head of The International Office. University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.

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