Case Study Scenario
You have recently been appointed as Marketing Manager by Kaplan Singapore and one of your main objectives lies in implementing a sales management plan with the key objective of enhancing Kaplan competiveness towards attraction of international students for Kaplan suite of higher learning programmes.
Analyse the sales process and the strategic elements of sales management with reference to Kaplan Singapore.
Propose a sales management plan associated with territory and key account management of Kaplan Singapore.
Demand for higher education worldwide is unprecedented and it is widely acknowledged that education is the key to individual progress in life. The OECD estimates that a country needs a participation rate of 40-50% in higher education for sustainable economic growth.
The number of students around the globe enrolled in higher education is forecast to more than double to 262 million by 2025. Nearly all of this growth will be in the developing world, with more than half in China and India alone and it’s been forecasted that the number of students seeking study abroad could rise to eight million – nearly three times more than today.
Traditional source countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Middle East are developing their own capacities to offer education to outsiders. Singapore hopes to attract 150,000 foreign students by 2015, Malaysia 100,000 by 2020 and Jordan 100,000 by the same year1.
According to the Y2000 APEC Services Group, the global export market for higher education is about US$30 billion. There are already more than 1.8 million international students who pursue their higher education abroad globally (UNESCO, 2000) and about 45% of these students come from Asia with China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia and India identified as the top 5 source countries.
Higher education institutions now operate in a global market and trends in the globalisation of higher education are readily apparent in Asia Pacific, characterised by a degree of intra, inter and extra-regional mobility of tertiary students. Globally, the number of students attending institutions outside their country of origin tripled between 1985 and 2008 with Asians accounting for 52% of all students studying abroad worldwide 2.
The Asia-Pacific zone is the largest of the Unesco regions, containing over three billion people, or 60 percent of the world’s population. Its diverse geography, population, income and culture are reflected in the size and types of higher education institutions operating in the region. However, demand for higher education is rising nearly everywhere, regardless of income or culture. Growing affluence in the region and the increasing numbers of 18- to 23-year-olds are fuelling this demand – with the exception of Australia, Korea and Japan, because of the low birth rates in those countries3.
The demand for quality higher education is expected to increase significantly, especially with a growing middle class in the region, contributed by growing economic prowess. For instance, China’s education market has witnessed significant growth in
THE QUEST FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
the past 15 years. The number of students in higher education will increase from 11 million to 16 million by 2005 (China News Net, Beijing, August 2001). In China, there is an estimated shortage of 3.2 million places at the university level (Straits Times, 12 December, 2011)4.
Traditionally, Asian society sets a high premium on education and significant investments in education arise from the rapidly expanding middle classes in the Asian countries, in particular countries deemed ‘emerging markets’ with their increasing disposable incomes fulfilling the desires to invest in overseas education for their children. The demand for higher education in the markets of Southeast Asia, East Asia and the Pacific accounts for 31% of global education enrolments, estimated to approach 85 million students by 2025.
Across Asia, many countries are investing increasing amounts of resources into improving the quality of their higher education offer and internationalising their study and academic bodies. The Singapore government has recently put emphasis on building capacity in education as an engine of economic growth through transforming Singapore into an education hub for the region via achievement of its Global Schoolhouse project which aims to attract 150,000 international students to Singapore by 20155.
More and more countries are competing for students from the same group of countries which are often within their own (Asia Pacific) region and are often the same target recruitment countries of the big players in the recruitment market. In addition, several countries aim to become top destination countries for higher education hubs i.e. Dubai, Malaysia and Singapore that will help raise their international economic competiveness. The Singapore government has implemented several measures for sharpening its competitive edge and reputation as a “provider of quality education” (Annex 1).
Global competition for students will intensify in the future and competition take place at global, regional and national levels. Since students’ international mobility patterns are not fixed, countries that currently manage to attract a high number of students may see their attractiveness being eroded. Continued efforts to recruit and attract students are necessary as are high-quality education programmes and support mechanisms for international students, since student choices for study destinations are based on the perceived added value of students abroad in a particular country or specific institution.
Singapore is promoting its higher education internationally based on “East Meets West” formula which has become an effective marketing tool. Given the potpourri of ethnic Chinese, India and Malay communities in the city state, students from Singapore’s more established Asian markets (China, India and Indonesia in particular but also ASEAN member countries Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam) find in Singapore a different yet familiar abode. Students from outside Asia similarly view Singapore as attractive because of its English-speaking community, safe living environment and perception as the most “Western” of Asian countries in socio-economic terms6.
Singapore has several competitive advantages that position it well as a global education hub. These include a strategic geographical location, reputation for educational excellence, a vibrant business hub which presents opportunities for institutional-industry collaboration and a safe and cosmopolitan environment7.
The education sector’s contribution to Singapore gross domestic product doubled from 1.9 per cent or $3 billion in 2002 to 3.8 per cent or about $8 billion in 2007 and the government plans to increase this to 5 per cent in five years. In 2008, there were about 45,000 international students here and the Government hopes this number will grow to 150,000 by 2015 as part of its Global Schoolhouse vision. One notable initiative involves setting up of operations by world-class institutes that include Curtin University, University of Chicago and INSEAD. Singapore’s private education sector is governed by the Council for Private Education (CPE) (Annex 2), a statutory board established under the Private Education Act sanctioned with legislative power to regulate private education institutions (PEIs). CPE (http://www.cpe.gov.sg/), oversee the EduTrust Certification Scheme, a pre-requisites for private education institutions who seek to enrol international students for qualifying of Student Passes issuance as stipulated by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
As Singapore marches on to beco
ming the regional education hub it set out to be in 2002, several established names in the private education industry here have plans to expand so they can cater to higher demand for their programmes. Schools such as Kaplan, PSB Academy and James Cook University said their enrolments have increased steadily. The number of students in these schools – boosted mainly by foreign students keen to study here – has grown between 30 per cent and 50 per cent over the past three to four years 8.
Company Profile Kaplan Higher Education Singapore is part of Kaplan, Inc., a subsidiary and the largest division of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).Kaplan in Singapore is made up of 2 main divisions – Kaplan Higher Education and Kaplan Learning Institute. Through collaboration and partnership with prestigious Australian, European and American universities, Kaplan Higher Education offers career-oriented academic programmes designed to provide both domestic and international students with the skills necessary to qualify them for employment in various fields. Registered as a department of Kaplan Learning Institute in Singapore, Kaplan Financial is a leading provider of professional qualifications in accountancy and finance in the UK and Asia. Programme offerings include the preparatory courses for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Through its offering of quality professional qualification, Kaplan Financial has trained thousands of students from Singapore, China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, India and other countries throughout Asia. Kaplan Singapore has 36 fully equipped classrooms in the Orchard campus and another 19 in Wlkie Edge campus (source: http://www.kaplan.com.sg/).
In 2012, Kaplan Singapore was voted as the most preferred PEI and was found to be exceptionally popular for its Bachelor Degree courses from an independent research project commissioned by JobsCentral Group. Kaplan gathered 33.2% of the votes from 5476 respondents, beating arch rival SIM GE with more than 500 votes in 2 main categories: rankings of Singapore’s private education institutes and learning preferences findings of the general population aged 15 and above (jobscentral.com.sg/survey/learning/2012/download_path.php).
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