Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how Finnish higher education institutions communicate market differentiation on the admissions webpages of their international business and technology programmes when attempting to appeal to prospective students and distinguish themselves from other institutions. Design/methodology/approach – The sample included admissions webpages of 68 bachelor’s and master’s programmes representing both Finnish universities and universities of applied sciences. The analysis method was a qualitative content analysis. Findings – The international programmes heavily accentuated their labour market relevance in their advertising and generated strong claims regarding the future career prospects of the graduates. In addition, the programmes emphasised their pedagogical methods and international atmosphere. References to non-academic life were not observed. Research limitations/implications – The analysis was only based on text and included two study fields. Practical implications – The results of this study can be used by marketers to critically examine their own marketing differentiation efforts and promises made to students. Social implications – Finnish business and technology programmes send an unequivocal marketing message that education has an instrumental value and students are considered consumers of education. Originality/value – This study is the first comprehensive study of the marketing communication practices of international higher education programmes in Finland. Moreover, this study contributes to the study of global international market mechanisms and research on marketing communication practised by higher education institutions.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 8, 2015
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