With the increase in competitiveness in every aspect of life, the demand for quality education to the highest levels has increased all around the world. There was a time when only western hemisphere was famous for its high quality of higher education. However, today the developing world, particularly Asian economies have also become quite particular about their pursuit of quality education. Countries such as California, Singapore, Hong Kong and India are striving hard to ensure that their students get education at highest standards and so that they are able to compete against the western world.
Initially, students from Asian countries used to travel to the west in order to pursue higher education. However, with the increase in globalization, the world came closer and just like the multinational companies, western universities also started to follow the trend of off shore campuses. Today many British and American universities have their campuses in different parts of the world. The idea behind these overseas campuses is that the students of the home country can earn a degree of the respective university without having to travel to that country. This has a two way benefit that is for both the students and the university. The student can earn his or her desired degree at a much lower cost without leaving his home country. The university however can increase its student base and can not only earn higher revenues but can also enjoy international presence and can offer facilities such as student exchange programs. On the national level, the host country can now enjoy better opportunities to get its population educated and more competitive. Since an important criterion for measuring the quality of education in a university is the provision of research facilities and international exposure, having overseas campuses can also help provide these facilities. Like any other business, in order to launch itself in a new market, a university would need a concrete marketing strategy (Moller & Wilson 1995). This is necessary in order to get the people of the host country familiarized with the university and to encourage students to enroll. This paper aims at developing a marketing strategy for Sonoma State University for triggering its enrollment of International Students. This is also important because a geographically diverse student body plays an important role in strengthening the credentials of the university itself.
Sonoma State University is a university based in United States of America and is situated in the state of California (Sonoma State University, n.d.). The university awards degrees in nine major disciplines. Despite of its small campus and student body, the university is ranked as the best regional university consistently by the U.S. news and world report.
The mission statement of the Sonoma State University is as follows:
"To provide the students with state-of-the-art academic and grooming environment and to emerge as one of the top notch degree awarding institutions in the international rankings."
In case of attracting international students, the Sonoma State University will face the competition from three sides. Firstly, the competition will be faced from local Californian universities which are more internationally renowned as compared to the Sonoma State University. Moreover, local students might feel that they might have to face language barriers in a foreign institute therefore especially where the international enrollment is much lower than other institutes such as UCLA; they might feel more comfortable in studying in the local universities. Secondly, competition will also come from students that travel to other states such as New York and Texas. Thirdly, and most importantly, competition will come from other international universities that are operating in California too. For this reason, the Sonoma State University will need a competitive marketing strategy.
Considering the fact, that establishing a university is a highly capital intensive project, it is advisable that Sonoma State University starts off by starting in the discipline that has the highest demand. Considering the economic growth and industrialization, currently the most in demand and prospective discipline is the management sciences. California is already known for its international level business schools and law schools. Therefore it is advisable that Sonoma State University starts with the Sonoma State University. The university can then gradually expand in the long-term with the second preference of discipline being Information Technology. Since telecommunication technologies have made distant learning easier, some courses…