RELATIONSHIP MARKETING AND ITS ROLE IN THE EXPERIENCE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
AbstractThe purpose of this study is to investigate the role of the RM approach in the experience of international students in business schools within the UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The Relationship Marketing (RM) strategy has gained recognition over the years, especially within the last decade, which can be seen in the Higher Education (HE) sector. The HE sector has in recent times been highly competitive, especially in the global market. Despite this growth in competition, there has been little or no effort in the application of RM strategy by HE Institutions competing in the global marketplace for international students. The growing competition has been driven by the goal HEI’s have to internationalise and attract, recruit and retain the best international students. Higher Education Institutions have become aware of the contributions that international students bring to these institutions. Hence, efforts are geared towards retaining international students. This study considers the role of using RM with international students. The relevant data was collected from face-to-face semi-structured interviews and focus groups, which were conducted with university managers and international students across four universities in the UK. The study identifies several impacts of using RM on international students’ overall experience. It further highlights aspects of the RM approach that are more significant to international students’ experience. The study concluded that the RM approach positively affects international student experience if effectively developed and implemented.
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