Singapore surges in popularity for international business students

Carried out amongst 1,442 respondents from 50 countries between May and June 2020, the latest edition of the Business of Branding study by CarringtonCrisp and EFMD reveals that Singapore is now one of the top five international study destinations, along with Canada, US (68%), UK (67%) and Australia (40%).

“Singapore is seen increasingly as an important global business centre with an international outlook”

Although international student movement may be reduced at present, the impact of country brand decision-making may be greater than ever, the study highlighted.

It noted that New Zealand is recognised as having tackled the impact of Covid-19 as well as if not better than every other nation, while the US is struggling with the pandemic, and alongside various legislative changes, “it is becoming a less attractive destination”.

Asked in the latest study where they would consider studying internationally, Canada is on the rise, up from 38% to 48% of students thinking about the country this year compared with last year.

Singapore is also more popular, chosen by 15% in the last round of the study and now selected by 40%.

“Having invested heavily in its education system, Singapore is seen increasingly as an important global business centre with an international outlook,” said Andrew Crisp, author of the study.

“It has been perceived to be coping well with the pandemic, at least in the early stages, and with problems in Hong Kong is perhaps seen as a good alternative for those interested in studying in Asia.”

The study also reveals that the US has bounced back from a decline in popularity over previous years (50% in 2019, 62% in 2018 and 67% in 2017).

“There has been a lot of turbulence and it may be that international students anticipate a Trump loss in November and a return to more stable policies for international students,” noted Crisp.

“It could be the perception that short term issues whether political or health-related, which might have put them off, may be coming to an end.”

The US (81%) and UK (79%) score the highest for the quality of their academic institutions followed by France in third (45%).

“Both the US and UK have always had well-renowned universities and business schools, and these have continued to attract international students despite any domestic issues,” noted the study.

“For the UK specifically, the reintroduction of the two-year post-study work visa has made it more attractive.”

Elsewhere, international students view the Netherlands (54%) as the most welcoming country, followed by the UK (48%), Spain (37%), Canada and Germany (36%).

When it comes to visas, Germany (64%) is viewed as the easiest country to get one for, followed by Spain (56%), Netherlands (54%) and France (48%).

Conversely, the four perceived as hardest to get visas for are China (2%), Japan (3%), India (5%) and the US (7%).

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