The Return of International MBA Students

Foreign students have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Hare announced(March 13, 2022), “International student numbers at universities have bounced back to above pre-pandemic levels, with the number of students commencing studies higher than in 2019″.” This is encouraging news, but the flow will take time to manifest at the MBA level across the country. What we do know is that the Australian MBA is still in high demand, both from public and private institutions, also having high demand in international MBA students.

According to ICEF, “the market is beginning to recover: the number of visas granted to international students was up by 34% in December 2021 versus December 2020.  There are concerns about a potentially weak return of Chinese students.” Concerns have been raised despite the potential for a poor return of Chinese students.

Universities’ over-reliance on the Chinese market resulted in some drastic cuts and reductions — perhaps, lessons have been learned.

Return to face-to-face mode on campus.

However, whether students desire to return to campus is a complex topic with an equally complex set of responses. The student answer at UBSS (Group Colleges of Australia, March 2022) is that 94 percent of MBA students choose to stay online — hardly a call to campus. There is a case that can be made that the country of origin influences the mode of delivery preference. Chinese students seem to favor the off-shore – online alternative, whilst Indian and Nepalese students want to be on-shore, although not necessarily on campus.

Work possibilities play a big role in these inclinations. The existing freedoms granted to international students in terms of working hours may be driving the onshore online alternative. The issue is the long-term influence on course development, which is required to keep a student VISA.

COVID-19 impacted students to take at least one online course. Source: World Economic Forum

Going Back to Hybrid has a chance to win.

Hybrid mode – the capacity to study on campus or online with the ability to switch back and forth – is likely to be the way to go, at least in the short term (one to two years). Positive cases and associated close-downs and extensive cleaning regimes provide significant hurdles – not to mention money – due to the complexity of getting workers and students back on campus.

Classrooms are transformed into TV studios, with a smaller live audience and a large number of online viewers. As the formal COVID-19 constraints are being eased, this idea becomes a real possibility. The most successful technique, however, necessitates personnel returning to campus and being supported by cutting-edge technology.

Read more: Biden’s Plan to Double Pell Grants