Title: Applying marketing mix constructs in higher education: the case of an MBA program in the UAE

Authors: Mohammad A. Meraj; Cedwyn J. Fernandes; Kieran J. Ross

Addresses: Middlesex University Dubai, P.O. Box 500697, Dubai, UAE ' Middlesex University Dubai, P.O. Box 500697, Dubai, UAE ' Middlesex University Dubai, P.O. Box 500697, Dubai, UAE

Abstract: This exploratory study identifies significant choice factors for prospective students when selecting a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program in the increasingly competitive higher education sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Implications for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) when they develop marketing communication strategies are addressed. Study participants included current MBA students, MBA graduates who have completed their degree at a British University's campus in the UAE and prospective students who chose not to enrol on that MBA program. Constructs were tested for reliability using the Cronbach alpha test. The relative importance of specific choice factors were assessed via analysis of the means of the constructs. The difference between the most important (People) and least important (Promotion) factors were as much as 34%. Differences between three groups of study participants were analysed based on the results of Scheffé's post-hoc test. Marketing implications for HEIs include: improving the quality of the factors identified and communicating the quality of these factors; especially intangible ones, to potential MBA candidates more effectively.

Keywords: marketing mix; higher education; MBA programmes; marketing communications; branch campus; United Arab Emirates; UAE; prospective students; university choice.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2016.074488

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2016 Vol.16 No.2, pp.149 - 170

Accepted: 25 Oct 2015
Published online: 31 Jan 2016 *

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