School of Business publications portal
This portal is no longer updated. Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Management Studies | MSc program in Management and International Business | 2016
Thesis number: 14385
"This is reputation-driven activity" - Higher education as a service export and the role of partnerships
Author: Kemppainen, Heini-Maari
Title: "This is reputation-driven activity" - Higher education as a service export and the role of partnerships
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: MSc program in Management and International Business
Index terms: johtaminen; management; palvelut; service; vienti; exports; korkeakoulutus; higher education; koulutus; training; kumppanuus; partnership; kansainvälistyminen; internationalization
Pages: 104
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14385.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1252228)
Key terms: higher education; education export; internationalization; service export; partnerships
In the growth of knowledge economy, education export has been predicted as one potential industry to boost Finnish economy. Meanwhile, the number of international students globally is higher than ever before. Higher education institutions (HEIs) are involved in a tightening international competition for resources such as funding, researchers, and students. This highlights the direction of improving international visibility and reputation as a strategic move for HEIs. Under the uncertain economic also Finnish universities have faced significant cuts from the public funding, which creates a need for finding new sources of revenue. Considering these trends, higher education as a service export is indeed a very timely matter.

This research aims to understand higher education as a service product and what kinds of prerequisites it sets for export and entering new foreign markets. The study focuses especially on cross-border education, which means delivering an educational product outside the home university's national borders. Thus, for instance mobility of students and staff, or digital delivery of education, are excluded from this study. Moreover, this study aims to understand what is the role of partnerships between HEIs as an enabler for higher education export.

The empirical part of this research was conducted as a two-case study. Both cases derive from the environment of Aalto University as organisations that export education through partnerships: Aalto Design Factory (ADF) and Aalto Executive Education Ltd (Aalto EE). With a two-case study approach, a single setting - higher education export through partnerships - is being examined for finding patterns and similarities. The purpose is to understand, in which ways partnerships between HEIs can enable the delivery of higher education export.

The greatest contribution of this study is two-fold. First, higher education as a service export is defined as "soft service" which sets certain prerequisites for entering new foreign markets. Relatively high control over the core of a service is one of such. To build on that, the operational environment of universities sets prerequisites for considering partnerships between HEIs as a suitable alternative for entering new markets. This applies especially when internationalisation strategy is to seek new markets. In such cases gaining experimental knowledge and market information becomes important for successfully exporting soft services such as higher education.

Based on the findings, people who are interested in education export, or looking for ways to get started with that, either in universities or in the positions of fostering national exporting, may understand better in which ways partnerships can enable the delivery of higher education export. Moreover, the study concludes with benefits, risks, and findings of partner formation process to consider in the process of establishing successful export activities.
Electronic publications are subject to copyright. The publications can be read freely and printed for personal use. Use for commercial purposes is forbidden.