Higher Education Branding: Attracting Brazilian Talent to Danish Higher Education

Jess Kamstrup Gade

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to develop an understanding of how Innovation Centre Denmark can succeed in branding Danish higher education in order to attract Brazilian talent. The competition for the best international talent has intensified as a result of the rapid globalization that the world has witnessed over the past few decades. Danish higher education in particular has struggled to attract talent outside EU/EEA since 2006, when it required students from these countries to pay full tuition fees at Danish universities. Approach: The study is guided by a pragmatic research philosophy, where primary data are collected in the format of qualitative in-depth interviews with Brazilian students and Danish representatives for the education sector. An interpretive stance is applied considering the core topic – students’ choice of higher education – being a social construction. The study, however, suggests a continuation of the research in a quantitative format to broaden the applicability of the findings. Both theories from nation branding and higher education branding are analyzed in the research, as are also general brand management theories, which are used also in the generation of practical recommendations for Innovation Centre Denmark. Findings: The analysis of the primary data challenges a range of sub-theories within the fields of nation branding and branding of higher education, and concludes with ten practical recommendations on how to improve the attraction of Brazilian talent. The most prominent findings from the research include the need for increased integration between nation branding and branding of the Danish educational sector, as well as a need to identify Danish fields of excellence in order to establish a perceived balance between value and price by the Brazilian students. Also, the analysis suggests a new view on identity-image gaps in higher education, and casts light on the Brazilians’ fundamental motivations for higher education as well as studies abroad, providing the foundation to better target Danish higher education towards this target group. Research limitations: The very nature of case studies does not allow for the generalization of findings. This study does expose, however, some interesting inconsistencies in existing theory on nation branding and higher education branding, suggesting the potential for further research. Practical implications: Innovation Centre Denmark’s brand for Brazilian students, Top Talent Denmark, can be improved upon by listening to and implementing the final recommendations outlined in this research to the greatest extent possible. Perspective: The findings for attracting Brazilian talent to Danish higher education may be applied also to attracting talented Brazilians to Danish companies with an interest in Brazil.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages108