Unit 8 : Research Project

Pearson BTEC HNC/D Diploma Health and Social Care – Unit 8 : Research Project

Unit Description

Research Project

This is solution of Mont Rose College Research Project Assignment given for the HND Business course.
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Research Project

Introduction

Research Project

All Universities in the UK contributed close to £3 billion to the British economy in the year 2011-12 by providing services to business, commercialization of new knowledge, delivering professional training and providing consultancy services. If you ask an individual today, where he wants to pursue his education from? Almost 50% answer that they want to pursue their studies from a world class university. Governments around the world even externally fund their universities in countries like China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore etc. in order to break away from the competition. Some governments even go to the extent of encouraging their own universities so that they can compete in the global arena. Some countries have even gone to the extent of creating new universities, with the sole purpose of creating best in-class institutions (Ayoubi, 2007).

Establishing a world class educational institution is not as easy as it looks. However, setting up a best in Class University requires continuous government funding. This has only recently started getting the attention and focus of people. Also in order to manage faculty as well as the students of the institution it is really a challenge, and to keep giving the same results and enrolling the same number of students is a major challenge. Therefore one needs to carefully analyse the various opportunities and challenges before deciding of opening the university.

The following key points need to be noted as part of the UK statistics report 2011.

In 2013 alone there were close to 12 million graduates in the United Kingdom.
The Number of graduates in the United Kingdom has steadily increased in the last 6 years. The graduates who pass out between April and June are likely to be employed by August 2013. Students who haven’t completed their graduation tend to remain unemployed for a longer duration that their peers who are graduates. Students who haven’t graduated tend to remain inactive as compared to the recently graduated people. Over 40% of the people who graduated would like to work in the health care or the education sector. People who have graduated have a higher likelihood of getting recruited at high-skill jobs as compared to people who have not finished their graduation. People who have graduated tend to earn higher annually than their counterparts who haven’t yet finished their graduation. Graduates who have a degree in medicine or other related fields are more likely to be employed and also get a high salary as compared to their counterparts from other fields.

Employment opportunities for employees in UK universities are better paying than employment opportunities in outside UK universities. Graduates who are males are better employability skills than their female counterparts and are paid higher than them. Almost 60 % of the people in London are mainly graduates. Considering the points above, the education industry in the UK surely represents a high opportunity for establishing a new university in accordance with the laws and policies of the government. In addition to it the points above also give us a clear cut indication of the target audience for our university (Matlay, 2005). As a part of this report various factors will be critically analysed that need to be considered while establishing a new university and also do marketing planning for the same.

Methodology: Our maiden study is based on a survey of over around 60 people in London who study in London to evaluate their perception of setting up their own university. The methodology adopted in preparing this report is based on one-on-one interviews with local people in London, questionnaire filling, observation of people behaviour from side-lines as well as collecting information from secondary data. In addition to this, the basis of the study of various literatures is to know the variables on which the objective could be gauged upon and what has already be done in the field so far. The literature has been taken from the secondary data available on the internet, Journals and international publications. Keeping the scope of the study in mind and the in-depth study of enormous level of information available on the internet assisted a lot in zeroing on to the objectives of the research thereby helped us to get the insights that helped us in creating the report.

Objective of the study

The basic objective of our study was to analyse the following:

Conduciveness of market conditions for setting up a new ‘World-Class’ University in London
People behaviour and responses of people on setting up their own ‘World Class’ university.
Lastly, to know what goes into making the university truly world class.
Literature Review

The Education industry is one of the most lucrative career options available nowadays to individuals. The industry is expected to grow at over $7 billion in UK alone. All over the world this industry is expected to grow by $ 3 trillion. This is not alarming, as the state of education that contributes to the country’s growth plan needs to be improved if they are to compete in the global market. As the industry is trying to spread and develop in the UK, several factors have contributed to its development. Meanwhile with the onset of new technologies and cloud ecosystems where students can access any resource online, they are beginning to become the biggest business enablers as they support wherever it’s necessary. In addition to this the growing disposable incomes of the middle class population has led to a reform in the changes and they are willing to spend high amounts in order to provide their family with the latest techniques academics and other similar services.

To set up a university, certain guidelines need to be met. These are mainly based on the legislation as detailed out in the law.

Registration as a legal entity
Examination and Assessment
Quality Assurance Mechanism and Student Supervision
Administrative and academic staffing
Budget and Finance
Programs and courses of study
Teaching and learning
Premises and availability of physical resources
Governance, Organization and Behaviour
Student body and student support services
Once all these legislations are fulfilled one can go ahead and fulfil other requirements of setting up the university. In establishing a world class university campus, one needs to be careful of the fact he/she does not invest unnecessarily in resources (Etzkowitz, 1998). There are certain myths associated with building a world class university campus. One needs to be doubly sure of not falling in this trap. The myths are listed below: –

Build a magnificent campus; expect magic to happen.
Design the curriculum after constructing the facilities
Import content from somewhere else.
Un-necessary delay in the appointment of the management and leadership team.
Stack the board with political appointees.
Plan for capital expenditures incurred in setting up of campuses, but at the same time undermining the need for financial sustainability.
Be too ambitious in enrolment targets.
Think that everything can be accomplished in eighteen months.
Rely exclusively on resources from other universities.
Make part of current educational scholarships in UK
The critical success factors associated with establishing a new university are: –

Collaborative and Critical Research facilities
Facilities and Equipment related services
Continuing Professional Education and professional development
Number and Kind of courses offered by the institute
Encouraging entrepreneurial ventures
Sports and Recreational facilities
Student Intake for different batches
Fee structure for student batches and according to course being selected for.
The drivers of change of this brave new world have been summarized into five key trends:

Ease of Access to Knowledge resources — with the digitalization and much technological advancement all knowledge resources are freely available online. This will in turn lead to change in the vision and even change in role of some universities as knowledge distributors and founders of knowledge.

Competition in Markets — Crunching times and tight cash flows have intensified the battle of reaching to the pinnacle of this industry. Due to budget constraints governments are forced to limit funding as well as norms have become stricter in terms of operations thereby increasing the fight for quality students and education.

Digitalization — Digital technologies have literally changed the way the education sector looks today. All assignments, courses, lectures are available on the web and easily accessible. Gone are those days when universities use to differ on the basis of the course content. Digitalization has brought all universities on level ground and the scenario has become increasingly competitive.

Global Village — these days exchange programs are common in the university arena. This will lead to cross cultural exchange of information as well as at the same time increase competition and also strengthen global relationships with other partner universities abroad.

Industry Integration — Universities in order to break away from the pack need to build and strengthen their industry relationships and align them with their future goals and vision. These corporate houses will be the major funders who will keep the institution up and running apart from the management.

With changing times the University models are becoming more complex and they can be categorized into four basic lines of evolution

‘Maintaining Status Quo’ — The established and old universities in the market will continue to operate in their division and continuously innovate and improvise.
‘Niche Creators’ — Some new entrants or some old existing players in this sector will try and differentiate themselves from the flock by focusing on smaller markets but different from the lot.
‘The Transformers’ — The new universities that are setup will carve out new positions for themselves as well as find new processes to exploit and co-exist with the other major players of this sector.
‘The Spartan’s’– Great emphasis is to be paid to sports and recreational activities in the university. Not only it will help the students to keep fit but also lead to the rejuvenation of their mind and body and help them relax after a hectic schedule at the university classrooms.
A number of future challenges present themselves once university is established. These need to be tackled from time to time basis. In order to build a successful future model the following challenges need to be addressed.

Quality and Academic Excellence – In addition to the demography of students in the university, they will be required to find means to maintain excellence in research skills and teaching services.

Commercial Skills – As the education industry becomes competitive, the universities will have to hone their commercial skills and capabilities in all institutional departments.

Change Management & Speed to Market– It is said that the only thing constant in today’s world is Change. The different and latest models that will be developed by universities and will be implemented over due course of time will require changes in future. At the same time, the universities need to be proactive and change their business strategy and levels but keeping the same level of integrity and excellence.

Academic Talent and Workforce Structure–One needs to find ways to constantly attract new talent to the university. The course structure also needs to be evolved continuously. In addition to this the workforce at the university once retires needs to be replenished and maintain the same level of academic excellence quality.

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Relationship with the Government – With change in times and governments in the country the funding is bound to change and fluctuate. In case they are to maintain a high standard of education and academic excellence, they will need to maintain cordial relations with the government so that they are able to attract funding at a regular basis (Peter, J. P, 1996).

Once they are able to overcome these challenges they can easily catch the growth part and continuously tread on it in pursuit of excellence and growth.

Research Methodology

Primary and secondary research methods are used to arrive at the conclusion of how conducive are the current market conditions for establishing a university. It is an exploratory as well as a causal research. A diligent research skills will results in carried out to understand the sentiments of people in London towards the idea of setting up their own ‘world-class’ university. The research is carried out every Sunday on three consecutive weekends to arrive at the best possible sample size and data for analytical research. The questionnaire prepared is answered by the working and college going population of London (Barr, 2005). They will also conduct focused group discussions and face-to-face interviews with college going students by targeting the malls, shopping areas, clubs and night streets as more youngsters are expected to frequent these places. The best possible sample size needs to be taken for the same.

The data type and collection is individual based and the study will be cross functional.
Feasibility Study

The Supply and Demand gap on basis of statistical modelling reveals that people in London were strongly in favour of opening a New University in this area. There is a potential enrolment at this point in time of approximately 12000 students across both full- and part-time study courses. This figure represents a gap enrolment — the number of additional students that would occur if higher education participation rates in the catchment area were similar to that of London.

Additionally, socio-economic and education data from the region was analysed to estimate likely future patterns of participation and attainment in higher education. The results of this analysis indicated strong student preference for participation at the University of Newcastle, out-of-area study associated with higher levels of achievement in Year 12 and an association between lower Year 9 literacy and numeracy outcomes with lower participation in higher education.

Competitor analysis of the catchment area revealed that there are just three good universities in this area and thus more universities can come up in this area (Santoro, 2001). The three universities namely are: –

London University
Hope University in London
John Moores University in London
The study of available courses in these universities mainly lead to another conclusion which is that the few courses in these have high revenue streams and also the availability of those courses is less in the available universities. The two course profiles modelled for their effects on public revenue streams are:

Business and humanities only; and
Business, humanities and health and other services.
The results of this modelling indicate that significant effort would be required in the planning and establishment phase to ensure that student take-up rates were as high as possible and generated sufficient public revenue streams. The new university in order to capitalize on this choice of course should offer these two courses mainly in addition to the other literary courses.

For completing the feasibility study a number of other factors are to be considered (Scheuer, 2003). They are mainly:

The Regulatory Requirements;
Campus and Infrastructure Facilities;
Financial Viability
Responses of Other Universities in Catchment Area.
Location of the University
On the basis of the responses of the questionnaire and the age group of the respondents the following conclusion can be drawn.

The conclusions that can be drawn that the London is an attractive destination for young working families, as indicated by the high migration rates of30-40 year olds. While there is a ‘Hollowing Out’ of people from London in the age group of 15-24 year old. This further goes to say that people of this age generally travel to other foreign universities for higher education (Oviatt, 1997). Thus people of this age group mainly are our target audience and also are an opportunity for admission in our university.

Further on studying the demographic report on London in 2011 many students who travelled out of London were basically enrolled in part time and some in full time courses. The below tables go on to show the same in different universities in UK.

Students enrolled in Other Universities
University Number of 15-24 year olds Full Time University Percentage in Full Time Study Part Time University Percentage in Part Time Study
Univ 1 5880 487 3% 487 8%
Univ 2 19365 1583 8% 336 2%
Univ 3 8842 714 2% 157 2%
Univ 4 21609 4927 23% 642 5%
Univ 5 23160 2437 11% 454 2%
Univ 6 6161 774 13% 156 3%
Univ 7 23363 4552 9% 685 3%
Univ 8 16674 955 6% 200 1%
Source – Demographic Report UK London 2011

Additional Full time and Part Time students that are to enrol themselves in the courses elsewhere are shown in the table below.

Catchment Area Additional Full Time Students Additional Part Time Students
Area 1 214 325
Area 2 557 439
Area 3 281 443
Area 4 509 644
Area 5 209 51
Area 6 505 751
Source – Source – Demographic Report UK London 2011

Now if they consider a growth rate of 5 % in population each year the total number of potential students in the area of London both for part time and full time courses is shown in the table below.

Total Pool of Potential Students by 2031
Year Full Time 15-24 Part Time 15 -24 Full Time Mature Age Part Time Mature Age
2011 8065 -995 2273 2739
2016 8210 -1024 2329 2809
2021 7996 -1006 2415 2921
2026 8130 -1004 2471 2999
2031 8239 -1015 2514 3013
Source – Booze Allen Report London 2011

This is our target audience which they plan to retain in London and enrol in the courses in our new university. The main occupation of the people living in London is service. This factor will enable us to evaluate the type of courses to keep in the university and the course fee of the elective. Considering the above demographic conclusions it is feasible to establish a new university in London. To go about this, a business plan needs to be formulated.

Proposed Business Plan

The proposed business plan for the university is given below.

research project business proposal plan

The final report of the comprehensive B-plan will include the report of guidelines by which the university will operate. It will include the list of management and the governing body of the institution. It will include a detailed funding picture as to when and how the fund would be received for the operations of the same. If the University has a board of control of trustees the same will be listed discreetly in the report. In addition to this year by year launch of courses shall be detailed. The faculty on board for teaching these courses shall be mentioned. The examinations through which the admissions of students would be done will also be considered. The guidelines of promotion of faculty to professorship and associate professorships shall be mentioned and interviews for the same need to conducted. The detailed plan for that needs to be submitted. In addition to this the course curriculum of the courses and the number of hours required to complete the course need to be mentioned. For the semester system or trimester system of curriculum they need the schedule of assessments that will be used to grade the students. This schedule should also be provided in detail in the report. Once all these are provided for we need to submit a brochure of the institute highlighting the facilities both in terms of infrastructure as well as academics that will be mentioned in order to lure the students. The website of the institute needs to be created on a domain and the content of the website needs to be finalized before the report is submitted. The certificate of commencement of operations shall be attached to this report in order to keep it in a documented form. There will be a set of governing laws and guidelines which will be known as the ‘Bible of the University’. It shall contain the rules and regulations that need to be enforced on students in case of any disciplinary issue. No deviations shall be encouraged from this bible towards the functioning of the university.

Marketing Plan – Recommendations

The university is known by the kind of academic structure and the students it admits. In order to become a truly world class university, there are three main objectives of this marketing plan that need to be achieved (Baker, 1996).

Promote the quality of Faculty we are going to hire
Promote by displaying the last two years employment data of the other universities of this group.
Promote by mentioning student and organizational success stories of the group
Highlight the Values and mission statement of the University
Our Target Audiences would be: –

Primary – Students in the city of London (15-24 Year Olds) and Faculties (PHD’s)
Secondary – University Division people
Tertiary – Parents of Students and Others
Other audiences that we may want to target in future would be the Alumni, Corporate Houses for sponsored courses etc. (Miles, R. E, 1978).

Following goals need to be met before implementation of the marketing strategy

Increase awareness about opening of a new university in the area through display on billboards approaching the city of London.
Establish partnerships with offices and student organizations in the city to create awareness.
To implement the communications strategy we need to fix the guidelines for the advertisements in the local daily.
Establishing consistency in the communication guidelines and messages by maintaining consistency in the key messages, tag lines and graphic content.
Set the stage for further marketing and PR related activities for attracting more students and also retaining the same.
The marketing strategy will basically be focused on the students. Students in London can be targeted in the following areas (Shank, 2005).

Shopping Areas or Shopping Malls or Restaurants
Live Stage Shows
Outside other Colleges
Outside Schools
They need to setup billboards and flexes atop places frequented by students regularly. Billboards can be setup on pathways approaching the city. In addition to the same they need to organize sessions in auditoriums and need to distribute pens to create awareness about the same. Once the students register for the awareness come orientation session they need to register them for online courses and course content. Once they become dependent on the same then they can start enrolling them for weekend courses. Ttart with enrolment in part time courses as faculty for full time courses is difficult to get in the beginning. Once the student strength increases and faculty also starts joining they start offering full time courses. Include the famous academicians from the educational sector on the university board. Bring a couple of corporate houses on the board of the university so that employment opportunities for the students are also not a problem. To consistently market the University for the First Few Years, a special fund known as the marketing fund needs to be allocated. In order to build a brand they need to first invest in the brand. This will certainly require resources both people and cash. To channelize these resources in the right direction, a formulated report will be required. The same will be looked upon by the director of the university. It is very important that at the helm of the university, an academician is appointed since to deliver on an educational front it’s important that the credentials of the person at the helm of the university are noteworthy. Apart from this, the academician should be from a renowned university so that students can relate to the person. Yearly student bashes at prominent restaurants, places will need to be organized so as to instil in the students the feeling that this institute focuses on all around development. Sports facilities and recreational facilities in the form of Gymnasiums, Swimming pools, football grounds need to be provided as soon as the university is functional. The campus needs to be provided with all the sports facilities for girls as well. Once the sports facilities are in place sports festivals and competitions can be organized inviting other universities in order to instil a competitive spirit in the students and then only will they start preferring one university over the other (Siegfried, 2006). Sports and event marketing course in the city of London will make sense and students can also undertake some short term working assignments with easy access to sports celebrities in the city. This career option also pays well in terms of remuneration and they can further venture into sports management as a PHD course as well.

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Conclusions

Considering the different sections brought out in the report above it is advised to open up a new University in the city of London. London as a city has tremendous potential of both students as well as faculty that are waiting to be employed and brought on board the institution (Matlay, 2005). Once the university starts the management team and the director need to improvise on the marketing and management strategies in order to ensure smooth functioning of the university as well as retain the students who have taken an admission. Students and faculty here should be the centre of every activity as they are the ones who will make or break this institution. Once the institute is up and running every year just a small amount of investment in terms of money and effort regularly will keep reaping huge benefits for the management for times to come. Also the marketing effort is an ongoing activity and brand tends to fade away if it goes out of mind and out of sight.
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