QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the global experts in higher education and authors of the QS World University Rankings, compiled a comparative study of international students’ choices. The Trends in International Student Mobility Report is based on international surveys of students applying for graduate-level courses in 2008-9 and 2012-13, looks at the choices students are making and the motivations behind them.
Survey respondents were attendees of QS World Grad School Tour events and/or applicants for QS Scholarships. Almost 3,500 responses were collected in 2008-9 and more than 4,000 in 2012-13, with respondents coming from all around the world. The survey included questions about graduate-level study plans, preferred study destinations, priorities when deciding where to study, and future salary and career expectations.
International students are considering a broader range of study destinations. While the big four Anglophone destinations ( US, Canada, UK and Australia) remain among the most popular, they are losing their monopoly. Meanwhile other countries – notably Germany, but also other countries worldwide – are gaining in prominence as potential study destinations
Study costs, financial aid and post-graduation employment prospects are becoming increasingly important factors
• ‘International recognition’ remains the single most important criteria for students when choosing a country and institution
• FAME subjects (including finance, accounting, management, economics, administration and related fields) remain the most popular among the survey respondents
• STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), which remain the second largest group for our respondents, have grown in popularity over the past five years
• Graduate degree applicants have high expectations for career development and salaries – and they expect to work hard too.
In the 2013 survey, the majority of applicants saw themselves in 10 years’ time either running their own business (24%), director of a large company (17%) or CEO of a large company (15%). Almost 18% identified an annual target salary of more than US$100,000.
These ambitions are accompanied by expectations of long working hours; almost 85% said they expected to work more than a standard 40-hour week in their first job after completing a graduate degree, with more than 40% expecting upwards of 50 hours per week.
The complete report can be downloaded here: http://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/qs-guides/trends-International-Student-Mobility-2014