Indians among top 4 sources for business studies in US
By Arun Kumar, Washington, March 5 : Business-related programmes are the most popular single field of study among international students in the US with China, India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia being the top four source countries, according to a new study.
However, among Indian and Saudi students business ranks third behind engineering and math, and engineering and English respectively, while it is the single-most popular field among Chinese and Korean students, according to World Education Services (WES).
This growth in the popularity of business programmes has paralleled, to a degree, the overall demand for undergraduate programmes at US institutions, the WES study on "International Student Mobility Trends 2013: Towards Responsive Recruitment Strategies" noted.
As a result, international undergraduate students in business studies grew by approximately 60 percent in the US between 2003 and 2011, with nearly three out of ten international undergraduates enrolled in business fields-a proportion that is now comparable to the UK and Canada.
The authors Rahul Choudaha, director of research and advisory services, and research associates Li Chang and Yoko Kono noted how student mobility patterns to the US have changed in the decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Due to visa policy changes and perceptions that the US had become a less welcoming host country for international students, enrolment growth stalled in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
At that time, Indians represented the largest international student population, rising almost 12 percent in 2002/03 compared to just two percent among Chinese students-bucking an overall downward trend in enrolments that would last until the 2006/07 academic year.
Within a decade, that story has been turned on its head. Overall enrolments are again growing at a healthy level.
Chinese enrolments have been booming at an average annual growth rate of well above 20 percent since 2007/08, while Indian enrolments have stagnated and recently started a downward trajectory.
A look into the level of study reveals that India is a graduate market, but a combination of socioeconomic and demographic factors suggest an inflow of more Indian undergraduates in the coming years.
Three fourths of Indian students at the graduate level (77 percent) were enrolled in S&E fields, significantly higher than the concentration for international students overall (59 percent), according to WES.
In addition to aggressive outreach in traditional Asian markets, particularly China and India, the WES study highlighted the need for diversification of international student populations by place of origin.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)