International entrepreneurship education: postgraduate business students experiences of entrepreneurship education

Rae, D. and Woodier-Harris, N. (2012) International entrepreneurship education: postgraduate business students experiences of entrepreneurship education. Education & Training, 54 (8/9). pp. 639-656. ISSN 0040-0912

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International Entrepreneurship Education: postgraduate business students experiences of Entrepreneurship Education
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The study aims to enhance understanding of the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education in meeting the expectations and motivations of international postgraduate students participating in UK business & management education. Specifically, it explores within sample groups of learners:

RQ1. What is the typical profile of the international students’ prior education and work experience?
RQ2. What do students expect from studying an entrepreneurship PG course in the UK?
RQ3. What are their experiences of, and learning outcomes from, the entrepreneurship course?
RQ4. What benefits regarding their skills and knowledge do they perceive result from participation?

Prior Work
International Postgraduate education has grown substantially in the last decade (UUK, 2010). There has been significant growth in international postgraduate student participation in UK business related subjects, involving both MBA and other Masters’ programmes such as MSc in Management and a range of specialist awards, which increasingly offer Entrepreneurship as a core or option. Prior research focuses on transnational comparisons between France, Germany and Poland (Packham et al, 2010) USA, Spain and China (Pruett et al, 2009) Africa and Europe (Davey et al, 2011) China (Millman et al, 2010) and Poland (Jones, et al, 2011) with relatively little research specifically addressing entrepreneurship for international students on postgraduate courses in the UK (Hall and Sung, 2009, Liu, 2010).

This article originates in the authors’ experiences in running postgraduate entrepreneurship modules for international students in UK Business Schools. They found that students often experienced concerns about a ‘mismatch’ between their expectations of UK business and management education and their actual experiences, with experiences of cultural tensions between prior learning experiences and their acculturation to the requirements and norms of UK business education. The study is a microcosm of a wider issue as these concerns are shared more generally by international Postgraduate students.

The results confirmed that career development was a major motivator for international study in the UK. Interest in entrepreneurship is increasing but there are tensions between the expectations of the postgraduate experience and the experienced reality. Entrepreneurship was in some cases seen as a distinctive ‘peak experience’, but cultural factors, learning effectiveness and linguistic capability need to be addressed in designing learning programmes.

The study contributes new evidence and ideas to the debate on entrepreneurship education in meeting the career expectations and motivations of international postgraduate students participating in entrepreneurship education, especially in the light of new curricular guidance (QAA, 2012) and UK government regulation.

It offers suggestions for educators on the effective design and delivery of entrepreneurship for international students in the rapidly changing and competitive postgraduate market.

Keywords:Entrepreneurship, Higher education, enterprise, internationalisation, learning
Subjects:X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
N Business and Administrative studies > N120 International Business studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:6012
Deposited On:26 Jul 2012 13:48

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