Sunday, February 18, 2007

Competitive Analysis of Daejin University

Competitive Analysis of Daejin University

Key Success Factors

Identification of key success factors (KSFs) through an analysis of the Korean higher education sector reveals value drivers at present include an ability to transnationalize studies, liberalize services, absorb overseas studies in the domestic market, and reduce deficits of foreign studies necessary to maintain competitiveness in tune with WTO open market requirements as well as pending free trade negotiations with The USA (Lee, M.H., 2006: 91).

Transnationalisation of Studies

Daejin University is an early participant in its Chinese employment market orientation within the Korean educational sector. However it is indicative of a modern day East Asian Regionalism movement which has seen intra-regional trade grow to nearly half of total trade in the last twenty years (Evans, 2003: 4). Thus it is also an example of an early developing official educational orientation to China within Korea which reinforces Evans’ thesis that the aims of such regionalism are modest and not dominant in, “regional politics, security or economics” (Evans, 2003: 7). However Koreans are the largest group of foreign students in China and at a total of 54,000 in 2007 the DUCC program represents at the most 3.7% of that total which is not a large commitment and could prove problematic when larger and more capital rich universities such as those in the top ten start up their own Chinese campus programs. However Daejin University has increased its Chinese market presence along with a 50% increase in Korean student enrollments in China since 2003. This does not include an additional 60,000 estimated in country at any one time for periods of up to three months (Lee, T.J., 2007) of which the majority of DUCC participants might be classified as the program generally runs for a term of three months with the possibility of extensions of up to twelve months. That such a large pool of independent students are participating in aligned and non-aligned programs or exchanges exists depends much upon the gaps in services currently present among leading Korean universities. Their interest in the development of regional campuses in locations such as the Songdo Educational City might represent their current growth interests mainly in securing students from provincial feeders outside of the region of Seoul. Such capital outlays could be delaying transnational campus developments among the leaders while securing national realignments in student enrollments first which on a large scale would perhaps appear easier, less fraught with risk, and more immediately profitable. In addition, Chinese based studies are appearing to draw almost as many Korean students as US universities are. It is anticipated that they will exceed them as the distance is shorter, the costs are lower, and the opportunities for employment are excellent (Lee, T.J., 2007). At the moment Daejin University appears to represent market leadership in Chinese campuses development. However Chinese studies demand is perhaps great enough to allow it to maintain a competency in this area into at least the near future even with great national competition and or similar programs development.

Liberalizing Services

The key liberalizing advantage Daejin University has over its local competitors is its progressive internationalisation program with the Daejin University Chinese Campus project (DUCC) located at Suchow (DUSC) and Harbin (DUHC) Universities which has provided a solid three years of experience to the strategic management teams and a significant head start over Korean competitors who are only at present in the planning stages of similar cooperative programs in the PRC. This first entrant advantage has proven useful not only to Daejin University but also its competitors in Korea who consider the program to be a model from which to develop along similar lines in future.

From this perspective, Daejin University seems to be demonstrating the validity of the precept that practical research at universities in developing countries contributes to the process of economic catch up in indigenous ways and indicates innovation above and beyond copying the best practices of advanced nations (Mazzoleni & Nelson, 2005: 7). One business or another has to start the process of innovation first. Daejin University has gone far beyond the normal practice of mutual exchange programs with DUCC and demonstrates not only a clear valuation of the customer demand for such a program as evidenced by current enrollments in Chinese universities but was able to ride the trend and provide the service as demanded in step with significant increases in Chinese educational services. However such popularity in Korea could make staff retention difficult if their services and their experience in incubating Chinese campus programs grow in demand from larger institutions.

Domestic Absorption of Overseas Studies

What Daejin University has done well is co-opted a desire for Chinese education into its regular studies programs through which it is able to profit highly from the diversion of tuition away from cheaper Chinese based institutions while having comparable local costs ahead of local leading institutions. This permits the DUCC program to provide export income which positively favours the balances of international trade between Korea and China on annual current accounts which is one of the aims of internationalisation in Korean education. On average Korean students spent USD 7,089 in 2006 on higher education (OECD, 2007). Assuming half of the year was spent in China, Daejin University may have been able to bank just over seven million dollars minus the 10% costs of educating these students in China for a period of three months annually and exceeding by ten times the possible profits available through in country tuition based education. Thus Daejin University is the leading Korean cooperative program provider in China but must rely upon continued approval of its programs which could be difficult if new and larger Korean institutions attempt to realign Chinese cooperation at a future point of entry into the Chinese overseas absorption market. Furthermore the scope of the programs in China are quite narrow and might benefit from expansion in future to attract students from other Korean universities during study year breaks or end of military services returnees. Finally, following research of Australian participation in education in China, Daejin University might seek to regionalize distribution to include other Chinese universities complimentary to regions of China near Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan to widen the scope of students’ studies and experience and opportunities for employment in those regions all similarly recommended to Australian institutions (Wu & Yu, 2006:217).

Foreign Studies Deficit Reduction

The current enrollment figures in DUCC programs (at a possible 2000 students in total) show a slight decline over the previous three years and the general belief is that the successful integration of Daejin University students into employment programs with Korean companies in China has been less than optimal due to the preference for employment of Ethnic Korean Chinese. Many have transited to Korea for higher studies and possess not only higher fluency in Mandarin but in addition due to Chinese nationality are more numerous thus accepting lower salaries and benefits. At present, nearly four out of five Korean students return to Korea after looking for work in China as the average monthly wage for university graduates in cities like Beijing stand at around 2,000 yuan (USD 257) while the salary in Korea may be much better between 1.2 to 2 million Korean won (USD 1,297 to 2,162). This indicates that Daejin University’s competency in this area needs improvement (Lee, T.J., 2007).

Such a situation is anticipated to provide impetus to expand the cooperative campus programs to other emerging market nations such as Vietnam and or India where locals perhaps do not possess similar language skill sets or cross-cultural experience. Such a dynamic increase in overseas studies during a regular four year program from one term to perhaps two terms or more would dramatically increase the university’s profits base assuming similar costs exist in other nations as in China. It would implicate a possibility of increasing enrollments to feed such a system. However at this time enrollments are strictly regulated by government policies which may be set to change in the near future. It would also appear that the efforts of one regional and modest university does not necessarily have any impact upon the overall aims and goals of the successful reduction of foreign studies deficits in Korean higher education even when the model appears to be working on a small scale. For example, it would be considered unacceptable for graduates of major universities such as Seoul National or Yonsei to earn a starting salary in the region of 300 dollars monthly simply due to a national perception of their educational excellence. Also by extension the Philippines would probably prove an excellent location from which to cooperatively educate Korean university students in English at a similar costs savings, deficit reduction and foreign studies absorption. However anecdotal evidence suggests that at the moment some Koreans perceive the Philippines as a cost effective yet quality poor choice for English studies development.

Core Competencies

Daejin University enrolls approximately 8000 tuition paying students at a regional rural campus within 1.5 hours northeast of downtown Seoul. Its Chinese market orientation is singular and unique in the nation and it is the first institution to orient its entire curriculum to the development of Korean students with Chinese expertise targeted to fill business and employment positions in China at Korean companies in start up and established investments there. Its core competencies include a high level of entrepreneurialism, excellent technological competencies, and successful advertising.

The level of entrepreneurship displayed by Daejin University in comparison to its national competitors is an essential core competency due to the fact that it is not within the top ten highest rated institutions in Korea or even in the Seoul metropolitan area. The design of the general studies, engineering and business programs offered at the university are intended to create internationally employable graduates providing Chinese expertise to companies operating in the PRC. Steady enrollment increases over the last few years have been credited to effective and increased marketing campaigns targeting high school graduates in the northeast region of Seoul and the successful development of online and internet based marketing which is also a vital competency as Koreans are described as, “a nation of digital guinea pigs” (Businessweek, 2002 in Shin, 2002: 6). This marketing proficiency is directly linked to the university’s level of technological competencies which were awarded high praise in 2005 by a national standards assessment organization, the Korean Council for University Education (KCUE) for having a best in category developmental strategy and vision in terms of educational support services (KCUE, 2007). It has been awarded in a category of excellence on a par with similar institutions such as Gangnam, Konkook (Choongjoo), Kyemyung, Gongjoo, Donggook (Seoul), Myungji, Sangmyung (Seoul), Sangmyung (Chunan), Sunmoon, Sungshin Women’s, Sejong, Soonchunhyang, Soongsil, Presbyterian Seminary, Hankuk Aviation, Hannam, Hansei, and Hongik (Seoul) Universities which are for the most part larger and older (Dong A Ilbo Newspaper, 2006 at Korea University Website, 2007).


Daejin University’s courses and DUCC program represent the best profit-making strategy to satisfying Korean students desire to learn Chinese and benefit from a Chinese market orientation in Korean education. The university’s core competencies also represent the methods by which first entrant advantage to a prospective market in terms of growing Chinese regional orientation can be undertaken despite perceived ranking and excel in the development of innovation despite significant future market uncertainties. While the scale of advancement has been small the significance of leadership appears to be exemplified. It is a paradox that a small regional university is setting the standard for the rest in terms of Chinese cooperative educational programs. This perhaps demonstrates Daejin University’s motto of, “Internationalisation and Specialization with General Humanist Ethics” to the point that it demonstrates how to go about it even to its competitors. It will also be interesting to note whether further progress in regional developing nations programs can be made successfully and profitably. Optimism implies that even a small piece of the profits is better than none and small steps are often better than large ones. Daejin University demonstrates concrete evidence of the possibility of Korean higher education internationalization in reality beyond, “rhetoric and disparity” (Kim, 2005:1).


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Anonymous (2007)English Information, Daejin University Website. [Accessed: January 10, 2007]Harbin Campus (DUHC), Daejin University Website. [Accessed: January 10, 2007] Suzchow Campus(DUSC), Daejin University Website. [Accessed: January 10, 2007]

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Lee, T.J. (2007)"China Is A Magnet For S. Korean Students", Straits Times, January 11 2007, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Centre, Government of Singapore.,6240 [Accessed: January 10, 2007]

Mazzoleni, R. and Nelson, R.R. (2005) “The Roles of Research at Universities and Public Labs in Economic Catch-Up”, LEM Papers Series, 2006/01, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy. [Accessed: February 16, 2007]

Shin, G.W. (2002) “The Paradox of Korean Globalization”, Working Paper, The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), Stanford University, Stanford, California. [Accessed: February 17, 2007]

Wu, M. and Yu, P. (2006)“Challenges and opportunities facing Australian universities caused by the internationalisation of Chinese higher education”, International Education Journal, 2006, 7 (3), 211-221, Shannon Research Press, Adelaide, Australia. [Accessed: February 11, 2007]

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