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Environmental Forces in International Banking and Finance Education

MSc. International Banking and Finance Course Analysis

Macro analysis

Like any other business, the MSc International Banking and Finance obtains resources from the business environment and supplies its services and goods (products) to the environment. This implies that there are various levels of environmental forces that do affect the course. Some of these are close and internal forces while others are external. The external forces may be considered as those related to regional, national or international level. The environmental forces provide both opportunities and threats to the course in the business world, and thus it is fundamental to understand the available opportunities while appropriately facing any threats that may emerge. Though it is not possible for any company to change the external environment, various reaction possibilities can be adopted to help an organization to survive in the competitive business environment. In the case of a postgraduate degree in international banking and finance, it is also vital to analyses the possible factors that may have an impact on it in the macro environment as well as the trends in the market so as to have an effective strategy that is in line with the business world requirements. Salford Business School (SBS) gets capital, human resources, information, technology, raw materials and energy from the society. Additionally, the institution follows the rules and regulations set by the government as well as the cultural values and social norms, tax policies and economic rules of the state. Therefore, SBS, and hence the courses offered in the institution can be considered dynamic since they operate in an environment full of dynamics.

Due to the dynamic nature of the business environment in which SBS operates as well as the world into which holders of MSc international banking and finance enter, it is worth looking at some of the factors in the macro-environment that have an impact on students taking a master’s degree in international banking and finance. At this stage, a SWOT analysis may be useful as a strategic planning tool to help one benefit from their strengths and opportunities while eliminating weaknesses and minimizing threats. In relation to the course, the SWOT analysis can be considered as a precursor to the master’s program self-study. Under microanalysis, the SWOT analysis will focus on opportunities and threats that result from external factors. One of the key opportunities for the MSc. International banking and finance is the availability of the necessary university resources to facilitate the success of any student taking this postgraduate course. Some of the resources include handouts, presentations, problem-sheets, bibliographies, and digital resources. Another opportunity is available in terms of the other resources that a student taking this course can access to help them succeed in their studies such as the relevant books, online programmes, foreign films, and CDs.

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On the other hand, the macro environment also presents threats to the MSc. International banking and finance. These involve threats to the completion of this course as well as things in the external environment that are capable of eroding a student`s strength of their program such as the occurrence of internal conflicts within the institution. Threats also entail situations that are out of a student`s control and have the potential to harm their program such as political instability. The greatest challenge arising from external factors in the completion of the postgraduate course is increased competition for Masters Students.

Microanalysis

There are also various forces in the micro-environment that impact SBS and the courses offered by the institution. The microenvironment can be considered as the local environment within which SBS operates as well as where students of MSc. International banking and finance work. Some of the microenvironment aspects that require focus include buyer personas, market trends, key influencers and competitor analysis. Buyer personas play a critical role in providing information regarding the doing and thoughts of prospective students as they compare options in efforts to address a challenge that the institution resolves. In addition to people who just influence, actionable buyer personas help to put the decisions of an institution’s audience into perspective with regard to specific concerns, attitudes, and criteria that motivate prospective applicants to choose a given organization or their competitor.

Market trends are a fundamental part of the microenvironment and focus on the institutions' response to ups and downs in the higher education sector. On the other hand, key market influencers serve as a vital way of reaching out to potential audiences. The key market influencers in relation to the institution and the courses offered include technical professionals, community managers, bloggers and citizens who possess substantial information about the institution. The microenvironment also involves competitor analysis so as to enable the institution to carry out its activities better than its competitors in the education sector. Some of the competitors of Salford Business School include UCLAN, Leeds Beckett, Liverpool John Moores, and MMU.

Under the micro-environment, the SWOT analysis can identify various strengths and weaknesses associated a student`s success in this postgraduate course. One of the strengths of this programmer is what the student is really good at. For instance, as a student pursuing MSc international banking and finance, I have always performed excellently in the banking and financial field. Also, the skills that a student possesses in relation to the course is a potential strength in that it plays a significant role towards the successful completion of the postgraduate programmer. For instance, for a student pursuing MSc International Banking and Finance, having skills such as computational is essential and serves as an added advantage. Another strength for the MSc International banking and finance is the ability of the student to do something better than anyone else in the field. For example, a student pursuing a management course such as MSc project management and possesses management skills will be better positioned for theoretical work.

Similar to the macro-environment, the micro-environment also poses a number of challenges which are termed as weaknesses. One of the major weaknesses for this course is as a result of the skills that a student taking the programmer may be lacking. As such, the student`s success in this course may be hindered. For instance, in the case of MSc international banking and finance, as stated earlier computational skills may be essential, and lack of such skills may subject a student to many challenges when it comes to class work. Another weakness for this postgraduate course is the student being in possession of some personal traits that may, in one way or another, hinder their success in this programmer.

Internal analysis

This involves the identification and evaluation of the programme`s specific characteristics such as resources, capabilities and core competencies. An internal analysis may also include looking at the institution`s current vision, mission as well as strategic objectives in relation to the programs offered in the school. Salford Business School has a vision to “develop next-generation business, management and law research that is industry-relevant and digitally-informed” (Tanimowo, 2013). In terms of the resources, the SBS has employed both tangible and intangible assets in running its programmes. Among the tangible assets are the school facilities that have been properly designed and maintained to provide maximum support to the students undertaking their MSc international banking and finance at the institution, for example the well-equipped library that serves as a knowledge hub for postgraduate students. Another critical resource is the highly qualified group of lecturers and tutors that provide the necessary academic support to the students both at personal and professional levels.

Digital marketing channel audit

The digital marketing channel of SBS plays some key roles in the running, development and progress of the institution. One of these functions is helping in the identification of priorities for the school management and directors in order to direct their agencies and teams to work on. Also, channel audits assist in the creation of a digital marketing activities roadmap that is prioritized and allows for the review of actions as a checklist. In the SBS digital marketing channel audit, the following were identified.

Target audience

With a niche expertise as a world-class education provider, SBS relies heavily on potential postgraduate students from across the UK as well as the potential postgraduate students from international territories. This segment of audience is the most appropriate for the various courses of postgraduate programmes. Some of the available postgraduate courses available at SBS include MSc Accounting and Finance, MSc Financial Service Management, MSc International Banking and Finance and MSc International Corporate Finance among many more. Thus it is vital to create awareness through the digital marketing across the world to encourage more potential students to join the institution to pursue the master’s degree of their choice.

Commercial sector

Salford Business School has extensive experience in the higher education sector, particularly in the provision of postgraduate courses for professional development, consultancy, and professional development services, developing the business leaders of the future. SBS also is an educational excellence recognized by the industry.

Analysis of user interaction with the course-specific sections of the website.

The institution`s website allows for user interaction with course-specific sections. For instance, the website has listed the courses available in the institution while giving the necessary information regarding each course such as the requirements for admission, mode of study as well as the study duration. As such, students willing to join the school are given the opportunity to interact with their programmer of choice through the online platform. It is evident from the website that professional bodies internationally recognize the courses offered at the institution. For students planning to enroll in a Masters course at Salford Business School, they are able to interact with their specific master’s course by looking at the information provided on the website. For instance, a student planning to enroll for postgraduate studies can learn through interaction with the website that they have an option of engaging in an innovation project that is capable of increasing their employability. The site is also rich in information regarding the postgraduate studies such as the 6-month work placement, an assessed internship, a “Live Project” as well as a dissertation. Therefore, it is evident that the institution`s website has been designed to encourage the interaction of its users with the course-specific sections by availing information regarding each postgraduate course. Besides, the website has a section for finding a course whereby the user can extract information about the specific course of their choice and further increasing user interaction.

Literature review on digital marketing environmental analysis

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According to Chaffey and Ellis-Chadwick (2012), digital marketing can be described as a term used to refer to all marketing efforts done online. Thus, organizations leverage digital channels such as social media, Google search, email and websites to establish connections with potential customers. Marketing mainly focuses on the establishment of strong relationships with appropriate audience in a suitable place and at the proper time. Chaffey, Smith, and Smith (2012) provide a list of the standard tactics and assets among them being the website, blog posts, infographics, eBooks and whitepapers, interactive tools, earned online coverage, social media channels, branding assets as well as online brochures and look books. The tactics include content marketing, inbound marketing, social media marketing, affiliate marketing and native advertising. In his research Ryan (2016) found that digital marketing has various benefits to the individual organizations. One of these advantages is the fact that digital marketing gives marketers an opportunity to have a view of accurate results in real time while making it possible to measure the ROI. For instance, digital marketing environmental analysis enables one to know the number of users who viewed the organization’s website by the use of digital analytics software. It is also possible to establish the number of pages the users visited, the device they are using as well as their location. Such information is essential when it comes to prioritization in order to establish the marketing channels on which to spend more time and finances. This is mainly based on the analysis of website traffic. Digital marketing environmental analysis helps in the establishment of the users` interaction level with the organization’s website (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012).

SMART objectives

Objectives for growth- to increase the number of students being admitted annually for various degree programmes both for the u8ndersgraduate and postgraduate studies.

Objectives for leading- to be the leading institution in the region in terms of training and research

Objectives for research- to be among the top institutions when it comes to research and innovation across the world.

Digital marketing plan

Some of the key elements that a digital marketing should include are website, blog, social media marketing, SEO, paid marketing, paid marketing, lead generation, CRM as well as Retargeting. The following will make up the digital marketing plan:

Website: There should be a responsive website that is filled with good content and calls on an action. Additionally, the site is expected to convey important information regarding the school such as the campus, course as well as benefits.

Blog: a good blog should be in put in place that contains educational information and current news topics that will be regularly be updated. In this digital marketing plan, it will also be vital to motivate students and faculty to write and share blogs as a way of conveying information.

Social media marketing: The marketing plan will also involve the use of social media to market the schools as well as the courses being offered. Social media will play a fundamental role in the creation of social media communities and channels that will be fed with high quality and fresh content while actively engaging faculty and students, as well as their guardians.

SEO: On page seo will be properly done with the assistance of a designer or agency. On the other hand, off page Seo will focus on industry-related link building where the school`s target audience frequently or often visit. Google AdWords will be useful to as an online marketing service whereby the school`s web content will be displayed by Google making users to divert their browsing in efforts to obtain more information about Salford Business School hence boosting the institution`s organic SEO. Additionally, Google Trends will serve as a vital tool in keyword analysis to come up with appropriate keyword choice. The tool will allow the evaluation of certain terms` popularity while comparing them against that of others. For instance, Google trends can help to compare which term between “Postgraduate Courses” and “Master`s Courses” is more often searched.

Paid marketing: The digital marketing plan will also comprise of paid marketing where instant results will be obtained in relation to the institution`s branding, leads and traffic display campaign with the school`s keywords.

Lead generation: This will involve the creation of data capture forms on the school`s website along with call on an action, leads are saved in database. Also, leads can be bought from third party education vendors or portal.

CRM: The school will invest in great CRM that will help in long term marketing strategy. Auto importation of all leads, online forms and inquiry to CRM may also prove critical to digital marketing. The digital marketing plan will also involve the follow-up of each lead.

The digital marketing plan will also comprise of other elements such as re-targeting and word of mouth. Word of mouth is considered the most viral method of marketing and in this cased may prove essential.

Literature review on SMART objectives

As stated by Hutton and Rodnick (2009) SMART marketing is an approach that can be used in the creation of efficient marketing campaigns and is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable and times objectives (Baer, 2013). Starting with the specific aspect, marketing objectives imply putting focus on a given goal per plan for maximum efficiency. Hutton and Rodnick (2009) argue that though businesses wish to achieve a number of marketing objectives at a go, it is wise to allow each object have its own plan. The measurable feature of objectives is that which determines the market plan`s success in terms of the goals achieved and milestones made.

Achievable is another indicator that is fundamental for the success of a marketing plan. Thus, it is crucial to ensure that the plan consists of goals that are achievable while realizing growth in the organization. With a realistic set of targets, the staff members are motivated and try to do all that is within their capability in order to make their organization a success (Morrison, 2010). However, there exists a difference between achievable and realistic SMART objectives in terms of resource planning. An example of realistic SMART objectives is having manufacturing expectations which are not above the historical average or sales coverage that are possible with the number of sales staff currently available (Jung, 2007). SMART objectives should also be timed in that the marketing plan should have a proper schedule from the beginning to ending. Thus, a timeline should be created for each project and updates should be done on a regular basis to monitor progress and the potential adjustments that may be needed.

In conclusion, as demonstrated herein, by carrying out a macro and micro analysis, it is possible to shed light on various perspectives of an organization in terms of its working and marketing environment. By carrying out an analysis of the course, MSc International banking, and finance, it is possible to develop an appropriate digital market plan that focuses on the weaknesses and threats that students pursuing the course as well as the institution where the course if offered face. Further, is has been evident that Salford Business School has widely adopted digital marketing to reach more of its targeted audiences hence enhancing its growth as a world-class institution offering professional training and as a leading research institute. Through the adoption of digital marketing, the institution has been able to provide its students and audiences with the opportunity to enjoy user interaction with the specific courses of their choices while obtaining all the information they need regarding the courses on the website. Furthermore, it has been evident that by carrying out analysis of the business environment of an organization, it is possible to formulate digital marketing strategies for the short and long-term goals of the organization.

References

  • Baer, J., 2013. YouTILITY: Why Smart Marketing is about help not hype. Penguin.
  • Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F., 2012. Digital marketing. Pearson Higher Ed.
  • Chaffey, D., Smith, P.R. and Smith, P.R., 2012. eMarketing eXcellence: Planning and optimizing your digital marketing. Routledge.
  • Hutton, G. and Rodnick, S., 2009. Smartphone opens up new opportunities for smart marketing. Admap, 44(11), pp.22-24.
  • Jung, L.A., 2007. Writing SMART objectives and strategies that fit the ROUTINE. Teaching Exceptional Children, 39(4), pp.54-58.
  • Morrison, M., 2010. History of SMART objectives. Rapid Business Improvement.
  • Ryan, D., 2016. Understanding digital marketing: marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. Kogan Page Publishers.
  • Tanimowo, O., 2013 Salford Business School.

Appendix

1. Buyer Persona

Figure 1.0: Buyer persona

2. Key Performance Index (KPI)

Figure 2.0: Key Performance Index of our Marketing Strategies Figure3.0: Profit Margins

3. Gantt Chart

Figure4.0: Gantt chart
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