Insight supporting a drive to be the best HE institution in the region

A look at how Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) Global Education is enhancing the student experience across the full reach of the institution.

The Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) Global Education’s commitment offering the highest quality of education is clear, as is their drive to provide an enriching and valued student experience - 87% of their students were either satisfied or very satisfied with their educational experience. Their drive to be the best institution in the region is being helped by their robust use of the ISB and how they use the findings across a wide-ranging stakeholder group to enhance all aspects of the student experience. Here, we talk to Suriani Binte Jamil, Research Assistant at SIM GE, to find out the role ISB plays in their continued success.

SIM GE uses the International Student Barometer for two simple reasons. The first is operational - there is a benchmarking requirement from the regulatory body, the Committee for Private Education, as part of the institution’s certification. The second is however, is far more strategic explains Suriani, 

“We use the ISB because the survey has been providing comprehensive analysis on the motivations, aspirations, expectations, and experiences of our international and domestic students. It uncovers areas for improvement, as well as areas we can celebrate. It also shows existing and emerging trends in student satisfaction and decision-making criteria.

This is all key when it comes to Suriani and team assisting the institution to recruit students, manage expectations, understanding where the education experience excels, as well as identifying areas that would benefit from additional resources. Suriani continues,

“The ISB project contributes to SIM GE’s long and medium terms strategic planning, processes, whilst also supporting informed decision making.”

Like any successful institution, SIM GE has to look at all aspects of the student experience – the ISB enables them to do this, and one of the things Suriani has been looking closely at is the benchmarking element of the survey findings. They want to know how they are doing compared with other institutions in Singapore, in ASIA, and globally. Throughout the institution all departments (or divisions) use the ISB results – across the four key elements of arrival, learning, living, and support - to inform their decision making and to enhance all aspects of the student experience. And these departments aren’t working in isolation from one another – it’s a combined effort as SIM GE strives to make the institution different from the rest, explains Suriani, 

"We use these results to make ourselves even more unique - to differentiate ourselves from the rest of our competitors, so the ISB helps us in terms of positioning the SIM GE brand effectively.”

There are some significant ongoing developments to the SIM GE campus, which means as an institution, they are particularly interested in understanding the campus experience, but are also looking at levels of satisfaction with their systems and facilities so they can better manage aspects of the learning experience. It’s an area SIM GE is strong on – for example, their Finance Department scored 5% higher than the Global average in terms of student satisfaction – and the ISB data has revealed further improvements – student satisfaction with their Academic Advisory Service is increasing year-on-year.

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SIM GE is also keen to use blended learning to a greater extent whilst simultaneously aligning this with what their students actually want. With the pandemic driving the shift towards online learning, SIM GE, like so many other institutions, wants to understand more about students’ perceptions and their experience of that development – they want to use the ISB to help uncover and alleviate any necessary pain points to enhance that learning experience. So, the learning aspects of the ISB are very important to the institution right now.

As a management tool, the ISB is well-used and well-run at SIM GE, with Suriani ensuring the analysis is disseminated throughout the organisation so all stakeholders benefit from the insight it provides. Suriani makes a point of the extent to which this is the case:

“We also use the ISB data to inform high-level discussions with our University Partners (UPs) in the UK, France, Australia and the United States who will be looking at their own results and how they compare against the benchmarks, but also against their KPI. So, the results, analysis and outputs are embedded across the network of universities’ processes.”

Suriani identifies one of the key benefits of the ISB survey as being able to identify the participation - which student populations are giving them the various responses:

“For example, we can identify whether a particular student group would like to do more blended or more online learning. And we can then use the results to alleviate the pain-points and make effective enhancements to the experience. And to do this, as an institution, we involve a wide range of stakeholders, including lecturers.”

The reach of the ISB is far and wide - SIM GE also works closely with colleagues and agents in other countries to continuously improve international recruitment, something that is evident in their ISB results – 95% of SIM GE students agreed that their agent provided helpful services for their visa application, which is 6% higher than the 89% Asia benchmark.

Because the analysis provided by the ISB is so huge covering so many datapoints, in SIM GE’s case across 17,000 students, it could be easy to overlook some minor areas. But In Touch, the new dashboard and reporting tool, is Suriani’s favourite ISB development as it halves the time she spends manipulating the data for sharing across all the institution’s stakeholders.


The progress being made by SIM GE in the area of student satisfaction is significant, and undoubtedly increases both how attractive the institution is to international students, and their students’ propensity to recommend SIM GE. By listening to the student voice and understanding how the institution is performing against their regional and global counterparts, the decisions being made are contributing towards the upwards trend in their students’ experience and satisfaction.

 

The ISB helps institutions make informed decisions to enhance the international student experience and drive successful recruitment and marketing strategies.

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