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analyze the marketing and competitive environment of University of Sydney in Australia

The key objective of this project is to analyze the marketing and competitive environment of University of Sydney in Australia. The analysis of the marketing and competitive environment will include the following: background of the University of Sydney, market summary and demand assessment, segmentation and target market, current marketing mix analysis, PEST analysis, competitor analysis, SWOT analysis and value and brand analysis.
The method used to accomplish the objectives of this project is a thorough study of the University of Sydney website. The outcome of this project is to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the marketing and competitive analysis of the University of Sydney.
Table of Contents
Abstract 3
Background information. 3
Market summary and demand assessment 4
Segmentation and target market 5
Current marketing mix. 6
PEST analysis. 8
Competitor analysis. 9
SWOT analysis. 9
Value and brand positioning analysis. 11
Conclusion. 12
Background information
The university of Sydney was founded in the Year 1850, being the first university in Australia. Throughout the 160 years, the university has shown a progressive brand name due to the high-quality facilities and the quality of education.
The University of Sydney offers the most extensive range of academic programs offered by any university in Australia. It offers undergraduate courses, postgraduate coursework courses and postgraduate research courses to students.
The University of Sydney vision is leading to improve the world around us. Its mission is to make the lives of people better by not only producing the leaders of the society but also equipping them with such leadership qualities so that the communities could be served at every level.
It however, aims to create a place not only best researchers but also the most promising students could accomplish their full potential.
. The objectives of the University include:

Ensuring that such a culture is adopted within the University that students could realize their full potential.
Deepening the commitment to the undergraduate education so that they develop skills, values and knowledge that could thrive and lead in the rapidly changing world.
Increasing the investments in research so that the best work is obtained which has regional, national and international impact and is well supported with right people, equipment and physical infrastructure.

Market summary and demand assessment
Currently, the University of Sydney is attended by over 52,000 students who represent 134 countries in the world. The percentage of international students in the University is 29% while the ratio of female to male is 57:43. There are close to 280 overseas programs taking place in over 30 countries. It had 33,000 undergraduates and 19,284 postgraduates as at 2014. The University has 3000 academic staff and 300,000 alumni.
The university graduates and faculty is affiliated with five Nobel and two Crafoord laureates. The University has educated a total of six prime ministers and 24 justices of High Court of Australia. It has also produced 24 Rhodes Scholars and several Gates scholars.
The University ranks fifth in the top universities in Australia and it is also one of the leading universities in academics and research worldwide.
Thousands of students look forward to being admitted to the University every year due to its many accredited programs, positive reputation on a world approach and dedicated and skillful faculty.
Segmentation and target market
Borden, (2014) describes market segmentation as the process of grouping customers and clients with specific characteristics and behaviors with the aim of coming up with a unique strategy employed in marketing mix to attract targeted customers. A targeted market is a group of specific people who a company or firm prospects to sell its goods or services argues Armstrong, (2013).
Marketing segmentation is usually based on the following:

Researchers: The most lucrative target market is students who want to undertake research courses. It is because University invests heavily in the research facilities such as Sydney Cytometry, Sydney Imaging, Sydney Mass Spectrometry, Molecular facilities and so on where the existing partners are GE Healthcare, Allegra Orthopaedics, Sirtex Medical Ltd, Qantas among others.

Volunteers and Donors: University also attracts who wish to volunteer by rendering some volunteering opportunities to those who want to make a difference, take a chance to upskill and wish to take advantage of building a professional network. Also, University also attracts the donors for raising money through different online campaigns like INSPIRED for ovarian cancer research, animal welfare outreach program, refugee language program and so on either on the monthly basis or one time donation.
International Students: They are major attraction of the University because International students in Australia usually pay up to 400 percent more in comparison to Australians as far as higher education is concerned. It is because under the Australian Consumer Law, the proprietor has the right to set not only prices but also terms and conditions for the selection criteria. Also, as per the statistics of enrolled students in higher education in Australia, more than one-third of the students are overseas students.
Domestic Students: The University of Sydney helps students to estimate their study costs and offer details on payment options and government HELP loans. Australian citizens, permanent humanitarian holder and eligible New Zealand citizens pursuing postgraduate courses are entitled to FEE-HELP, a government loan that lets students pay their tuition fees once they begin working (https://sydney.edu.au/about-us.html). The Australian government subsidies the tuition fees of a local undergraduate student pursuing an award course.
Students interested in Sports and Fitness: University of Sydney has Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF) Club that offers programs and membership options that could suit everyone. Its membership renders access to over 220 cardio machines, 65 group classes and 40 sporting clubs. Therefore, student who are attracted to sports and fitness is a lucrative target market.
Students interested in Extra-Curriculum Activities: University of Sydney Union offers access to more than 200 university clubs and societies which helps the students to practice their leadership skills, learn new things, make friends and so on. Hence, the University targets the students who are interested in participating in various programs related to technology, language, politics, culture, or interested in running their own events on campus.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students:  The University provides special assistance and support to them from admissions to graduation which include advocacy support, pastoral care, faculty staff and mentors, referrals and tutorial assistance along with offering them guaranteed and subsidised residency in University-owned accommodation under Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Accommodation Award 2017. Therefore, this is the target market for University.
Disable and other Minority Groups: The University launched a Disability Action Plan in 2013 to make education and career targets are attained by each and every student and staff member. The University also created an Ally Network to support the incorporate of gays, lesbians, transgender, bisexuals, intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) members of the society (https://sydney.edu.au/about-us.html). The University is committed to promoting gender equity and provides equal academic and work opportunities to both men and women.

On the basis of psychographics

Following are the motivations among the students to study from the University of Sydney:

To Study from one of the top student cities in the world and experience high quality of life.
To benefit from the opportunities of research and industry partnerships offered by University. For instance, University excels in life sciences as the Nature Index’s Life Sciences Score has jumped by 16% and moved to third place among the rankings of Australian organizations.
To study from globally recognized institutions which has 45th position in the 2017 Best Global University rankings and 2nd position in Australia.
To increase the job prospects as University of Sydney is the top university of Australia for Graduate employability and 4th in the world where students secure full-time work.


On the basis of behavior.

University targets specially the quality buyers, as it believes in the fact that students are ready to pay a lot of money for services they believe are of high quality.  Many people sought an opportunity to join the University of Sydney because of the benefits that come along with it such as its many accredited programs and the positive reputation that the University has on a world approach.
Current marketing mix

Product :

The University offers not only the educational service in various faculties such as Agriculture and Environment, Architecture, Design and Planning, Arts and Social Sciences, Business, Dentistry, Education and Social Work, Engineering and Information Technologies, Health Sciences, Law and Medicine and so on as a product but also add-on benefits that refer to core product and augment product to the students. University offers mentoring programs to the new comers by providing services like peer-based mentoring for the first-year students and mentoring programs like Lucy program, where the undergraduates are helped to match with senior managers in private and public sector. Also, programs like Incubate help the students in finding potential sponsors who could help them by investing money in their ideas. Also, the services such as Learning Support, Disability support, Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students. Also, career services provided by University including Jobs database, career counselling, job search tips and skills workshops are included in this.
In addition to this, to support the International students, a team of compliance officers has been provided who help students with basic issues related to general academic progression and student visas. Along with this, helping them in settling in and setting up such as finding accommodation, organizing schooling if school-age dependents are brought along with the students.
The other benefits include University student email account, access to wi-fi, printers, scanners and computers. Along with this, the research facilities provided by Universities are also also categorized an important part of product offered by the University to the students.


Price for International students and Domestic students vary for different courses and is around $8000 per year for domestic students and $35,000 per year for International students. However, financial stress reduces to great extent on special help provided to domestic and international students by Student Bursaries (type of scholarship awarded depending upon the financial need), interest-free loans up to 20,000 which could be paid back between 12 months or before the completion of graduation, Australian Mobility Grants applicable for current students of University who want to undertake credited short-term or semester-long studies abroad offered under schemes Endeavour Mobility Grants and New Colombo Plan Mobility Grants and Scholarships. In addition, the scholarships are also provided to postgraduate research students in addition with Fee Offset and Stipend (international students) scholarships and the Australian Government’s Research Training Program Stipend (domestic students). Furthermore, scholarships are also specifically for mature-age students, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (such as the Breadwinners’ Programme), performers and elite athletes. However, scholarships are available for anyone achieving an excellent ATAR.
The University of Sydney helps students to estimate their study costs and offer details on payment options and government HELP loans. A student’s tuition fees are calculated based on his or her residency, calendar of study and the enrolled course. Australian citizens, permanent humanitarian holder and eligible New Zealand citizens pursuing postgraduate courses are entitled to FREE-HELP, a government loan that lets students pay their tuition fees once they begin working (https://sydney.edu.au/about-us.html). The Australian government subsidies the tuition fees of a local undergraduate student pursuing an award course.


The University of Sydney has numerous teachers, researchers and students located all over Australia from inner city of Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef. The teachings and research locations for different faculties has many campuses that include: Camperdown, Cumberland Campus, Camden Campus, Mallet Street Campus, Rozelle (Sydney College of the Arts), Sydney Medical School Campuses and Teaching Hospitals, Surry Hills Campus, 133 Castlereagh Street, CBD, Sydney Conservation of Music and One Tree Island Research Station. Local students have the option to personally visit the respective campuses and gain the information and also apply for the courses in person. However, the most convenient option to all the students is to apply online for the courses or say purchase online at time of their convenience after fulfilling the requirements of entry such as IELTS score for international students and so on. However, it may be noted that there are four main steps involved in the process of admission i.e. Apply, Receive an offer from University, Accept and Enrol. Furthermore, students overseas could apply through the education agents in their respective countries.


The prime mode of promoting the University is the main website of University (http://sydney.edu.au/)   where all information is found related to courses, campuses and so on. The University of Sydney promotes itself majorly by advertisement. The advertisement is approached differently under various methods. They are enhanced through on-campus activations, on-campus advertisement, social media and the three university’s websites sponsored by University of Sydney Union which are usu.edu.au, hermannsbar.com, and manningbar.com. The social media has also grown with approximately 16000 likes on Facebook and 2,095 followers on twitter, 4,530 followers on Instagram. Not only this, but University also promotes itself through You Tube and the Snapchat.
Also, University website has links to the “Agents overseas” under the Homepage http://sydney.edu.au/study/admissions/apply/agents-overseas.html, from where the International students could find the consultants in their respective countries who could guide them in submitting the application for the entry in the University.
PEST analysis
PEST analysis is an acronym that stands for Political, Economic, Social and Technological. It is a strategic tool that is used to analyze the Political, Economic, Social and Technological changes that occur in a business environment. PEST analysis is beneficial to because it helps a business to identify opportunities, reveals threats facing a business, gives a business a direction of change and saves you from beginning projects that have a high probability of failing (Armstrong, 2013). The following table analyzes the Political, Economic, Social and Technological environment of the University of Sydney:

Commonwealth migration and education policies act as barriers in obtaining visas
Changes in Federal budget announcements
Increased competition from international students

Course-related expenses are catered so since individuals are charged as from their residential status.
Variations in the economy of countries
Rising inflation in the country’s economy
Interest rates

The use of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram  by the University of Sydney attracts students but negative feedback could also impact the University.
Demographic changes may affect enrollment of students.

Need of updating continuously in technological resources for research e.g. having the first virtual linear accelerator machine in Australia.

Competitor analysis
The University of Sydney has many competitors in Australian with whom it competes academically with. University of Melbourne holds the first position in the top universities in Australia in 2016-2017 QS World University Rankings followed by Australian National University. The University of Sydney holds the third position in the top universities in Australia. Apart from University of Melbourne and Australian National University, the University of Sydney also faces competition from University of Queensland and Monash University which rank fourth and fifth respectively in the top five universities in Australia (https://sydney.edu.au/about-us.html).
The University of Sydney also faces competition from other Universities in Australia in sporting activities such as basketball and volleyball. It was named champions in the 2016 Unibattle 3*3 basketball competition after beating universities such as Victoria University and University of Melbourne (https://sydney.edu.au/about-us.html).
SWOT analysis
SWOT analysis is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is a framework used to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats within a business environment and respond accordingly to them (Armstrong, 2013). The following table shows the SWOT analysis of the University of Sydney:

1.      Many accredited programs
2.      Positive reputation on a world approach i.e. ranking among the top
3.      Dedicated and expert faculty
4.      Proactive student access to services and resources

1.      Adjustment to growth pressures due to the vast student population it has to handle
2.      Reporting requirements demand a lot of resources making it costly
3.      Unequal and high workloads staff and faculty

1.      Has a higher growth potential due to the large number of students it admissions
2.      Increased value of higher education trends through research
3.      Amazing partnership opportunities with organizations such as Qantas
4.      Diversity of regions in that it is located in many parts of Australia

1.      Perception of education as the only means to a job
2.      Focusing on numerical achievement rather than qualitative achievement
3.      Development of other universities which pose competition to it

Value and brand positioning analysis
The University of Sydney is one of the top universities in the world in research and academics. The University positions itself in the mind of consumers as a brand ambassador for its research and teachings. However, the positioning statement used by University is “Leadership for Good starts here” which encourage the idea of leaders of present and future.
However, it was one of the first universities to admit students exclusively on academic merit, and to provide the same academic opportunities offered to men to women.
The University of Sydney has formed partnership with the following organizations: Rio Tinto, Qantas, Sirtex Medical Ltd, GE Healthcare, Defence Science and Technology, Allegra Orthopaedics and Elastagen. Through these partnerships, the University intends to promote further research and development for their partners and create products, services and systems that will profit the global community.
The university offers scholarships programs to contribute towards the financial freedom of the students to enable them to focus on their studies.  The University leads not only in academics but also in sporting activities such as basketball. It was able to take the top position in both the men and women’s league in the 2016 Unibattle 3*3 basketball competition. Hence, it could be said that the University has marked its leadership in almost all the fields not only education and research but also sports and fun.

The University of Sydney strategy of creating a place the best researchers and most promising students can achieve their full potential has a placed it on a stable market position (https://sydney.edu.au/about-us.html). However, having a look at its SWOT analysis, it still goes a room for growth. There is need to optimize its functioning by improving on its weak areas and maximizing on its opportunities.
Armstrong, M. (2013).Armstrong’s handbook of performance management: an evidence-based guide to delivering high performance. Kogan Page Publishers.
About us page retrieved from https://sydney.edu.au/about-us.html
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Grönroos, C. (2014). From marketing mix to relationship marketing: towards a paradigm shift in marketing. Management decision, 32(2), 4-20.
Powers, J. P. E. C. J., Accord, H., Van, T. S. M., Cadillac, S. T. S., & Lexus, L. S. (2014). Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy.
Weinstein, A. (2014). Market segmentation: Using demographics, psychographics, and other niche marketing techniques to predict and model customer behavior. Probus Publishing Company.
Yoo, B., Donthu, N., & Lee, S. (2015). An examination of selected marketing mix elements and brand equity.Journal of the academy of marketing science, 28(2), 195-211.

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