Competitor analysis in international development postgraduate teaching

This project will support work in the Graduate Institute for International Development and Applied Economics in generating and understanding of the dynamics of their competitor institutions within the UK and the EU. It will include analysis of what they do, their marketing and communication strategies, and their market position.

Department: Agri-Food Economics & Social Science

Supervised by: Dr. Sarah Cardey

The Placement Project

This research is in the field of marketing and communication. The goal of the project is to conduct a set of research that takes an in-depth look at the international development and agriculture education sector in the UK and Europe. This will involve two main tasks. The first is to look at trends in applications and admissions to GIIDAE over a set period of time, to look at the origins of our students, and any trend that can help us understand patterns in applications for study. The second element is to look in-depth at other agriculture and development programmes on offer in the UK, and the EU (to a lesser extent). We want to look at what they are offering, and the different elements of those degree programmes. We also want to understand the marketing of these degree programmes, including identifying their online and offline marketing activities. This placement will feed into broader work being done in the Graduate Institute in developing marketing and communication strategies. The activities of this placement will provide important information about competitors, and inform how to best position ourselves globally in the higher education sector. The research generated will also allow us to use good evidence to guide our communication and marketing plans.


The student’s time will be split into two sets of activities. In one set of work, the student will be given a data set of information about admissions and applications. They will be given support in using quantitative software to analyse the data, and generate a report about trends they find. The second set of work will be to review the main competitors on international development and agriculture, gather data about their activities, and analyse trends. This will be done through online research primarily, using web resources and publicly available information. The student may need to conduct a few interviews with individuals in the University in order to add context to their findings. The student will be asked, at the end of the research project, to present their findings to a selected set of staff in the School. It is estimated that the student will spend one third of their placement on the analysis of admissions information and trends, and two-thirds doing the market research.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

The student will need to be comfortable with computers, and searching for information using online sources. They need to be organised, so that they can be systematic in how they do the research. We will provide training on statistical software that is going to be used, but comfortability with numbers will be an asset. Strong writing skills are important.

Skills which will be developed during the placement

The student will have the opportunity to strengthen their qualitative and quantitative research skills. They will strengthen their skills in using quantitative data analysis software, including how to analyse and interpret quantitative data. They will gain skills in qualitative content analysis and market research. They will develop presentation skills, particularly within a working environment. They will be involved in a range of steps in the research process, including data gathering, analysis, and interpretation and writing up. This project will provide the opportunity for students to learn more about how to present research findings in a real-world context, as we intend to use this information to inform our School activities.

Place of Work

Agriculture building. There is some flexibility in the dates for the placement. These will be negotiated with the successful applicant. The placement will start by the 27th of June at the latest.

Hours of Work

9:00 - 5:00 weekdays

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 20 June 2016 - Friday 22 July 2016

How to Apply

Students should apply with a CV and covering letter to Dr. Sarah Cardey, Director of the Graduate Institute for International Development and Applied Economics. Applications should be emailed to the GIIDAE student office on: All short listed candidates will be invited for an interview.

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