Bridging Today’s Students with Tomorrow’s Opportunities

Internationalization Strategies to Leverage Alumni for Brand Positioning of Universiti Sains Malaysia

  • Yussuf Yakubu
  • Syaheerah Lebai Lutfi
  • Sharifah Darweena Syed Amir Feisal
  • Muhizam Mustafa
Keywords: Alumni, Intercultural competency, Internationalization strategy, USMi


This study aims to highlight ways in which we can leverage alumni, especially international alumni, in addressing the challenges that higher education institutions (HEIs) face in marketing their institutions to increase the number of prospective international students. When alumni share their experiences with peers through word-of-mouth (WoM), they have a direct influence on the decision of prospective students on whether or not to study at a particular institution. For students, the lure of an international experience is great, but what that experience offers is critical. To leverage alumni for brand positioning of HEI, it is important to first engage them. Therefore, a large part of the internationalization strategy of the Universiti Sains Malaysia focuses on the student experience to gain cross-cultural competency. This is evident through international experiences, which include activities such as a student exchange program, study abroad, international volunteering, internships, and personal travel that provide students with experiences in another country or cultural context. In this paper, we have also discussed some initiatives undertaken as part of the internationalization strategy — both to promote intercultural competence and to engage our alumni.