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Admissions of International Graduate Students: Art or Science? A Business School Experience

Abstract: International students are often well represented in graduate programmes in North America and Europe. Information on foreign countries' education systems and grading schemes is available but cross-country comparisons are often challenging and highly subjective. Therefore, universities have a clear need for calibrating admissions of international students to ensure a fair and cost effective selection process. By comparing the performance of international students in their host institution with their entry qualifications we devise a simple approach to detecting systematic biases in the perceived quality of the applicants and propose corrective actions. We find that by using public information on cross-country comparisons of academic qualifications, country selection biases can occur and produce a substantial impact on international students' performance and failure rates. Our model is based on admission data that are routinely collected by universities which should ensure its broad applicability.

Published on 5th September 2011
Authors Samantha Heslop, Simone Varotto
Series Reference 2007-08