Extending the campus: Case studies

Extending the campus: Case studies

International expansion is a complex endeavor and not without risks that must be identified and managed to achieve success. Learn from the real-world experiences of leading organizations in higher education and their lessons learned as they expand into other countries.

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Case Study 1: Newcastle University in Singapore

Newcastle University, a public research university located in northeast England, is one of the UK’s top research-intensive institutions and has always successfully attracted international students, particularly from East Asia. In 2008, the school entered into a partnership with Singapore’s Ngee Ann Polytechnic to establish a number of degree programs through a joint effort. Per the terms of the agreement, Ngee Ann Polytechnic provided the facilities, infrastructure and administration systems, and Newcastle University delivered the teaching, content and academic support for students.

Today, Newcastle University’s Singapore campus is a clear success and Newcastle has since explored additional partnerships, leading to the establishment of a medical campus in Malaysia.

Here is what Newcastle has learned as a result of their experience:

  • Due diligence is a critical step in the establishment of any transnational expansion and should be conducted in partnership with local service providers who understand the tax, regulatory and structural complexities of operating in the foreign jurisdiction.
  • Withholding and/or transfer taxes may be applied on the transfer of profits back to the home institution and every effort should be made to minimize and plan for this potential tax exposure.
  • Operating in a foreign jurisdiction may require institutions to develop new back office capabilities and capacities to reflect foreign requirements such as accounting, tax and operational management.
  • Relocating academic and administrative staff may trigger significant immigration and tax liabilities that must be identified and managed.
  • Delivering the strategic objectives often takes longer than initially anticipated so it’s important that institutions properly estimate the management and governance capacity and time required to handle the expansion and inevitable changes.

Case Study 2: Queen's University's Bader International Study Centre

In 1993, Dr. Alfred Bader, a successful alumnus of Queen’s University in Canada, donated the Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England to the university. The opportunity to establish an International Study Centre (ISC) led the university to re-conceptualize its international offerings and the Bader ISC was set up as a short-term study abroad campus at which students would attend for one or two semesters during their undergraduate programs.

Today, the Bader ISC is a central element of the Queen’s University international programming and hosts more than 400 Queen’s students each year. It is also widely recognized as an excellent venue for international academic conferences.

Here is what Queen’s has learned as a result of their experience:

  • Maintaining adequate enrollment levels can be a challenge and may require additional investments in marketing, collaborative partnerships with aligned institutions, and increased administrative capacity.
  • Particularly in situations where fees and costs are paid in different currencies, institutions must be aware of the potential currency risks that may result from exchange rate fluctuations.
  • Understanding local employment, taxation and charitable status regulations often requires rigorous due diligence and a locally-based service provider or administrative office.
  • Location is critically important and can provide benefits (such as access to growth markets) or risks (such as high operating costs) for the institution.

Case Study 3: Manipal Global Education's Medical School

Manipal University, a part of Manipal Education and Medical Group, is a leading university in India. Its medical school, Kasturba Medical College, with two campuses in Manipal and Mangalore, has been one of the leading medical schools in India for decades now. Despite its success, the university started to encounter a number of challenges that restricted its growth at home. Foreign expansion seemed to be the clear path forward for Manipal to grow both its revenues and its reputation.

Manipal Education and Medical Group, through its education-focused entity, Manipal Global Education (MaGE), established its first foreign campus in affiliation with Kathmandu University in Nepal in 1994 and today has campuses in Nepal, Malaysia, Dubai and Antigua, with more in the pipeline.

Here is what Manipal has learned as a result of their experience:

  • Near-shore transnational expansions often offer the potential to build up international capabilities within a fairly well-understood market. They can also reduce some of the costs that stem from geographical and cultural differences, as well as enable institutions to attract a much wider range of high quality students.
  • By focusing on core strengths such as specific degree programs or capabilities, higher education institutions can leverage their reputations to enhance success in new markets.
  • The ability to deliver practical certifications and degrees is critical to attracting students and may require institutions to apply for specialized designations within the foreign jurisdiction. However, the regulatory environments can often be complex and time-consuming to navigate through in order to gain the necessary designations and/or accreditations.

Case Study 4: Wageningen UR (University and Research centre)

With a core focus on improving the quality of human life through scientific research, Wageningen UR has developed strong and fruitful partnerships with dozens of academic organizations around the world. As a result, the school now welcomes more than 11,000 students from more than 125 countries to study alongside 6,500 academics and research staff and at least 80 percent of students study abroad for at least some time.

With more than 50 partner institutions spread across more than 23 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America, Wageningen UR has developed a proven approach to building partnerships.

Here is what Wageningen UR has learned as a result of their experience:

  • Successful partnerships are based on strong relationships and clear communication between parties at the outset to ensure that each understands their partner's goals, ambition and commitment to the project. It can often be sensible to develop partnerships through a string of smaller projects in order to fully develop trust and build up confidence.
  • Transnational expansion initiatives can often be enhanced with the support of government and private enterprise.
  • There are a broad range of partnerships that can be established between two or more institutions and each level of partnership must be carefully considered to understand the related benefits and

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