From ‘candidates’ to ‘grandmasters’: internationalization strategies of universities

Victoria S. Beliaeva, Elena D. Frolova


Relevance. Higher education is one of the main areas for the development of national and world economy. To remain competitive on the national and international markets of higher education, universities need to invest considerable financial, human and other resources into internationalization. There is, however, no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution and universities may choose from an array of strategies to become more visible on the international arena and to move up the global rankings.

Research objective. The purpose of this article is to clarify the concept of internationalization in the field of higher education, to identify the key factors that influence universities’ success in internationalization and to explore the strategies and activities used by universities from different countries to internationalize.

Materials and Methods. Methodologically, this study relies on the methods of directed content analysis, cluster analysis with SPSS statistics, case studies and interviews. The sample included 32 universities from Western Europe, China and Japan, Russia and the USA – participants of international programs of competitiveness enhancement.

Results. 7 key factors that determine the success of a university’s internationalization efforts were identified, the most important of which are financial resources and international interaction. The study also proposes a methodology based on calculation of the internationalization index, which can be applied to determine this or that university’s type and choose the optimal activities to enhance its internationalization.

Conclusions. Relocation of the university to a type (cluster) of a higher level through the implementation of the proposed activities can be considered as a modern way of their internationalization.


internationalization of higher education, world class university, comparative analysis, integration into the world economic system, university internationalization, types of universities

Full Text:



Ammar Al Hauazh, & Asmyatullin, R.R. (2016) Strategy for the Export of Educational Services in the Gulf Countries. In: Moseikin Yu.N. (ed.). World Economy in the XXI Century: Global Challenges and Development Prospects: Collection of articles. Materials of the International Scientific and Practical Conference. Moscow, November 25, 2016 (pp. 421–424). Moscow: RUDN. (In Russ.)

Arzhanova, I.V. & Vorov, A.B. (2016) The potential of education export by leading Russian universities. Universitetskoe upravlenie = University management: practice and analysis, 106(6), 6–17. (In Russ.) doi: 10.15826/umj.2016.106.054

Asmyatullin, R.R. (2015). The market of educational services in Oman: opportunities for Russia. In: Belova I.N. (ed.). Actual problems of the global economy: Proceedings of the scientific conference of young scientists of the Faculty of Economics (pp. 20–23). Moscow: Publishing house ‘Econ-Inform’. (In Russ.)

Ayşe Nil, T. (2018). Tax Expenditure Aspect of University Education: the model of Turkey. In: Research Advancements in National and Global Business Theory and Practice. Conference readings book proceedings 11th Annual Conference of the EuroMed Academy of Business September 12–14, 2018, Valletta, Malta (pp. 1302–1311).

Bedniy, A.B. (2016). Internationalization of education: conceptual foundations and practical experience of Lobachevsky University. Universitetskoe upravlenie: praktika i analiz = University management: practice and analysis, 106(6), 18–25. (In Russ.) doi: 10.15826/umj.2016.106.055

Beliaeva, V., & Mariev, O. (2020) Differentiation of world – class universities as an important element of internationalization enhancement. In: ICERI2020 Proceedings (pp. 722–730).

Beliaeva, V. (2018) Increasing the effectiveness of the Russian Federal universities’ internationalization. In: ICERI2018 Proceedings (pp. 2403–2409).

Beliaeva, V.S., & Frolova, E.D. (2021). Differentiation of universities as a feature of the internationalization of the modern stage of higher education. International Research Journal, 8-4, 106–110. (In Russ.) doi: 10.23670/IRJ.2021.110.8.136

Beregovaya, O.A., & Kudashov, V.I. (2019). Internationalization of higher education in the context of globalization. Persoektivi obrazovania = Prospects for Science and Education, 3, 31–43 (In Russ.) doi: 10.32744/pse.2019.3.3

Chupina, V.A., & Pleshakova, A.Yu. (2015). Internationalization of the process of higher professional education: problems and vectors of development. Gumanitarnie nauchnie issledovania = Humanitarianresearch, 11. (In Russ.) Retrieved from:

Danilchenko, A.V., Bertosh, E.V., & Malashenkova O.F. (2015). Internationalization of countries and companies business activity. Minsk: BSU. 295 p. (In Russ.)

De Wit, H. (2019). Evolving Concepts, Trends, and Challenges in the Internationalization of Higher Education in the World. Voprosi obrasovania = Educational Studies, 2, 8–34. (In Russ.) doi: 10.17323/1814-9545-2019-2-8-34

De Wit, H. (2020). Internationalization of Higher Education: The Need for a More Ethical and Qualitative Approach. Journal of International Students, 10(1), i-iv. doi: 10.32674/jis.v10i1.1893

Kleiner, G.B. (2019). University as an Ecosystem: Institutes of Interdisciplinary Management. Zurnal institusionalnih issledovanii = Journal of Institutional Studies, 11(3), 54–63. (In Russ.). doi: 10.17835/2076-6297.2019.11.3.054-063

Knight, J. (2005). Internationalization of Higher Education: New Directions, New Challenges. IAU Global Survey Report 2005. Paris: International Association of Universities.

Kosevich, A.V. (2010) Competitive strategies of the world leaders in the export of educational services. Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Seriya Ekonomika = Bulletin of the Moscow State Regional University. Series: Economics, 4, 13–18. (In Russ.).

Lee, B.K., & Cai, H. (2019). Evaluation of an Online ‘Internationalization at Home’ Course on the Social Contexts of Addiction. Journal of Studies in International Education, 23(3), 365–388. doi: 10.1177/1028315318797155

Mc Aleer, M., Nakamura, T., & Watkins, C. (2019). Size, Internationalization, and University Rankings: Evaluating and Predicting Times Higher Education (THE) Data for Japan. Sustainability, 11(5), 1366. doi: 10.3390/su11051366

Myslyakova, Yu.G., & Usova, N.V. (2020). Digital transformation of educational services in the context of global challenges: a regional aspect. Gosudarstvennoe upravlenie = Public Administration, 82, 326–345. (In Russ.) doi: 10.24411/2070-1381-2020-10105

Novikova, E.S. (2021). Export of higher education as the tool for competitiveness improvement of economies in the world. Mezdunarodnaya torgovla i torgovaya politika = International Trade and Trade Policy, 7(2), 133–148. (In Russ.) doi: 10.21686/2410-7395-2021-2-133-148

Papanastassiou, M., Pearce, R., & Zanfei, A. (2020). Changing perspectives on the internationalization of R&D and innovation by multinational enterprises: A review of the literature. Journal of International Business Studies, 51, 623–664. doi: 10.1057/s41267-019-00258-0

Krasnova, G.A., & Ponomarenko, E.V. (ed.). (2015). Partnership between France and Russia: internationalization of education, science, economy: collection of articles. Moscow: Delo. (In Russ.)

Pavlov, V.P., & Zashchitina, E.K. (2020). World-class university in the era of digitalization. Vestnik RUDN = RUDN Journal of Economics, 28(4), 681–699. (In Russ.) doi: 10.22363/2313-2329-2020-28-4-681-699

Scott, A., & Nazli, W. (2018). Participant Centred Learning in Management Education: the case for learning in Turkey. In: Research Advancements in National and Global Business Theory and Practice. Conference readings book proceedings 11th Annual Conference of the EuroMed Academy of Business September 12–14, 2018, Valletta, Malta (pp. 1494–1497).

Sergeev, A., & Ryzhkova, I. (2010). Specificity of internationalization of higher education in the framework of the Northern Dimension. Baitiisky region = Baltic Region, 3. 33–49. (In Russ.) doi: 10.5922/2074-9848-2010-3-5

Smaliakou, D.А. (2019). The Genesis of Higher Education Internationalisation. The Education and science journal, 21(8), 9–28. (In Russ.) doi: 10.17853/1994-5639-2019-8-9-28

Stukalova, I.B. (2017) Integration in the field of higher education. Vestnik Mariiskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta = Vestnik of Mari State University, 11(3), 40–49. (In Russ.) Retrieved from:

Stukalova, I.B. (2019). Competitiveness of Russian Universities and Academic Rankings. Sovremennoe obrazovanie = Modern Education, 2, 1–7. (In Russ.) doi: 10.25136/2409-8736.2019.2.29724

Taradina, L.D., Shlentova, A.E., & Ivashkevich, A.A. (2021) Transformation of the States’ Academic Attractiveness under the Pandemic. Universitetskoe upravlenie = University Management: Practice and Analysis, 25(1), 117–130. (In Russ.) doi: 10.15826/umpa.2021.01.009

Van der Wende, M. (2007). Internationalization of Higher Education in the OECD Countries: Challenges and Opportunities for the Coming Decade. Journal of International Education, 11(3-4), 274–289. doi: 10.1177/1028315307303543

Woldegiyorgis, A.A., Proctor, D., & de Wit, H. (2018). Internationalization of Research: Key Considerations and Concerns. Journal of Studies in International Education, 22(2), 161–176. doi: 10.1177/1028315318762804

Xu, Kh., & Zhang, Ts. (2021). Studying Higher Education Internationalization: New Methods and Approaches. Universitetskoe upravlenie = University Management: Practice and Analysis, 25(2), 123–140. (In Russ.) doi: 10.15826/umpa.2021.02.019


Copyright (c) 2021 Victoria S. Beliaeva, Elena D. Frolova

Сertificate of registration media №04-27008 от 28.04.2021
Online ISSN 2412-0731