Purpose - This paper aims to explore how post-92 UK universities perceive and manage market orientation (MO) in their export operations of educational services to international students (i.e., export market orientation) (EMO) in the context of international student recruitment.
Design/methodology/approach - Through a case study design, this qualitative research was undertaken amongst 8 post-92 UK universities. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with managers in the international offices of universities.
Findings - The results indicate that EMO in universities consists of information-based activities geared towards foreign markets. Superior knowledge and awareness of the market components is central to the implementation of these information-based activities. This involves market information generation and dissemination, as well as the need for rapid responsiveness due to the changing nature of the higher education market.
Research limitations/implications - The selected methodology makes these results alone unfit for generalising to a larger population. Improved theoretical models are needed for generating more knowledge about the antecedents and consequences of EMO in universities.
Practical implications - The authors believe the findings are particularly relevant for international marketing managers of exporting universities. The current study suggests some implications for international marketing managers when actively managing their marketing activities towards foreign markets.
Originality/value - The paper identifies a gap in current higher education marketing research. The original contribution of the paper is to address this gap so that researchers and practitioners have some understanding of the export marketing behaviour of UK universities in the context of the recruitment of international students.