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Students-as-customers’ satisfaction, predictive retention with marketing implications: The case of Malaysian higher education business students

Stephen Carter (Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)
Amy Chu-May Yeo (School of Business, Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 13 June 2016




The purpose of this paper is to investigate two areas of interest: first, to determine business student customer satisfiers that could be contributors to students’ current and predicted retention in a higher educational institution (HEI) and second, to use these satisfiers to inform HEI marketing planning.


The survey used 10 per cent of the sampling frame from the faculty total business students population. Descriptive statistics and correlation were employed to describe and measure the relationship between the teaching and non-teaching antecedents of student satisfaction and their five constructs (academic experience, teaching quality, campus life, facilities and placement support) and current and intended retention. Standard multiple regressions were run to measure the β and significant values of the composite variables as stated.


Quantitative results revealed that students were most satisfied with academic experience and it was also the most dominant predictor of students’ retention. Other elements such as quality teaching, facilities and internship, though important for student satisfaction, were not predictors of retention.

Research limitations/implications

Findings based on one Malaysian institution could not be used as a representation of other institutions either locally or internationally.

Practical implications

Suggestions are made as to how HEIs can defend and safeguard their existing and future position by giving maximum attention to both “hard” and “soft” student satisfiers which would add customer value and strengthen their competitive position.


Based on teaching and non-teaching antecedents and constructs, enable HEIs to predict retention and so inform marketing planning in a highly competitive higher education environment.



Carter, S. and Yeo, A.C.-M. (2016), "Students-as-customers’ satisfaction, predictive retention with marketing implications: The case of Malaysian higher education business students", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 635-652.



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