Student Study Abroad Destination Branding in the VUCA World: The Case of a Private Higher Education Institution in Croatia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


Due to the constant change in the work environment, higher education institutions need to produce students who are capable to adapt in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) work environment. Zagreb School of Economics and Management (ZSEM) uses specific learning pedagogy to prepare students for the work skills they will need in the VUCA environment. This exploratory study examines how international students perceive such learning pedagogy and how this can be used for future branding of ZSEM, and Croatian (private) higher education institutions in general. This research undertakes three focus groups with ZSEM international students. It seeks to explain why and how students choose both ZSEM and Croatia as a study abroad destination. It seeks to explore whether these international students perceive ZSEM learning pedagogy as helpful for the VUCA work environment, and the importance it has in study abroad decision-making process. The findings indicate that students shared positive feedback on the learning pedagogy at the ZSEM through believing that it helps them in developing their interpersonal, intrapersonal, and cognitive competences. The students also highlighted that they were surprised not to find a lot of information about learning pedagogy in existing promotion materials. Croatian private higher education institutions can use their learning pedagogy as a competitive advantage in their positioning as a study abroad destination. Implications highlight the need for the relevant governmental bodies to ensure including branding of Croatia as a study abroad destination in an existing destination branding strategy and by that increase the number of students from around the world to come and study in Croatia.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationnternational Tourism Conference Dubrovnik, 2019 Tourism in the VUCA World: Towards the Era of (Ir)Responsibility
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Tourism Conference Dubrovnik 2019, Dubrovnik, Republika Hrvatska, 6.-9.11.2019
Place of PublicationZagreb
PublisherZagreb Institute for Tourism
ISBN (Print)3789536145454
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • destination choice
  • destination image formation
  • branding
  • Croatia
  • VUCA
  • Higher education institutions


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