Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to identify the factors influencing Indonesian students' choice of university by estimating the trade-off students make in selecting a university.
Design/methodology/approach - Conjoint analysis was used to examine the relative importance and the part-worth scores of the attributes that influence students' public university preferences in Indonesia.
Findings - High-school leavers in Indonesia trade off university preferences and view advice from family, friends, and/or teachers, reputation, and job prospects as important factors for selecting a public university. Two different preference-based segments of prospective students were identified from cluster analysis, and classified as either a "social networks-based decision" or a "rational decision" segment. A choice simulator was employed with three propositions, and the segments were found to have dissimilar preferences.
Research limitations/implications - While this paper provides insights on higher-education consumer choice, more research is needed that includes samples from different types of higher-education institutions and fields of study.
Practical implications - A greater understanding of student choice can help to inform marketing practices and customize marketing strategies for each segment by providing important information to principal parties involved in making university choice decisions.
Originality/value - This paper demonstrates the relevance and value of conjoint analysis as an effective analytical tool for the identification of important choice criteria and its potential contribution to the development of more effective marketing strategies.