In the 1990s, Monash billed itself as ‘Australia’s international university’. Building on its long record of engagement with Southeast Asia, it generated a strong flow of international students from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia. By the 2000s, students were also joining Monash from China, India and the Middle East.
Business and IT-dominated Caulfield boasted over 37 percent of its student population from overseas by 2011, and almost half (45 percent) of the students at Berwick were international students in 2011.
Vice-Chancellor Richard Larkins strongly felt that as the University moved into the twenty-first century, simply attracting international students wasn’t enough. Monash was at an advantage as it had its Malaysian and South African campuses as well. Larkins argued that these campuses must not only be strong on teaching. ‘The real dividend,’ Larkins said, ‘will come when the campuses are fully mature, research-intensive and linked into the education and research networks of the host countries.’ Monash’s reputation would not hinge solely on teaching; Larkins wanted to emphasise the University’s long-standing research excellence, and ensure all its international campuses met the same high standards as the Australian locations.