A recent article in The Economist entitled "Study Abroad: Georgia on Their Minds," discusses the changing influences determining where Chinese students choose to study. It illustrates how Chinese used to dream of getting into Harvard, and how their focus has shifted more towards technology-based institutions such as Georgia Institute of Technology; a prestigious university in Atlanta that has traditionally enjoyed less brand name recognition than Harvard.
According to this article, the number of Chinese applicants to Georgia Tech had surged from 33 in 2007 to 2,309 in 2014. Some of these Chinese applicants are graduates from China's top universities. This surge is particularly interesting given the fact that Chinese are traditionally more obsessed with a schools’ brand name. The trend now, however, appears to be shifting focus towards the goal of obtaining a practical quality education.
The article goes on to state "The ambitions of Chinese students are shifting: no longer are they attracted just by the glittering names. Pursuit of education abroad is becoming an end in itself. Universities far less renowned than Georgia Tech are reaping the benefits. More than 800,000 Chinese went abroad to study at all levels in 2012 and 2013. In those two years they made up more than a quarter of the 3m who had done so since China began opening to the outside world in 1978. At the end of 2013 nearly 1.1m Chinese were studying abroad, according to the Ministry of Education - more than three times as many as a decade earlier. China has long been the largest source of foreign students enrolled in higher education globally, with its share rising steeply. Since at least 2009 China has provided the most foreign students not just to the English-speaking countries of the developed world but also to numerous others including France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Japan and South Korea. "