Trends, insights and research to inform growth and innovation strategies in international higher education.

December 23, 2009

GMAT Internationalized: Twice as many Chinese women take GMAT as Indian

According to the recent numbers released by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) for the testing year from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009:
"approximately 51 percent of the exams administered during the period were taken by citizens of nations other than the United States. This is the first time since the GMAT’s creation in 1954 that non-U.S. test takers have accounted for a majority of exams during a testing year."
GMAT is officially internationalized with more test takers being non-US citizens as compared to US citizens. GMAT test numbers clearly indicate that global demand for MBA is still growing. While GMAT is primarily used by US B-schools, demand for GMAT among Indians is driven by the growth of B-schools like ISB and IIMA-PGPX, which require GMAT for admissions to their MBA programs. For example, ISB retained its position as the #1 school to which Indian citizens send GMAT reports and IIMA entered at #9 for the testing year 2008. Harvard ranked fifth and Stanford tenth.

According to GMAC report, "Tests taken by citizens of India were up 7 percent in testing year 2009, to 30,633, capping a 128 percent increase during the past five years." Recession or not, GMAT numbers for India have been growing consistently.

Contrasting numbers for India and China
Like India, number of GMAT test takers increased for China too, however the drivers for growth are different. In TY 2008, top-5 schools to which Chinese send GMAT scores are still US schools, as compared to India where ISB and IIM have emerged as bigger drivers.

At other level, Chinese numbers are supported by the increasing number of women taking GMAT test. For the TY 2009, nearly twice as many Chinese women (14,659) took GMAT as compared to Indian women (7,370). Likewise, number of Chinese men taking GMAT is nearly 40% of the Indian men taking GMAT (8,891/23,263).

Over last five years, proportion of Indian women taking GMAT test has remained pretty much stagnant at around 23-24%. While for Chinese, proportion of women taking GMAT has increased from 56% to 62%, indicating increasing demand for MBA among Chinese women.
Based on these contrasting numbers, we can see that there are drivers which are helping Chinese women to pursue global MBA as compared to Indian women who are not seeing as much value addition from MBA. In India, ISB is one of the very few institutions which has consciously worked towards increasing awareness and access to women in its MBA programs. Nearly one-fourth of student body at the ISB comprises of women (150/579 students) In my earlier article in Economic Times, I also mentioned that B-schools need to partner with industry to create pipeline for professionally trained women managers. Goldman Sachs' project of 10,000 women managers is one such project.
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December 17, 2009

Guru Mantra: Dr. Raman Menon Unnikrishnan, California State University

Dr. Raman Menon Unnikrishnan is the Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at California State University, Fullerton. He is active in teaching and research in the areas of Control Systems, Power Electronics and Signal Processing. He has been a consultant to several industries and governmental agencies, and has been involved in technical and professional education for industries. He is active nationally and internationally in the field of engineering education and engineering accreditation.

Prior to joining Cal State Fullerton in 2001, Dr. Unnikrishnan was on the faculty of the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York where he also served as Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research for the College of Engineering from 1989 to 1991 and as the Head of the Electrical Engineering Department from 1991 to 2001. He received his BSEE degree from the University of Kerala in India, MSEE degree from South Dakota State University and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Unnikrishnan’s interests have always transcended his disciplinary base. At CSUF he has collaborated with the colleges of education, business and, humanities and social sciences in projects that are multidisciplinary in scope. He is a member of the Board of ASEI as well as WIDF (World India Diabetes Foundation) as a non-medical and non-diabetic representative. He is a member of the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce. He has been honored by numerous groups including the CSUF Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association for his work in reaching out communities beyond his college.

Dr. Unnikrishnan is a past Chairman for the Rochester Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and has chaired many governing committees of the section. He is the recipient of the Eisenhart Award for Excellence in Teaching at RIT, a special professionalism award from the Xerox Corporation and an IEEE Region 1 Award for Leadership on advancing the continuing education needs of the engineering community. In 2000, he received the IEEE Third Millennium Award for Outstanding Achievements and Contributions. In 2006 he received the Missouri Honor Award for being an outstanding alumnus. Since 2008 he has been a Commissioner of the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. In 2009 he was named “Distinguished Engineer” by South Dakota State University.Dr. Unnikrishnan is a Fellow of IEEE.

[I was born in Ernakulam/Cochin in central Kerala. I received my BSEE from the College of Engineering, Trivandrum of the University of Kerala and started the M Tech program at IIT Kharagpur. Did not finish the program at Kharagpur since I received a fellowship to come to the US.]

Rahul- Please share some of the highlights of your work as the Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Cal State Fullerton.
Dean Unnikrishnan- Some of my achievements as dean at CSUF is given below:
* Completed a Strategic Planning process for the College of Engineering and Computer Science that resulted in forging a vision for the college. The five definable and measurable points contained in the strategic plan are Recruitment, Retention, Research, Resources and Reputation.
* Established a major thrust for graduate recruitment with a focus on international recruitment in the college to take advantage of the dozens of cooperative agreements signed by the President and universities in primarily Latin America, Europe and Asia.
* Balanced the College of Engineering and Computer Science budget by instituting prudent fiscal controls and oversight every year since 2003-04, for the first time ever in the history of the college. The college had record deficits in the past.
* Established programs in computer engineering and software engineering. The MS program in Software Engineering is the first completely on-line program in the College and the second in the university. This program is reported to be among the top 5 such programs in the nation.
* Developed a close working relationship with Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and his staff as well as the offices of Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana) and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). With help from Federal resources, he established a “National Center for Water Hazard Mitigation.” A similar initiative for establishing a “Center for Landslide and Earthquake Associated Research (CLEAR)” is underway.
* Active in the engineering accreditation field, he has led teams or has been a program evaluator in the US and abroad. His international experience includes accreditation visits to Turkey, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar. In 2009 he was appointed a mentor to India representing the Washington Accord.

Rahul- What are the top two competencies required to be a successful university leader?
Dean Unnikrishnan- This question was asked when I was interviewing for the dean’s job. “Thick skin and short memory,” I answered and the audience laughed and I got the job. Little did I know at that time how prophetic that off-the-cuff remark would become.

The position of a dean is one of the most self-directed positions that there is. One needs to swallow the pride with disappointments, focus on the long-term objectives and move on. Also, when people vent, one needs to forget, forgive and move on.

Beyond these, one needs to have some level of continued technical competency to garner respect from students, faculty and staff. I have strived to maintain my professional competency in spite of the many time consuming administrative commitments.

Finally, the axiom “a healthy mind in a healthy body” has been a guiding light for me. The stress that I experience at work melts away in the running trail. I have run many long distance events in the past including the 2009 Surf City Marathon. These runs and the training that goes along with them allow me to sharpen my mind, put the proverbial thinking cap during the many hours during the runs and thus maintain my sanity.

Rahul- Recently, India's bid for full membership to Washington Accord was turned down. You were one of the two mentors who visited India and reviewed India's application. What are top two recommendations you have for a) engineering institutions and b) policymakers for improving quality of engineering education in India.
Dean Unnikrishnan-
1. Separation of AICTE and NBA. Currently, NBA is subsumed by the supervisory weight of AICTE and the independence of NBA is shadowed by the allegations that have plagued AICTE. NBA must be an independent body with no political interference in order for the rest of the world to trust Indian accreditation process. We recommended the formation of a “National Board for Engineering Accreditation.”

2. The quota system is the scourge of quality. India is dumbing down its prominence to placate interest groups. I have enclosed a couple of slides from my presentation that graphically represents how poor quality students getting in through the miserable quota system propagates into poor quality graduates who then receive preferential entry into graduate school. The graduate school products receive quota based preference in teaching positions. They go on to teach poor quality students. The system disengages within a couple of cycles.
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December 09, 2009

International Schools: Pipeline for International Undergraduate Admissions

IIE Open Doors report for academic year 2008/09 indicated overall higher growth for undergraduate enrollments (10% increase) as compared to the graduate enrollments (2.3% increase). Specifically for India, nearly 725 more students were enrolled at the undergraduate level as compared to 3,300 fewer students enrolled at the graduate level in the academic year 2008/09. Although these numbers reflect enrollments before the setting of recession last fall, they clearly indicate that undergraduate level enrollments were gaining momentum as compared to graduate level for Indian students.

What is driving the growth of undergraduate level enrollment for India? The primary factor is the increasing base of wealthy individuals who have both the willingness and ability to spend money for better quality education both in India and abroad. Most of the Indian students (~70% in the US in 2008/09) have been studying abroad at the graduate level as duration for these programs is 1-2 years as compared to 4-years of undergraduate programs and also because they get funding in the form of assistantships/scholarships at graduate level as compared to limited scholarships available for undergraduate programs. Thus, affordability was the biggest constraint for Indian students aspiring to study abroad for undergraduate degrees.

With the increasing economic growth and expansion of elite class, affordability is finally catching up with aspirations. According to Merrill Lynch, although 2008 was a terrible investment year, the number of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI with invested wealth of at least $1 million) Indians was 84,000. The population of HNWI in India is projected to be more than triple the size in 2018 as compared to 2008. Overall, this suggests larger base of prosperous families who would demand quality education and afford expensive undergraduate college for their children.

The growth of International Baccalaureate schools in India is an indicator that emerging wealthy class of India is ready to shell out significant amount of money for higher quality education.  For example, annual fee for IB programs could very easily be INR 100,000 per month (~US$ 2,000 p.m). At Oberoi International School, Mumbai, the annual tuition fee for IBDP (XI and XII grade) is INR 600,000 (~US$ 12,000).To put in perspective purchasing power of INR 600K, one could buy a brand new Ford Fusion in India with this money.

Even at this high price, IB has seen consistent growth in number of schools and enrollments (see Table). Currently, there are 65 IB World Schools in India offering one or more of the three IB program with more than 10,000 students registering for IB exams across the grades for 2009. The number of schools offering IBDP (XI/XII grade) doubled in three years from 30 in 2006 to 61 in 2009. Likewise, average number of students registered for IBDP grew four-fold in six years from 390 students in 2004 to 1650 in 2009.

This trend of growth of international schools is not limited to IB programs and other boards like the University of Cambridge International Examinations have become quite popular and have more than 200 schools offering its programs. A recent story in the New York Times noted that the enrollment for all international schools across grades grew to 45,873 in May'09 from 32,276 a year earlier and 5,600 in 2000.

This growing number of enrollment in international schools is a solid feeder pipeline for international undergraduate admissions. These international schools are  not only a captive segment for US colleges but also for European destinations as international schools provide a better opportunities of learning foreign language like German or French.

Even though the IB program faces some challenges in terms of curriculum and compatiability with the Indian education system, it has emerged as a promising route for students aspiring for undergraduate education abroad.Undergraduate admission officers should leverage this opportunity of engaging and attracting students at international schools to attend their universities.
- Rahul
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December 06, 2009

Guru Mantra: Rex Whisman, Principal, BrandED

Rex Whisman
BrandED consultants group

Rex Whisman is principal of the Denver-based, BrandED consultants group. Prior to founding BrandED, Rex was the assistant vice chancellor for communications and marketing at the University of Denver , where he led one of the first inside out approaches to higher education brand development. Rex is a blogger, brand strategist and keynote speaker. He has presented at numerous conferences and institutions in Australia , Canada , Europe and the United States . Rex is a member of the United Kingdom-based Academy of Marketing and the vice president for brand management at the Colorado Chapter of the American Marketing Association. Rex is a recognized international thought leader in higher education brand building, and develops strategies that allow institution’s to align their internal culture and external reputation. Rex believes a sustainable brand is based on mission, core values and stakeholder engagement. He advocates building a brand that honors the history and traditions of the institution, positioning it in a modern context, and executing the brand strategy through social media, mobile marketing and other technology.

Rahul- What are some of the unique challenges in building education brands as compared to other industries? How do you propose to overcome these challenges?
Rex- Brand building is still relatively new to higher education. Other industries such as financial services, health care, retail, transportation and other industries embraced branding much earlier than higher education. It might appear on the surface that the challenges in higher education are unique, but they are not. Organizations and industries go through an evolutionary process of brand building. In the early stages most organizations simply replace terms like advertising and marketing with the word branding. Many higher education institutions started their brand building efforts by limiting their approach to these visual representations. Once organizations realize that approach does not work and is not sustainable, the organization begins to believe that brand is more about developing a culture to support the mission and vision of the organization. This is where authentic brand building starts. I believe higher education as an industry is now at this point in the process.

In the book, Taking Brand Initiative, authors Mary Jo Hatch and Majken Schultz discuss three waves of branding. During the first wave, a marketing mind-set is established when communications and marketing professionals are charged with leading an organizational brand initiative. The approach is usually about visual executions that target external audiences like prospective customers and does not involve many internal stakeholders. After having little or no effect on the organization, a second wave, or corporate mind-set, hits the organization. During this phase internal stakeholders like those in human resources get involved and the brand building efforts begin to focus more on mission, core values and culture. The third wave is an enterprise mind-set where all touch points internally and externally are in alignment. I would say LEGO, Southwest Airlines and Starbucks are good examples of an enterprise mind-set. My vision is for all institutions of higher learning to achieve an enterprise mind-set.

Rahul- You have extensive experience in education branding and have also published a paper on internal branding for universities . What are the top two trends you are witnessing in the practice of education branding?
Rex- Most colleges and universities have taken what I would call a traditional approach to branding. They have created a new visual identity, developed a tagline and spent a good amount of money on annual advertising campaigns. At the same time the economy is forcing institutions to do more with less. As a result, colleges and universities are moving into the next phase in the natural evolution of brand building. They are coming to the realization that they need to engage their employees more in the brand building process, especially their faculties. Institutions are embracing the trend of internal branding. Another trend that I see happening is that colleges and universities are coming to grips with the fact that their brand is their name and what that name stands for. I think a combination of economic factors and brand-savvy prospective students are helping drive this understanding. Consequently, institutions and their internal stakeholders are discovering or re-discovering their mission and core values.

Every organization and every person on the planet is currently going through a process of introspection to determine what is important, to determine their place in the new economy and to create a sustainable approach to brand building. I am not talking about a green design plan or social responsibility. Although those are necessary too, I am talking about survival. A window has opened for higher education as an industry and for all colleges and universities to think about their history and tradition, to honor that history and tradition and place them in a modern context. Economic and technology forces are creating huge opportunities for colleges and universities around the globe to do so. Our role as brand professionals is to leverage those factors and help get the right stakeholders to the right institutions.

Rahul- Several higher education institutions in India aspire to be world-class. However, there is limited acceptance of the fact that educational brand building is a systematic approach that requires time, resources and expertise. What are your top two recommendations for Indian higher education institutions for effective brand building?
Rex- First and foremost is to think of brand as a noun first and a verb second. This provides the context for higher education institutions to understand their brand is their name, what that name stands for and the associations that people have when they hear or see that name. The next step is to determine how closely aligned stakeholder opinions are with the name, and how closely aligned those are with the strategic plan of the institution. In my work I help institutions develop a strategy to align their internal culture with their external reputation. That systemic process is branding. That systemic process is also sustainable and leads to world-class status. Rankings, visual identities and other solutions are simply aspects or outcomes of brand building.

There are increasing demands and expectations for institutions of higher learning to deliver on their brand promise, and to do so at warp speed. I have no argument with the first part of that statement. Every organization in every industry must understand who they are, what they stand for and to deliver on what they say they are going to do for their brand champions. However, when colleges and universities take a quick-fix approach to brand building, they run into problems. They satisfy the skeptics, water down their core values, under value their stakeholders and dilute their brand. Building a sustainable brand is a forever process. When higher education institutions establish that way of thinking about brand building they have the ability to recruit and retain champions for their brand. All colleges and universities can become world-class for a lifetime in the minds and hearts of brand champions.
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November 23, 2009

Tim Gore, Director, CIB, The University of Greenwich

Tim Gore
Director of the Centre for Indian Business
The University of Greenwich

Tim Gore OBE is the founding Director of the Centre for Indian Business, the University of Greenwich. His role is to engage the University of Greenwich's intellectual capital with India and to create sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Tim has worked closely with educationalists, institutions, companies and governments to improve bilateral and multilateral educational links in Hong Kong, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Jordan and India over a 23 year career. He has led the development of programmes on creativity for professionals with the Singapore Government (CREST); established e-learning and blended learning programmes for Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai; led the establishment of the British University in Dubai; and helped Jordan establish an evaluation framework for its ICT led Jordan Education Initiative. His most recent role was Director, Education at the British Council in India where he was responsible for growing the knowledge partnership between India and UK. In addition, Tim led the establishment of the UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).

Tim is pursuing a doctorate in business administration (DBAHEM) at the University of Bath focussing on higher education. His research concerns the positioning of universities as knowledge producers in a globalising world.

Rahul- What were the drivers of setting up of the Centre for Indian Business at the University of Greenwich? Please share some of the highlights of your work as the Director of the Centre.
Tim-The vision for the Centre for Indian Business came from two different perspectives. Firstly, the University of Greenwich has links with India go back to the 1950s and it now has the largest number of Indian students of any university in the UK. Secondly, the areas of strength that the University has chime very well with India. Greenwich has over 100 years of experience in providing relevant, skills-based, industry-facing training and applied research. As a large, publicly funded university, that serves a very diverse student body it faces many of the challenges that Indian institutions also do in enhancing employability and widening engagement.

Many of our areas of strength are extremely relevant to India’s current and future development – our business school; our work in the pharmaceutical industry; the expertise in adapting agriculture to changing climactic conditions or our complex simulations in computing or engineering. The University of Greenwich specialises in applying knowledge to real industry needs in a broad range of industries.

The Centre for Indian Business works in two directions. On the one hand it provides easy access to knowledge and understanding of the Indian business world and acts as a hub where people can network, discuss and access information. We also run two MBAs focussed on India. At the same time, the centre works closely with institutions, industry and its communities to forge strong and mutually beneficial knowledge links with Indian business and business education through the centre into UK.

My role as the founding director has been stimulating and diverse. In order to engage the university effectively with India I have to understand the strengths that Greenwich can bring to bear in the engagement. As an example, I have worked closely with the School of Science looking at how their expertise in drug formulation and expertise fits with the aspirations of the rapidly developing Indian pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sector. I then visited a number of these companies in India with the Science team and engaged in a fascinating series of discussions about harnessing our ability to recombine existing techniques of drug formulation and delivery to create novel solutions to problems in the industry such as vaccine delivery systems for different types of domestic animals.

The other side of the role is the need to be very ‘in-touch’ with India and this entails meeting people from across many sectors in India and being able to make connections with them. I keep in touch with contacts through regular events, engaging forums that we run; and attending key events. I also have an active LinkedIn site and I run a couple of specialist groups within the site. It is important to be visible and accessible and I keep a regular calendar of public events. Recently, I had the privilege of running a master class on higher education partnerships with Pawan Agrawal and Shobha Misra at the annual FICCI higher education summit in Delhi.

Rahul- One of your projects relate to mapping business research capacity and networks in India. Please share the project background and major outputs expected.
Tim- India is relatively under-published in relation to its scholarly capacity in both science and social sciences. Indian management research output tends to concentrate almost exclusively around the IITs and then the IIMs. The links to the US are strong but to other countries much less so. The Government of India are keen to increase research outputs and are establishing a new class of research-led university as well as new IITs and IIMs. A number of excellent business schools are developing in India outside of the traditional IIMs and IITs and the field of management education is developing rapidly. At the same time, an increasing number of leading business writers, such as CK Prahalad and Pankaj Ghemawat are of Indian origin and the leading institutes of management in India are of world class. There are few leading journals or academic publishers coming out of India at the moment but there are signs that this is changing too as Emerald releases its new Journal of Indian Business Research and other publishers such as Tata McGraw Hill set up in India.

The Business Research Capacity and Networks project is a partnership between the Centre for Indian Business, Emerald Group Publishing; IMT Ghaziabad and FICCI. Emerald are funding a research student who works out of IMT Ghaziabad and the Director of IMT, Dr Anwar Ali, chairs an impressive advisory committee. The research project aims to characterise published Indian management research and compare it with international norms and do a social analysis of the research environment to look at the factors involved in the development of Indian journals; the process of publishing and the motivations and constraints involved. It will also map the collaborative networks in the sector and how they relate inside and outside the country.

The study will identify, areas of strength, networks of researchers, leaders in their class and overseas linkages as well as the trends likely to emerge in the coming years. It would also review the publishing industry and identify current leading publications as well as where there is scope for future excellence. We expect this study to generate considerable interest in India and internationally.

Rahul- You have extensive experiences in UK-India relationships in the area of education. What are the top two trends you are witnessing in this area?
Tim- The main trend is the escalation in academic collaborations aimed at offering joint, dual or franchised degrees from UK universities in India. There is tremendous excitement in this area at the moment particularly in view of the promised introduction of new legislation to regularise these sort of partnerships. The UK has been in the vanguard of this type of activity for nearly a decade but the interest has increased enormously over the past year.

India has a robust and burgeoning middle tier of institutions nearly all of which are private. These tend to be very employment focussed and overall I think this feeds very effectively into the growth of the Indian economy. The current estimates of the gross engagement ratio for India is around 12.9% and the current government are hoping to lift this to 30% by 2020 – an increase of around 40 million students in the system. The capacity is growing very rapidly as both the private sector and public sector expand and I see signs that growth in capacity is actually outpacing growth in demand despite these ambitious targets for the GER (which after all are actually targets rather than real students). This situation will lead to a bit of a shake-out in the higher education sector where visible quality will become increasingly important to the survival of institutions. Good international links will undoubtedly play a major role in this brand differentiation.
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November 18, 2009

Global Research Centers in India

With the globalization and "flattening" of the Indian economy, more global universities want to be a part of the growth story and integrate it with their academic and research offerings. In addition, they may want to have a local presence to create stronger brand visibility for attracting high potential students and also to test the local market for possible expanded offerings in the future.

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad was one of the early pioneers of collaborating with the world-class universities. Although, ISB's partnerships focused more on academic rather than research collaborations, it created a new expectations for global collaborations. Following ISB, Yale-Great Lakes Center for Management Research was established in 2005.

Most recently, Monash University from Australia has partnered with IIT-Bombay to setup a high profile research academy on the IIT Campus. This $10 million facility aims to undertake collaborative approach to multidisciplinary research to provide engineering solutions in areas including infrastructure, clean energy, water and nanotechnology. The Academy is also offering a joint PhD degree and has gaining lot of interest from students. Nearly 900 applications were received for 20-30 seats for the PhD program.

However, finding effective research collaborations in India is not easy for top-tier foreign universities and hence several other research collaborations have achieved limited success. This is primarily because Indian universities lack the research culture and enabling environment. Thus global universities which want to stay on the cutting of the research and do not wanting to dilute their brand, are going beyond research collaborations and establishing dedicated research centers in India.

Founded in 1997, the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for the Advanced Study of India in New Delhi was one of the early movers to establish a research centers in India. UPIASI's undertakes research projects and engages scholars across a range of institutions in to produce research relevant to the regional needs.

Harvard Business School (HBS) established the India Research Center (IRC) in 2006 in Mumbai was a major milestone about the prominence of India in management research. In an earlier brief interview for this blog, Anjali Raina, Executive Director, HBS IRC said that "The IRC seeks to play a proactive role in the social transformation of India by engaging HBS faculty, sharing knowledge and best practices through research and case studies, encouraging talent and skills among students who are managers in the making and with leaders. The IRC works to bring the best of Harvard to India and take the best of India to Harvard."

Overall, research collaborations and dedicated research centers of foreign universities would immensely help Indian universities in developing a culture and approach towards research which is both cutting edge and rewarding. Likewise, foreign universities gain immensely from the research engagement, networking, brand visibility and local presence in India.
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November 16, 2009

100,000 Indian students contribute Rs.12,500 crores to the US economy

In these times of recession, Indian students contributed Rs.12,500 crores (USD 2.75 billion) to the US economy in the form of tuition and living expenses. To put in perspective, total budget of Indian department of higher education for 2008-09 was 10,800 crores.

India continues to be the leading place of origin for the eighth consecutive year with more than 100,000 students enrolled in the US higher education institutions for the academic year 2008-09, according to the latest report by IIE Open Doors. Every sixth international student enrolled in US higher education institutions is from India. Enrollment of Indian students had been growing at a rate faster than the total enrollment of all international students (see table).

Much of this growth has come from two levels:
1. OPT
2. Undergraduate

3,000 more students enrolled at OPT...
Total number of international students enrolled on OPT has increased by 17.3% from 56,766 to 66,601 in 2008-09. This is a result of the new rule issued in April 2008 that allowed students with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics to extend the duration of OPT from 12 to 29 months. This has clearly resulted in 3,000 more Indian students enrolled in OPT in 2008-09 as compared to the previous year.

Undergraduate is the new growth area...
Nearly 725 more Indian students are enrolled at the undergraduate level as compared to 3,300 lesser students enrolled at the graduate level (see table above). This may be a function of the characteristics and funding sources of the undergraduate students as compared to the graduate students. Graduate students are mostly seek financial support from the university or take a bank loan. Given the concerns of slowdown and recession some graduate students would have put their plans on hold. In contrast, most undergraduate students come from the top of the socioeconomic pyramid and are funded by their families.

Likely drop in number of Indian students for 2009-10
It is expected that the growth of Indian students on US campuses may take a sharp U-turn for the academic year 2009-10. Number of F-1 student visas issued for the period Oct'08-Sept'09 have decreased by 25%. Likewise, recent survey from the Council of Graduate Studies reports 16% drop in the first-time enrollment of Indian students in fall'09.

It is important to note that IIE Open Doors numbers are based on a comprehensive survey of 3,000 institutions across levels and types for the previous academic year (2008/09) as compared to Council of Graduate Schools which reports numbers from current academic year (2009/10) but surveys a smaller sample of graduate schools (257 graduate institutions responded in Phase-III).
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November 11, 2009

Excellence in B-Schools

Excerpt from my article published in MBA Review (November 2009).
Click here to download.

Indian higher education is in serious need of regulatory reforms, but I argue that many institutions are also finding excuses in the regulatory structures for ignoring areas which are very well within an institution’s reach. Institutions underestimate the value of students in their reputation building process. Students (and future alumni) are both their product and salesman. Quality of institution is very much judged by the quality of alumni and, hence, institutions should work on not only attracting the best talent, which includes faculty members, but also nurturing them as long-term brand ambassadors.

Excellence is directly related with leadership and leadership cannot be regulated. Hence, institutions which are truly determined to build world-class institutions, would assess, adapt and lead to achieve the goals. Indian B-Schools aspiring to achieve excellence need to make a transition from the existing mindset of imitation, costs and competition towards innovation, investments and collaborations.

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November 09, 2009

Guru Mantra: Dr. Mitch Leventhal, Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs, SUNY

Dr. Mitch Leventhal
Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs
The State University of New York (SUNY)

Prior to his appointment at SUNY, Dr. Mitch Leventhal served as vice provost for international affairs at the University of Cincinnati, with responsibilities for global strategy, institutional collaboration, international recruitment, and curricular internationalization. Reporting units included UC International Planning, UC International Programs and UC International Services. Dr. Leventhal has extensive international experience across many industry verticals, including shipping, chemicals, finance, insurance, information technology, technology transfer and education. He is widely recognized as a leader in international student recruitment strategy, enterprise-wide data systems, consortium-based initiatives, and public-private partnerships.

Prior positions include founder and president of the Microstate Corporation, adjunct assistant professor of Information Management Systems at The George Washington University, founding CEO of the Intellectual Property Technology Exchange, and co-founder vice president for strategic initiatives and managing director of Planet Payment, Inc. Prior to his last position at the University of Cincinnati, he headed North American operations for IDP, a firm owned by Australian universities.

Dr. Leventhal is Chairman and President of the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC), and sits on numerous other commissions and boards. Leventhal earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Politics and a master’s in Comparative and Developmental policies from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his Ph.D. in the International Political Economy of Education from the University of Chicago.

RC- What excites you about your new position as vice chancellor for global affairs at SUNY system? What are your strategic priorities?
ML- SUNY is the only public system of higher education in the united states which has prioritized global affairs to such a point as to create a cabinet level position. Given the immense complexity of our system, which has a comprehensive range of institution types (ranging from community colleges to technical institutes, comprehensives and research institutions), with 64 campuses and more than 440.000 students, the challenges are huge – but the potential benefits of coordination are also gigantic. My priorities will be to create an infrastructure which allows the 64 campuses to benefit more from their “systemness,” that is to create mechanisms that allow them to focus on their core strengths (including internationalizing all aspects of the educational experience), while the system provides services that need not be undertaken at the campus level. For example, we will create an information system that will allow all campuses to see the global relationships that exist across the entire system so that they are not always re-inventing the wheel with each opportunity; we will create master recruiting agreements with the system such that campuses do not need to negotiate separate deals with agents but can instead focus on recruitment; we will create a global center in Manhattan, New York City, so that each campus can have a base for delivery of its curriculum at the heart of the world financial system.

RC-  Your previous high impact work at University of Cincinnati and now appointment at SUNY has proved the value and need of international education profession in university strategy. What advice do you have for future education leaders in international education administration? What do you believe are the top competencies required to be a successful in this area?
ML- Senior International Education Officers (SIOs) have been too timid in the past. They need to demand a seat at the table – not just the study abroad/exchange/recruiting table, but at every table which may touch on international affairs. All too often, important issues are missed because someone focused on the international dimension is not involved in early discussions. International issues pervade university operations today. In additional to those listed above – which conventionally define the responsibilities of the position – there are others, such as: international technology transfer, global corporate relations, international alumni relations, foreign currency risk, human risk, institutional review for human subjects, export controls, compliance regulations, and much more. So SIOs need to push their way to many tables and demonstrate their value at each. As their centrality within the many institutional debates grows, so do the resources available to them.

Effective SIOs need a broad range of skills. A broad liberal education can be very helpful, since they must effectively deal across many disciplines. In addition, diplomatic tact, consensus-building and persuasive skills are vital – but timidity is definitely not an asset. A leader must know when the time has come to push hard on initiatives, otherwise institutional inertia inevitably takes over. Entrepreneurial skills are also essential – universities are long on ideas and perpetually short on cash. A creative approach to initiative and project launch will take an SIO a long way. These skills are often best honed in the private sector, though there are many examples of entrepreneurial leaders in academe. Last, having academic street cred is vital for obtaining the respect of faculty and enlisting the support – in most cases this means having earned a doctorate, though it does not necessarily require having worked one’s way up through the traditional academic career pathway.

Last, and perhaps most difficult, is the need to abandon fear of losing one’s position or being fired. Bold leaders are respected, and it is difficult to be bold if one is always looking over one’s shoulder.

RC- You are also the Chairman of American International Recruitment Council (AIRC). How do you assess the evolution of AIRC in last 15 months and future directions?
ML- AIRC is having a truly transformative effect on us international recruitment practice. Since its creation in late June 2008, I have discovered many institutions who have finally admitted publicly that they have worked with agents for years, but lacked the institutional cover to discuss their approach publicly. AIRC has removed much of the stigma of agency-based recruiting, by framing the practice within a rigorous quality assurance framework.

The AIRC pilot phase is nearing an end, and AIRC now has more than 15 additional agencies in the pipeline – all of this with no organized marketing or promotion. As institutions begin to adopt agency recruitment – and make AIRC certification a prerequisite for consideration – I believe agencies will scramble to go through the process.

The paradigm is shifting in a big way. Consider the fact that SUNY never had an agency policy before. Now, SUNY will start working with selected AIRC certified agents at the system level. Don’t you think that access to a comprehensive system of 64 campuses – and unlimited capacity to absorb international students - will be a strong incentive to pursue AIRC certification? And imagine the effect this will have on other universities and state systems across the United States.

I believe that we are on the verge of a new renaissance in the US as a study destination.
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November 07, 2009

Student Exchanges: Internationalization of B-Schools

A recent story in the New York Times highlights the trend among US business schools to widen the scope of international learning experiences for full time MBA students. Adding international experiences strengthens student learning, expands faculty research and enhances prestige of the institution in an increasing competitive environment.

Even in India, international collaborations are emerging as one major area of pursuit especially among the leading business schools. For example, premier institutions like ISB , IIM-AIIM- B , and MDI have already built extensive student exchange programs.

One of major challenge for Indian institutions face is to convince prospective partners about their ability to deliver quality experience to international students. This challenge seems to be of greater magnitude in attracting the US B-schools as compared to European B-schools.  For example. IIM-A has partnered with only 9 American B-schools as compared to 26 European B-schools. Likewise, for IIM-B of the 93 exchange B-schools only 15 are from the US.

This skew poses challenges for partners on both sides in terms of managing the demand and supply of students. For example, IIM-A website states that "The number of outgoing students benefiting from the [exhcange] programme has risen from 6 to 94 and incoming students from 16 to 55 in the same period." This means that there are more Indian students interested in studying abroad as compared to foreign students coming to India.

While India has gained lot of attention for its economic growth and impact on the world economy it has still not caught eye of American MBA students for spending a semester of study. This is also evident from the IIE OpenDoors, China (11,000) attracts nearly four times study abroad students from the US as compared to India (2,600).

Given the global ambitions of some of the Indian B-schools, building and sustaining portfolio of high quality exchange programs is one of the critical steps in achieving global excellence. It builds the platform for bigger and more reputed form of collaborations.

To build and sustain global exchange programs, Indian B-schools should consider the long-term implication of these relationships. They should become more strategic, assertive and articulate in communicating and delivering quality of experience to exchange partners and building brand advocates.
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November 02, 2009

Guru Mantra: Keith Hampson, Director, Ryerson University

Guru Mantra
Dr. Keith Hampson
Director, Digital Education Strategies
Ryerson University
Toronto, Canada

Keith Hampson is Director, Digital Education Strategies at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Prior to entering university management, he was a member of the University Faculty, where he lectured on contemporary media and consumer culture. He has a number of publication credits; most recently as the coauthor of Mastering Digital Research: A Guide for Students (2009). He is founder of LinkedIn’s “Higher Education Management Group” with close to six thousand members.
Dr. Hampson is an experienced higher education consultant who has worked with companies such as Flat World Knowledge, Eduventures, Pearson Education, WebCT, Ninthhouse Communications, Digital Learning Interactive, Nelson Education, The McGraw- Hill Companies, Convergence Management Consultants, Canadian International Development Agency, NEXTMove Communications and has served on the advisory boards of Flat World Knowledge Inc., GradeGuru, and EdTek Services Inc.
He is a regular speaker at higher education conferences on topics including content development models, productivity strategies and competition between institutions. Keith earned his doctorate from the University of Queensland (Australia).

RC: You founded one of the most popular blogs on higher education--Higher Education Management Group. Please share how you thought about starting it and what are some of its success factors?
KH: The blog and the associated LinkedIn group grew out of recognition that the changes that need to be made in higher education need leadership. Our poor track record at innovation in higher education should have taught us by now that isolated efforts by lone faculty members are rarely sustainable, and because of the highly segmented quality of our organizations, poorly communicated (and thus, disseminated). Substantive change requires thoughtful planning, organization-wide coordination to be realized.

It’s also important to remember that for most faculty – given the design of their jobs, the ways in which they are rewarded, and so forth – there is little incentive for them to dedicate their time to institutional change. Rewards for faculty are primarily a  result of research productivity, and most of the issues we are facing – particularly with respect to online education – concern teaching. Despite the rhetoric of academic leadership, rewards for excellence in teaching appear to be declining; I don’t see this trend reversing anytime soon given the state of the economy and the fundamental role of university research in driving prosperity.

Any success the blog might have had is due to a few factors.  Unlike most blogs, this one is connected to an existing group – the Higher Education Management Group within Linked In. In addition to acting as a channel for readers, this lends the blog a greater sense of community than most. Secondly, I try to keep the focus of the blog narrow. The properties of the Internet and of improved search capabilities, is encouraging all content providers to specialize. It is simply easier for readers to use your content efficiently if they know, roughly, what they will get from it. This doesn’t mean that the readers won’t be occasionally surprised by what they find, but it does mean that the surprises will concern a relatively narrow range of topics.

I also think the blog is serving an unmet market of readers. There is very little written about the “business of higher education”. At the same time, this is an increasingly important aspect of higher education.

RC: What are the top two trends you are witnessing in online higher education? What opportunities and challenges do you see in offering online courses to international students (for example, a US university offering online course in India)?

KH: Because the area of international online higher education is relatively new, and the issues so unfamiliar to most, it is difficult to write a brief response to this question.

Nevertheless . . . I’ll start by stating that I’m not optimistic about the current ability of most traditional colleges/universities to successfully offer online programs to non-domestic students. This is not because of a lack of demand, which I think will emerge, or even because of the lack of stable, affordable technology in the source country (e.g. bandwidth in India). Rather, it is because administrators and academics in traditional colleges and universities tend to underestimate the range of skills and processes required to establish, build and manage these international ventures. When online learning first took hold in universities, many leaders got very excited about the idea of creating a “borderless” campus. You can imagine how appealing this vision might have been. But at that time, few people had actually thought-through what would be involved in successfully realizing this vision, such as international marketing, processes for maintaining control over the student experience, intellectual property implications, student language and writing skills, or even operating costs (few schools know the real costs of their domestic online learning operations).

So, in answer to your question, I think we will see schools interested in international online learning ventures come to recognize that there is more to this than they realized. And they will (should?) do one of two things: one, identify which parts of the venture they can do on their own (for which they are well suited), and which they are less well suited for. With this insight in-hand, they can then more thoughtfully define their plans. One form I’d like this to take is a move away from internationalizing their programs, to acting as consultants for universities in other countries to help them develop their capacity to establish and grow their own online ed operations. This means getting away from the notion of simply expanding the reach of the school (in geographic terms), to working with client-institutions in other nations to help them avoid the common and predictable pitfalls. I also think this will encourage a more collaborative approach, that minimizes the tendency of Western institutions to believe they know what is best for the client-nation. Similarly, I expect to see new kinds of full-service consultancies emerge that help Western institutions expand their programs internationally.

RC: Please share some of the highlights of your work as the Director of Education Strategies at Ryerson University.
KH: I left a faculty position to go into university management because I knew that digital was going to be brilliant (eventually) and in order to have an impact in this new area of education, I would need to learn about the business side of operations. Being a mere subject matter expert is an increasingly tenuous position; you need to know how to get things done.So, the “highlights” of this experience revolve, primarily, around what I’ve learnt about how great projects are realized. Here are a few:

1. High quality professionals are priceless. Do whatever you can to keep them happy (and on your team).
2. Don’t let your ego make your decisions.
3. Passion trumps intellect 9 out of 10 times. If you care about a subject and let it show, people will want to help.
4. Go around people that want to stop you. They’ll soon find someone else to bother.
5. Figure out what matters to people, then help them get it.
6. Shut up and listen.
7. You’ll get more out of an hour talking to bright, experienced and generous people than 100 hours with a committee. Or 200.
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October 31, 2009

Education Branding: Positioning is Primal

What image comes to your mind when you think of IIM and IIPM (or Harvard and University of Phoenix in the US context)? Even though one might not have been a part of either IIM or IIPM, one would have fairly consistent opinions about these institutions. Such is the nature of education branding--deeply etched in the minds of the people. Its intangible, highly perception driven and builds over time.

Jack Trout said that "positioning is how you differentiate yourself in the mind of your prospect." This is primal to the education marketing. Of course, positioning is just the beginning of the branding, it also follow-through by delivering whatever is promised.

Indian private education sector has grown rapidly in last decade and it is expected to grow at annual rate of 15-20%. This means more clutter, competition and challenges in differentiating. In this context, institutions should start focusing on strategically building their educational brands as it takes significant investment of time and resources to get the desired results. Given below are few recommendations for institutional brand building:

1. Understanding students' behavior and their decision-making process: Decision-making for pursuing higher education is involves complex buying behavior and high levels of involvement that result from expense (time and money), significant brand differences, and infrequent buying (Nicholls 1995). This process is further complicated by the inherent gap between students' aspirations with ability. While majority aspires to join IITs, only a handful would be able to finally make it. Likewise, their is a hierarchy of choice (compromise) of institutions and students search for their best fit. This leads to the next point--where do you figure in that search list of student and why?

2.Segment and position: Most institutions do not have a conscious and well-thought plan of action about what is their target segment and how do they want to reach this segment? Lockwood and Hadd in their article Building a Brand in Higher Education state that "Institutions that want to actively manage their education brand must first consider how the marketplace perceives their brand promise." For example, IIM are prestige enhancing institutions while IIPM is a revenue maximizing institution--very different segments, very different positioning.

3. Leverage the power of association: Education is a knowledge service and hence people associated with the institution are the most important brand asset. This includes borad members, administrators, faculty, students and alumni. This is especially important for the institutions which are prestige seeking as compared to revenue maximizing. For example, ISB and GLIM have fast-paced their reputation building process by leveraging the power of associating with leading corporate leaders, global universities and star professors.

4. Bridge the gap between promise and delivery: Finally, in an environment where perceptions are shaped by rankings and online social media, institutions tend of overpromise their internal capability and underestimate the influence of external factors. Most institutions fall short of delivering their brand promise resulting in dissatisfied product and customer. (education is again unique in the sense that student is both the product and the customer of the service). Thus, institutions need to consciously work on building supporting systems and processes to deliver the experience.

Dean Ajit Rangnekar of ISB in an interview with Business India identified the biggest challenge for a new institution as the "absolute clarity on how it [educational institution] intends to position itself in the market". He advised "a new institution to stake a new, real position (not an advertisement creation) that clearly distinguishes itself from others."

Positioning is central to the process of education branding and institution building. In these times of changing expectations, even institutions which have been in existence for a while, may have to reposition themselves. Likewise, new institutions should systematically study their segment and position themselves somewhere in this spectrum of pretige enhancing and revenue maximizing approaches. This requires clear articulation of positioning strategy so that institution can build a coherent and successful brand over time.
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October 17, 2009

For-profit, online education and private equity

The synergy between for-profit education, online education and private equity has worked well in the US education market where they all have served as a catalyst for each other. A recent article in the USA Today states that "Online education is a growing industry in the United States with estimated revenues of $12 billion at a dozen or so for-profit companies that provide primarily online learning." This sector had been witnessing double digit growth (nearly 20%) and achieved 13% growth last year. For-profit institutions are aggressive marketing machines with nimbleness of adapting to the demands of the economy by innovating and offering new courses. For example, the recent ad campaign of Kaplan University clearly questions the value of conventional educational model.

Undoubtedly, growth of for-profit institutions in the US indicates that there is a segment that needs flexibility, technology and career-oriented education. But, there is also some of criticism about the sector including inferior academic preparation of the graduates and reports of unscrupulous and unprofessional activities. A blog on Wall Street Journal also highlighted the perils of a private equity backed education. It states that the performance of three private equity led education companies which went for IPO within last one year are now showing lackluster performance.

Trends in the US for-profit higher education has lessons for the Indian private higher education sector too. Online higher education driven by private investment can solve immense problems of:
- access to higher education as it leverages power of technology for scalability and reach
- skill gap as it may offer courses which are aligned with the market needs
- availability of capital as government can not provide for all the funding

However, the biggest challenge for India remains the policy framework which does not recognizes "for-profit" education. This is limiting the prospects for innovative forms of online learning delivery and funding from private equity which would like to fund scalable and efficient ventures.

There is an increasing sense of optimism in Indian among emerging models of formal and informal educational enterprises which are gaining attention of investors. Manipal Universal Learning (administrative arm of Manipal Education) is one interesting and effective model which is exploring IPO.

There are also implications for designing and delivering an offering which optimizes affordability, prestige and flexibility. For example, U21Global is the only venture with some visibility in the for-profit online higher education space in India (Manipal owns 50% of U21). However, U21Global is under pressure to prove its value after eight years of launch.

More than ten years back, The New York Times covered a story about the emergence of for-profit online learning model in the US. Since then it has seen some high profile failures like Columbia's Fathom and other mega successes like Kaplan Higher Education. This clearly indicates that it is primal to get the business model for for-profit education correct. Prof. Fried in his recent article on the future of for-profit higher education concludes that "Higher education is a large, mature industry that is being reshaped by innovation. While some of the innovation is in technology, the primary innovation is in business models. For-profits are at the fore-front in developing and implementing these innovative models."

Likewise in India, apart from the supportive regulatory and investment enviornment, ability to create a sustainable and competitive business model, would distinguish between success and failure of the synergy between private equity, online learning and for-profit education.
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October 07, 2009

Education: The IBM Way

IBM Smarter Planet initiative notes that the world continues to get smaller and flatter, and now the planet needs to get "smarter." It highlights the need to solve some of the most pressing problems of the world by leveraging technology.

Education is one such domain which is getting "smarter" by technology and has intricate relationship with the overall improvement of quality of life. IBM's approach to develop Education for a Smarter Planet emphasizes that "smarter education will reshape learning not around administrative processes, but around the two key components of any education system: the student and the teacher." This is important as it suggests that next wave of efficiency in education will come from adaptablity of learning processes instead of inflexibility of unversity administrative systems.

The Future of Learning paper identifies five key challenges (see Figure) which impacts students, workers and institutions.

One of these five challenges is preparing talent for the service economy. While the economy and technology is changing at a fast pace education systems and learning processes have lagged behind. This is resulting in gaps between the knowledge and skills required by the economy and what is delivered by the education system. According to a McKinsey report "The growing complextity of economic activity seen in, for example, global supply chains, just-in-time production, and increasingly precise customer segmentation and channel strategies, has led to higher demand for advanced skills." It adds that "Education is the most important mediator of future labour and supply and demand."

In line with meeting the demand for the future skills and talent for the service economy, IBM is also advancing an interdisciplinary initiative of Service Science, Management, and Engineering (SSME) which focuses on “the application of scientific, management, and engineering disciplines to tasks that one organization (service provider) beneficially performs for and with another (service client)” (Spohrer, et al.).

As a part of my PhD dissertation, I developed a competency-based curriculum for a master’s program in SSME. Here I surveyed industry professionals and faculty members to identify a competency model for service science professionals and developed a curriculum blueprint that may deliver required comepetencies.

Education is integral to the human capital development and increasingly technology is catalyzing the process of change. IBM Smarter Planet initiative for education focuses on improving quality of learning and talent, and raises important issues, and proposes relevant solutions. However, it would be interesting to see how IBM brings the change and implements its approaches to create a smarter planet.
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October 04, 2009

Innovation Universities in India: Research and Quality Gets Attention

The XIth five-year plan (2007-2012) envisages establishment of 14 innovation universities in India, aimed at world-class standards. The concept note on innovation universities states that "These Universities would be at the fount[sic] of making India the global knowledge hub and set benchmarks for excellence for other Central and State Universities. The first and foremost criterion for a University to be termed world class is the quality and excellence of its research, recognised by society and peers in the academic world."

It is encouraging to see that finally research, quality and innovation are gaining attention in education policy and investment from the Indian government. The concept note emphasizes on two primary "innovative" aspects 1) need of more reliable and credible admissions processes and 2) autonomy in administration, teaching and research. Both these factors are deeply intertwined with the political control and it would be interesting to see how much of the concept note's recommendations are actually implemented by government.

To implement the plan in a more feasible and faster manner, government is also considering establishing some of these 14 universities using private public partnership model. The minister of education, Mr. Kapil Sibal, also plans to reach out to globally reputed institutions and forge academic and research partnerships for establishing these innovation universities. Attracting private investment and partnering with global universities could definitely serve as catalyst for establishment of innovation universities.

While the concept of innovation universities is very encouraging for Indian higher education, it has its set of challenges and limitations. For example, the execution of this project is not an easy taks in terms of raising resources and allocating them to efficient use. There are others who critique the proposal of innovation universities and suggest that there is a need to raise the quality of all universities gradually instead of few universities radically.

There is a no doubt that Indian higher education is in dire need of exemplars of quality and research beyond IITs and IIMs. Proposal to establish innovation universities is a positive step and will create competitive pressure for top private and public universities to integrate research and quality in their academic offerings.
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September 25, 2009

Guru Mantra: Prof. Jane Schukoske, University of Baltimore

Prof. Jane E. Schukoske
University of Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Former Executive Director, USIEF

After nine years in New Delhi, India, Jane E. Schukoske returned in summer 2009 to the University of Baltimore, Maryland, USA, to direct and teach in a Masters degree program in the Law of the United States for lawyers who received their first degree in law outside the United States. From 2000-08, she directed USEFI, now named the U.S.-India Educational Foundation, the binational Fulbright Commission with offices in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai.  In 2008-09, she advised the sponsoring body of the private, non-profit O.P. Jindal Global University and Jindal Global Law School established in 2009 in Sonipat, Haryana, in the National Capitol Region of Delhi.  At University of Baltimore School of Law from 1988-2000, Prof. Schukoske taught Contracts and a seminar in Law and Social Reform, among other courses, and established and directed the Community Development Clinic.  Previously, she practiced law in legal services offices in Virginia and directed the Virginia Poverty Law Center.  Her education includes a Bachelor of Arts in French from Boston University, a Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University, and a Master of Laws from Georgetown University.
Prof. Schukoske’s experience in legal education in South Asia dates to 1995, when she taught in a month-long Refresher Course at National Law School of India University prior to her work as a Senior Fulbright Scholar at University of Colombo Faculty of Law, Sri Lanka, in 1995-96.  She has taught legal education training sessions in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, and has visited law colleagues in Pakistan.
Her scholarship is in the areas of international education, community development law and housing law.  Her article, “Legal Education Reform in India: Dialogue among Indian Law Teachers,” was published in Jindal Global Law Review in 2009. Her articles have been published in Iowa Law Review, South Carolina Law Review, New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, Hastings Women’s Law Journal, and International Legal Perspectives, among others. She wrote several books chapters and articles while in India.

RC: What excites you most about your transition back to the University of Baltimore School of Law as the director of the LL.M. Program on Law of the United States (LL.M. LOTUS) for foreign lawyers?
JS: The challenge of applying my perspectives from international education to enhance the design and delivery of this graduate program for lawyers educated abroad is exciting.  I enjoy teaching Introduction to the Law of the United States to my LL.M. students who have earned law degrees in Cameroon, China, Dominican Republic, Germany, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey and U.K., as well as our exchange students from Brazil and Netherlands.  The course demands that I research the legal developments that occurred during my time in India.  I have learned new classroom technologies and ways to engage students outside of class on our course website.  The website for my course offers discussion forums and ways to provide students practice exercises through Computer Assisted Legal Instruction and other internet resources.

As an administrator, I find the university's Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), implemented since I left, a valuable tool for program monitoring and development.  In my work last year as advisor for the O.P. Jindal Global University and Jindal Global Law School, I was part of a team designing the broad contours of a new institution.  Movement between these two universities at different stages of development and with a variety of international education activities is giving me a robust understanding of how higher education, particularly legal education, is rapidly adapting to globalization.

RC: Given that you have deep professional experiences both in the US and Indian education systems, what advice do you have for Indian educational institutions who are aspiring to achieve global excellence?

JS: Begin with Mission:  An institution must be clear about its mission in order to identify relevant standards of “global excellence” and to pick “aspirational peer” institutions.

Teaching, research and scholarship, and the institution’s community service are three key aspects of an institution’s mission. For many institutions, the primary mission of the institution may be to educate the youth of the region to be responsible citizens and enjoy career opportunities. The academic community must ask itself, what is the setting in which the institution is operating and what are the societal needs in that region?  How do similarly situated aspirational peer institutions in India and abroad connect university education with regional development and understanding?  Striving for “global excellence” requires a shared, realistic vision and the capacity to bring about ongoing, measurable institutional improvement that benefits student learning.  “Global excellence” in India, as anywhere, must certainly be defined considering the needs of the students and society.

Teach writing: All educational institutions would state excellence in teaching as part of their mission.  In that regard, curriculum development, criteria for selection and professional development of teachers, teaching material development, revamping of assessment methods, and review of the learning outcomes of students are key.  Many education and industry leaders in India have called for graduates with better communication and analytical skills.  That suggests that specific focus on the research and writing curriculum is important.  Indian professors educated abroad often see the benefit of a strong writing program and can contribute significantly to curricular innovation in this area.

Engage the institution in “self study” using benchmarks:  Higher education leaders in India have identified crucial systemic and institutional issues — equity and access; relevance; quality and excellence; governance and management; and funding.  For U.S. institutions, quality control, governance and management are maintained through accreditation processes for both institutions and professional programs.  A key benefit of the process is the “self study” by the faculty and administration of the institution using accreditation benchmarks.  The institution conducts this study prior to the visit by an accreditation team from other institutions. The self study provides a framework for internal assessment and goal-setting, and the collaborative process can have a beneficial effect on institutional focus and growth.

RC: In your experience, what do you believe are the top competencies required to be a successful education administrator?
JS: A successful education administrator needs vision and the ability to motivate a team to strive for excellence in student learning.  To create a positive educational climate, he or she needs excellent communication skills, the abilities to make decisions, encourage team action, and manage conflict. An education administrator should be curious about best practices and new initiatives, and should know the institution and system in which the institution operates.  He or she needs to mobilize necessary resources, set measurable goals and periodically assess progress.  He or she needs to be alert to the changes in the educational environment and to help colleagues to change with the times.

Two articles readily available on the internet that discuss these and other aspects in the context of higher education are Mary Ann Wisniewski, Leadership in Higher Education: Implications for Leadership Development Programs (1999) and David H. Smith, Higher Education Leadership Competency Model: Serving Colleges and Universities During an Era of Change (2003).

My vision for educational administration in India is to equip Indian youth to meet the challenges India faces - including equitable access to education, employment opportunity and community development - and to contribute to addressing the issues of the region and the world.  India's rich cultural heritage and diversity, strategic location, thriving economy and huge pool of talent are tremendous assets.  Education administrators have great responsibility and opportunity to positively influence the growth of the nation. 
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September 14, 2009

Enabling Education Entrepreneurship in India

Education is central to the human capital development and economic development of any country. Even for India, where only 12% of the addressable population goes to college and nearly 70% of the population is in rural areas, education is considered a very important channel for socioeconomic mobility. Unfortunately, despite huge demand and need of education, policy framework in India has stifled access, quality and innovation in education.

I recently conducted a Linkedin poll and asked "What is the biggest constraint in setting up a 'high quality' academic institution in India?" The response was loud and clear--regulatory mechanism is the biggest constraint, followed by investments/funding.

In this scenario, education entrepreneurs serve as " visionary thinkers who create brand new for-profit or nonprofit organizations that seek to have a large-scale impact on the entire public school [education] system-and in so doing, redefine our sense of what is possible in public education." India is in dire need of such education entrepreneurs and supporting private capital to energize and innovate its education system.

Following framework from New Schools Venture Fund conceptualizes the process of change and innovation resulting from educational entrepreneurship:

Some Indian education entrepreneurs are sensing the opportunity and are aggressively finding niches, models and structures that fall outside the regulatory mechanism.

First, there are long existing model of IT training (NIIT and APTECH) and test prep companies (IMS and Careerlauncher) which work in the typical classroom structures to support academic or test preparation. Even the traditional education companies are gaining a an entrepreneurial mindset and are seeking a share of the growing and evolving education market. For example, NIIT launched Imperia for executive education, IMS started Proshool for professional training, and Careerlauncher started a B-school and K-12 school.

Second, there is are business models that leverage technology and provide informal education, training and support services. Thus, most of them are outside the "brick and mortar" model with significant scalability and penetration opportunities. These models can be classified as:

E-learning: B2C ; ; and B2B

Curriculum and Assessment: ; and

Skill development: and

International admissions: ; ; and

Finally, there are models of professional education that leverage collaboration and innovation and have successfully build their institutions despite regulatory hurdles. For example, ISB, Hyderabad  managed to attain global reputation (ranked #15, Financial Times) and have not sought approvals from local regulator-AICTE. Likewise, National Management School started a for-profit model of business education in collaboration with Georgia State University. in terms of scalability, Lovely Professional University claims to be India's largest single campus university and has achieved this scale in nearly one decade.

Thus, education entrepreneurship in India is emerging and is also providing significant opportunities for private investors. Private capital infusion in these times are expected to provide very healthy returns in the long term. Further, the diversity of education models available and incessant demand for quality education, private investors can gain immensely from early mover advantage. This positive interaction between private capital and entrepreneurship may solve some of the  most pressing challenges which policy framework is unable to solve.

In the US, Education Industry Investment Forum is organizing its annual conference in March 2010 and provides an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs seeking funding opportunities. Likewise, international investors exploring to enter Indian market should actively consider the opportunities presented by these innovative models of education and related services.
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