Showing posts from October, 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…

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 secto…

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 challenge…

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 …