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Business Change Management

Business Change Management

How to Solve the Return on Investment (ROI) Problem for College Students

On Mar 6, 2017 9:21:40 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Andrew Simon, Higher Education

For the past six months, I have been blogging about some of the problems college students face upon graduation and the underwhelming efforts of colleges and universities to help solve these problems — namely, significant debt as well as a lack of training to compete for careers in our ever-changing economic environment. Along these lines, I came across a NY Times article dated February 18, 2017 entitled: “College Cost Too Much? N.Y.U. Paves Way to Graduate Faster.” The article explains that with the cost of an NYU education running about $66,000 per year (including room, board, tuition and fees), the university faces an “enormous affordability problem” evidenced by complaints from students over the cost of four years of tuition. NYU’s solution? A series of measures to make it easier to graduate in under four years and save money.

The article goes on to say that the governors of Ohio and Wisconsin are also trying to address these issues, but that some experts who study education are questioning this “acceleration effort” because of what students "will miss if they rush through their undergraduate years.” At least the fact that some higher ed institutions are proactively offering ways to reduce more than $60,000 a year in student debt is a good start, and perhaps the trade-off of a shorter college experience for many that must self-finance or borrow is worthwhile.

The future is still in doubt for a lot of today’s graduates

Of course I think that it is great to lower the debt load for these kids, don’t get me wrong…but if colleges don’t give them the skills they’re going to need out in the real world, they often graduate with no hope for a high paying entry level job.

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What Colleges’ #1 Priority Should Be But Isn’t: Training Graduates for the Future

On Jan 24, 2017 2:01:13 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Andrew Simon, Higher Education

I have been writing blogs about what liberal arts institutions have failed to do in the new 21st century environment. My focus has been trying to find direct links between job placement, earnings and lifetime learning skills. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of those!

Should there be? Perhaps…but let’s discuss the indirect links. And if you believe in indirect links, shouldn’t liberal arts institutions be thinking about this linkage themselves, both formally and informally? Let me give you an example. While I am not always a current reader, I came across the August edition of CB Insights and was particularly struck by the article entitled, “The Future of Dining: 99 Startups Reinventing The Restaurant In One Infographic.”

What is interesting about this article is that it is all about the Internet of Things…which is alive and well and growing. For example, in the restaurant business, some restaurants “are nearly fully automated and require minimal, if any, interaction between employees and customers.” So, what has this got to do with colleges? 

Well, if your higher ed institution is not thinking about this, it should be. And if it is thinking about it, it should be doing something because the IofT will be affecting every college and university’s student population shortly.

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How Apprenticeship Programs Boost Graduates AND The Economy

On Dec 14, 2016 9:49:11 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Andrew Simon, Higher Education

When you sort through the presidential election campaign rhetoric from this past year, you learn that there are really a number of bad ideas or no ideas. But just as I was thinking about that, I read a December 1, 2016 NY Times article, “What Trump Might Do For Working-Class Families,” which includes a section on “Apprenticeships.” That is what I want to talk about today.

Apprenticeships…an interesting idea and these days, maybe a necessity

Apprenticeships? A captivating idea that I have been advocating as I write my blogs on higher education…what works and what doesn’t. And I think I have been consistent in saying that training young people through apprentice programs, even at the college level, is something that needs to be considered and put into practice much more these days.

You see, good enough today just isn’t good enough! A number of higher education institutions are preparing kids for a world that doesn’t exist anymore. But having said that, I want to be careful not to take anything away from liberal arts. (My degree was in political science but I went on to get an MBA.)

In today’s technically complex world, a lot of students are not prepared for a complicated entry level job. The net effect is that they end up with minimum wages, live at home, have substantial college debt to pay off and can’t afford to marry. Not good for our society and certainly not good for our economy!

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It’s Time For Colleges To Try Something A Little Different

On Oct 18, 2016 9:00:50 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Andrew Simon, Higher Education

For the last several months, I have been blogging about the state of higher education—specifically, the need for and responsibility of colleges to prepare students for good-paying jobs with careers once they graduate. As I have written these blogs, I have gotten angrier and angrier! Because I am convinced more than ever that the majority of colleges disregard this activity as their responsibility. Yes, their institutions (and even perhaps the administrations) pay lip service to what students are going to do next. But functionally preparing their students for that “next” is not part of their agenda.

To further illustrate my point, several weeks ago I was skimming Facebook and came upon an interesting article. It discussed preparing students for technical skills…not a “classical education,” as we used to call it, but a commercial education for non-college bound students. I must admit, it sounded pretty good and harkened back to the days when New York State awarded both college-bound (Regents) and General diplomas.

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Why Colleges Need To Help Graduates Find Jobs

On Sep 19, 2016 2:37:22 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Andrew Simon, Higher Education

Several weeks ago I published a blog entitled: “Better Paying Jobs for College Graduates: Why Higher Ed Needs to Do a Lot More Than Hand Out Diplomas.” My thesis was that there is a crying need for colleges and universities to prepare students today for high-paying jobs in the workforce. I then went on to list a number of points about what colleges are doing (or not doing) along these lines, and if not, what they need to do.

I also made the point that for a nation, it is deplorable for higher ed institutions to let students incur great debt for a degree that only qualifies them for low paying jobs, consequently, hampering them from enjoying the “good life.”

A lot of emotions out there for the failings of higher ed

Apparently, I hit a raw nerve and elicited a number of comments to my blog and tweets. I think it would be appropriate to share some of those comments and my responses.

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Why Higher Ed Needs To Do A Lot More Than Hand Out Diplomas

On Sep 7, 2016 4:39:21 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Andrew Simon, Education, Higher Education

Last month I blogged about the urgent need for colleges to prepare today’s students for high-paying jobs in the workforce. I made the following points:

  1. College is expensive enough. Let’s not put young people into debt without any way out. Graduating into a minimum wage job doesn’t cut it and makes the return on investment for a college education microscopic.
  2. Better-paying jobs that allow for lifelong skill-building is key. Investing four years and a whole lot of money is tough, particularly when the only jobs graduates can find once they get out are part-time minimum wage without benefits. As a career path, this makes no sense.
  3. Is a classical liberal arts education still viable or is workplace skill-building needed? Or do we need both?
  4. Colleges and universities as institutions must bear some level of responsibility for their graduates’ careers. It’s a two-way street. The higher education industry doesn’t stop when a student graduates. Its role can last far longer with better results.
  5. Industry, through relationships with educational institutions, must be an active part of the solution.

Now I’d like to build on these observations with some additional comments. 

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Higher Education: Ready for Inbound Marketing?

On Aug 11, 2016 12:56:55 PM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Higher Education


Ready to improve your recruiting strategy? Need to build a new development initiative? Trying to increase student enrollment?

Maybe it's time to take a deeper look at your marketing. Maybe it's time for "inbound marketing"!

If you work in higher education, you are always trying to get the attention of your current students, attract the right future students, cater to your alumni and build relationships with parents. Of all the ways you can do this from newsletters to special events — "Inbound Marketing" is possibly the most powerful way to kickstart your audience into action.

Inbound marketing...what's that?  

For starters, inbound marketing is about three important things:

  1. Being the right answer to a person's questions.
  2. Capturing consumers along their buyer's journey so they return to you again and again for more information and better solutions.
  3. Delighting your current students, parents, donors, faculty and others through online and social marketing.

Are you ready for Inbound Marketing?

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Why Are Graduates Not Getting Good Jobs and What Are Colleges Doing About It?

On Jul 27, 2016 5:10:20 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Andrew Simon, Blue Ocean Strategy, Higher Education

Last month my wife, Andrea (Andi) Simon, was a keynote speaker at the Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA) annual meeting. The Alliance is made up of 15 independent Michigan colleges, and if put together as a singular entity, these colleges would be the third largest post-secondary institution in Michigan, just behind the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Consequently, they have a significant impact on the students they serve!

Taking place over several days, the conference had representatives from approximately 100 corporations in attendance, including the large automotive companies. Andi was the keynote speaker at one of the dinner meetings, and her lecture included an in-depth introduction to Blue Ocean Strategy,® which is the focal point of her newly released book, “On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights.”

Two days later, Andi led a MCA roundtable on Blue Ocean Strategy, examining the need to make colleges more relevant in today’s economy. With that in mind, I would like to talk about this topic in this blog. We are often asked "How can Blue Ocean Strategies help colleges and universities quickly adapt to these fast changing times?" It can if academic insitutions stop saying "oh, we don't do that."

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U.S. Talent Gap Needs A Blue Ocean Strategy®

On Jul 19, 2016 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Blue Ocean Strategy, On the Brink, Higher Education


6 reasons why the time is now for a Blue Ocean Strategy for Liberal Arts Colleges?

Several important facts surfaced at a recent Blue Ocean Strategy® workshop which we at SAMC led with Michigan industry leaders and independent colleges, hosted by the Michigan College Alliance. There were 6 big ones that were most unsettling:

  1. There is a HUGE problem in the U.S. — a MAJOR TALENT GAP.

  2. As US. News and World Report states: “Employers are looking to hire people with more advanced skills, especially in STEM fields, but job seekers are often struggling to figure out which skills they need and where they can learn them.”

  3. And 500,000 of those unfilled jobs are in IT.

  4. What’s more, we need these people now. All across America, we are running out of skilled workers to fill the 5.8 million jobs that are waiting for them. Take a look:

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Blue Ocean Strategy® Can Really Work for Higher Education

On Apr 22, 2015 12:39:57 PM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Higher Education

We are working with higher education organizations that are ready for a new Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS). They are each trying to adjust their strategies to the new student, the new business environment, the challenges to their roles particularly in the Liberal Arts and the opportunities to apply new technologies. Some have been early adapters getting into online education, for example, or going after adult students coming back into the work force. Others are just realizing that their traditional focus and core capabilities, those things they held onto as their unique difference, are no longer valuable to their students or to the markets they are providing students for.

I went searching to see what other colleges might be doing with Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) ? Here is one that Renée Mauborgne is working with. Their story is an excellent one to share. We will have others as we do our research about how to best apply BOS to new educational settings.

Johnson C. Smith University and Blue Ocean Strategy

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