There are all kinds of business models out there, but I think the most ingenious one has to be universities. They are massive money making machines and its crazy how they are able to get everyone to pay for an education they can’t afford.
When you look at the university industry from a business perspective there is one thing that they seem to disregard that is central to any business, having a customer focus and by customer in this situation I mean the students.
Universities have become too big to be flexible and meet needs of their students anymore, essentially they do what they see fit and everyone else has to fit into the box that is a university or major. Think about the choices you have as a student. Basically you can choose your major and perhaps a few electives here and there, but that’s all the choice they allow. This may not be true for all colleges, but it is for the majority.
If you think about, when was the last time a university asked you, the paying customer, the student, what YOU wanted from the school?
When the students are what makes the universities prosper, make millions of dollars, and empowers them to continually raise tuition, then shouldn’t the students be better served? Shouldn’t they have a larger voice? Universities don’t serve their customers adequately for how much we pay them.
Fortunately, at the same time we’re seeing a counter movement in education in the use of technology, content, and design to deliver a higher quality, individualized experience to students that meets their needs. Organizations such as the Khan Academy, P2PU, and Academic Earth are giving the power to the students instead of the teachers or institutions.
I can understand how many are saying the education system may be the next bubble, but at the same time no real change will occur until our preconceived perceptions of these systems and their value are broken. In the meantime, let’s continue paying off our student loans.