Unbundling Higher-Ed

3 minute read

Unbundling Higher-Ed how? Covid Shows the Truth –

I read a lot about folks who call out against college education (note: they are generally super privileged themselves, having gone to A-degree schools, & in a lot of cases born with a silver spoon – not that it should be held against anyone, but..).

Silicon Valley has believed “every service can be unbundled”, and a lot of it believes college education / HigherEd can fall in the same bracket.

Why don’t you just do that MOOC? Why not just network on on LinkedIn, or at the bar? Why not research on Google – with on-demand Profs? The local city library is good enough? Or do we even need that – ain’t Starbucks the new reading room – and internet already have everything that a library gives (really)? Healthcare? Oh, we will have the universal basic income come in some day.

Credentialising? Wait, do we need it any more (hell, yes you do when you BEGIN for the majority). Anybody who has really played this out, will understand my tone here.

The HigherEd world is going through a revolution right now. Students are forced to sit in online classes – which while awesome – rob the student away from so much more that the college has to offer. They are complaining in large numbers – because they did not join college “only for the education”.

Schools like Harvard are laying off dining staff because students don’t want to pay for services they don’t use – despite at Harvard endowments the size of ~Soft Bank VisionFund 2.

This forced unbundling has unsettled a lot of things. Career Services are impacted, who is going to help the non-top 10% of the class who need the helping hand to get started?

There is ‘this intangible thing’ folks (the same folks too) speak about when remembering their higher ed days, they don’t unbundle it for their own selves because they find it so tough to break it down.

We have had universities in the UK 🇬🇧 who have tried this unbundling to some degree – reduce the ancillaries around college – to offer their programs at a much smaller fee – 50-70% less at times. To mixed responses.

*What I think we should do?* 🚨

Step 1. THINK ABOUT EVERYONE. It’s important that we don’t use the same lens / same brush. Covid-19 shows what this accelerated unbundling could look like – a large majority confused, helpless, as a larger on-the-go ‘previously privileged’ audience takes centre-stage 🤷‍♂️

2. Bring in blended options, online plus offline, academics + career services, academics + research + sports + living with your college mates, the all-in package, etc etc

👆🏼Let people CHOOSE what they want

When I advise students between schools, I often use the same framework to help them/their parents decide – what’s more imp for you – post program opportunities or a wholesome experience or rich-research learning or some combination of the above or all of it?

3. Bring in more Work Experience to the programs. When I was in the UK to visit a dozen+ universities this Feb, I loved the industry integration they had done, the 1+1 programs, the opportunity to impress a future employee for everyone in the program, the professors sitting in open rooms in the department for new research focused office hours, industry interaction from experts at some of the most attractive companies, & much more. This helps, and takes the experience to the level it should be at! 💪💡

Who am I? I had my and my family’s life change for the better, ‘level up’ for a better choice of words, thanks to supremely rich experiences at three institutes in the last decade – at SGGSCC, DU, at ISB, and at Draper University’s Fellowship. Many years into my career now, I am still leveraging the power of everything I learnt & did here – each one of those bundled experiences have helped me do things way beyond what I’d have imagined at the start or at different pitstops all along.

And today, I run a company that does everything obsessed with the vision of being by the student’s side, being student first.


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