Since the turn of the 21st century, according to Credit Suisse’s global wealth report, the world’s middle-class segment has seen the biggest growth, with population size nearly trebling during the 2000-2019 period. Meanwhile, the rate of internet penetration shot up from 16.8% in 2005 to 53.6% in 2019, according to the Telecommunication Development Sector (a special agency of the United Nations). Ready for one more statistic? According to a UNESCO-sponsored report, the global population of college students has more than doubled since 2000.

Increasingly affluent, connected and academically ambitious: That’s the modern world in a nutshell.

All this might seem like an ideal environment for growth in the education sector. The reality, however, is significantly more complicated. Public and private organizations alike face challenges in selecting the right geographical markets for expansion, creating the right educational offerings for each locality and making the appropriate digital investments for education delivery. The upshot is that in education, a robust strategy is more critical than ever.

Who we are

L.E.K. Consulting’s Global Education Practice (GEP) serves public, private nonprofit and private for-profit educational institutions. We also work with investors and foundations that are involved with the education industry. As one of the world’s foremost education consulting firms, we have led on-the-ground engagements in numerous countries and industry subsegments.

From Botswana to New Zealand, from China to the United Arab Emirates, from Poland to Paraguay, our 100-plus specialists travel around the globe to provide education-sector consulting services to investors, operators and philanthropists across various markets. We’ve led multiple on-site engagements in all education segments: early childhood, K-12 and higher education. We also offer specialties in English-language training, transnational education (TNE) and education technology (edtech).

We combine primary research with advanced analytics and strategy consulting to help clients realize growth opportunities in new sectors and geographies, including untapped developing countries. Our knowledge bank contains the lessons from over 700 engagements in 90 countries — lessons that we bring to bear in helping you formulate strategies of your own.


How we help

Clients engage us to:

  • Identify and characterize opportunities. With sustainable growth and profitability as strategic imperatives, we provide an aggregated overview of both regional and global education markets, local market demand, and the competitive landscape. This helps reveal commercial opportunities and relationships, which is an essential step in establishing and strengthening regional and global presence.
  • Assess potential investments. There’s a rapidly growing appetite for investment in the education sector, which has proved to be one of the most resilient industries. At the same time, more education companies are using acquisitions as a way to scale. We work closely with our private equity and corporate clients throughout the transaction cycle. Our support ranges from identifying attractive companies to performing commercial due diligence, as well as increasing portfolio company value growth and providing exit support.
  • Define winning strategies. We help clients transform insights into actionable, tactical initiatives that are in line with their goals and objectives. We accomplish this by conducting deep-dive market assessments, using powerful analytics and combining an understanding of local markets with an awareness of global trends in the education industry.
  • Evaluate key areas for potential growth. We assess opportunities for clients aiming to increase their offerings via expansion into adjacent education subsectors such as edtech. With our understanding of the education industry size and its magnitude, we also help clients create business plans for new opportunities, taking into account specific objectives and priorities.
  • Create value from the ecosystem. We tap into our partnerships across the education network — in innovation, talent, capital and impact. Our deep global network puts us in a unique position to support our clients in strategy development, private equity investments, mergers and acquisitions, and other areas.

global education practice

Success stories

We have helped clients achieve growth and strong returns on investments via growth strategies, site feasibility assessment, transactional advisory services and more. Here are a few of our success stories:

  • Dual curriculum market strategy for a school operator. A prestigious British school engaged us to evaluate and identify high-potential cities across China for a possible dual curriculum endeavor. We provided a detailed market assessment and competitive landscape for each city. Then we prioritized the most attractive cities to enter and created a differentiated proposition for each market.
  • Digital strategy for a business school. We used a three-step approach to help a renowned European business school build its digital strategy. First, we assessed the school’s existing digital initiatives. Next, we conducted in-depth primary and secondary research on digital best practices specific to student recruitment, student engagement and community building. Finally, we prioritized the most effective digital initiatives for our client’s efforts to improve student outreach and sales conversion.
  • International student acquisition for a university system. The higher education institutions of a European country sought our help in finding ways to recruit more students from East Africa. Working closely with the country’s embassy in Africa, we examined the market landscape and student outflow mobility from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Next, we evaluated the country’s competitive positioning as a study-abroad destination. We followed up by identifying key opportunities and partnerships, and then put together a detailed go-to-market strategy.

How do we help clients achieve high-impact results?

Learn about how we can help you with your Education needs.

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