Getting the K-12 system right is critical to a nation’s development. When primary and secondary education are successful, that can drive powerful social change with the ability to create the leaders of tomorrow. However, improving capabilities and outcomes requires strategic focus and timely interventions and improvements from both the private and public sector.

Providers have struggled to keep pace with demand. Some have grown their networks, only to bump up against shortages of qualified teachers. Others face dwindling enrollment, often a result of declining birth rates in the localities they serve. Then there are state and local regulations, rapidly evolving standards, and the ever-present issue of access. Last but not least are the needs of parents and students, which can vary significantly from one community to another.

L.E.K.’s Global Education practice team has extensive industry experience across the primary and secondary educational market — advising operators, investors and foundations. We help our clients by providing them with relevant research and strategies for deploying their resources to achieve optimum success.

How we help

Our clients include public, private nonprofit and private for-profit K-12 school operators. We also work with providers of ancillary services (such as educational courseware and testing services) as well as private equity investors targeting the K-12 industry.

Across the board, we take a bottom-up, data-driven approach to identifying opportunities for sustainable growth — at home and around the world. Clients engage us to:

  • Decide what kind of school to create. This involves laying out the programs, facilities and staffing that a community needs and can support, all based on sound data and analysis. We can also help you make enrollment and financial projections, as well as arrive at effective strategies for pricing and technology.
  • Expand your market footprint. We can help you understand a given locality’s regulatory, talent and competitive environment for K-12 education. From there, we can assist you in developing a go-to-market strategy and operational model that deliver against cost, revenue and profit objectives.
  • Find ways to grow/accelerate enrollment. We work with you to craft a differentiated value proposition, customize it to parent and student needs, and use it to attract families with global education aspirations. We can also support your efforts to develop scalable options via independent investment (including acquisitions) or public-private partnership.

Success stories

The following examples illustrate some ways we help clients create value in primary education:

  • Expansion opportunities for a K-12 provider. We helped this prominent Brazilian educational group map out their expansion, both across the country and throughout Latin America. We began by identifying the most attractive markets, given our client’s business model, objectives and local market conditions. Next, we developed a go-to-market strategy for each priority area along with a customized solution of K-12 offerings, learning systems and technology.
  • Transaction support for a global education company. A Shanghai-based school operator with an international curriculum had caught the interest of our client, a global education company. To help our client make an informed decision, we assessed the target organization’s market position, benchmarked its schools against competitors and surveyed parents to understand their preferences. Then we assessed the potential for the target company’s schools to gain market share, revenue and profitability. Finally, we pinpointed synergies between the target schools and our client’s existing portfolio.
  • Supporting a GCC member with school regulatory policy. The Global Education practice supported a GCC education regulator in revising its approach to fee regulation within its K-12 market. Our work included a detailed historical review of how the market had evolved; extensive stakeholder feedback from parents, operators and investors; and development of workshops to short-list potential options for change.

How do we help clients achieve high-impact results?

Learn about how L.E.K. can help you with your Education needs.