Overview

For the first time in human history, say researchers at the Brookings Institution, fully half of the world’s people are middle class or wealthier. Meanwhile, over at the Pew Research Center, a survey of 39 countries reveals that three out of four people use the internet. Ready for one more statistic? According to a UNESCO-sponsored report, the global population of college students has more than doubled since 2000.

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.’s Global Education practice serves public, private nonprofit and private for-profit educational institutions. We also work with investors and foundations that are involved with the education industry.

From Botswana to New Zealand, China to United Arab Emirates, Poland to Paraguay, our 100-plus education consultants travel around the globe to meet with educators, investors, operators and philanthropists to scout out markets. We’ve led multiple on-site engagements in all education segments: early childhood, K-12 and higher education. We also have 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 600 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, increasing portfolio company value growth and providing exit support.
  • Define winning strategies. We help clients transform unique insights into actionable, tactical initiatives that are in line with their goals and objectives. We accomplish this by conducting a deep-dive market assessment, using powerful analytics and combining an understanding of local markets with 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. We also help clients create a business plan 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.

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Success stories

We have helped clients achieve growth and strong returns on investments via growth strategies, site feasibility assessment, transactional advisory 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 helped this renowned European business school build a digital strategy through a three-step approach. 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. A European country’s higher education institutions 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. After that, 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.

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