A Fight Worth Having


I started a fight on LinkedIn last month. And I’d do it again. And this article for educators and by educators is exactly why.


What was the fight about? I had the gall – the absolute temerity – to tell higher education marketing executives that they need to look at prospective students as…are you ready?…customers!


They lost their minds. How could we possibly treat this institution of higher learning as a business? If we look at students as customers, then aren’t we turning education into a commodity?


My answer to their questions: In order to survive and it already is.


As this insane insider vs outsider battle raged, I read the attached article. It has helped me understand why we have this problem of understanding. We do speak different languages and more and more schools are making it more difficult to communicate across this chasm.


This article focuses on the concept of Chief Business Officers at colleges and universities. I focus on the concept of Chief Student Officers.


Higher Education exists to serve – students and society, business and industry – and the best way to do that is to focus with laser intensity on the audience you are serving. Professors (tenured all the way down to adjuncts with a few hours per semester) have a job. It is to teach you. That would make you, the student, the customer. Whether schools like it or not. Indeed, I would argue that students require a seat – or at least a voice via delegate — at every decision-making meeting at every institution. It is the only way to make sure our interests are being served, our voices are heard, and our future is in the right hands.


So, here’s the takeaway: when you review prospective schools – whether you are just starting out, seeking advanced training or going back to school to start over or change careers – try to consider BOTH the value of quality of education AND where you fit. If you are not being treated as a highly valued customer in what will likely be one of the two largest investments of your life, maybe you should consider additional options.


That’s why we built www.WhatsBestforMe.com – to help you inform schools about what you need and want from them. You do it when you order a pizza, why not the basis of your career?





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An active investor and strategist in the business of higher education, Jay is also a visionary developer of real estate. His “Virtual Adjacency” concept predated the rise of smart devices and foretold the interconnectivity we all enjoy today.

Barry Layne is a pioneering digital management and marketing executive. He was founder and global head of Ketchum Communication’s worldwide digital media businesses; COO of ArtistDirect; Executive Vice President of National Lampoon; Senior Vice President of About, Inc.; and Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of FasTV.com.

After retiring as president of the University of Indianapolis in 2005, his second post as president of a college, Jerry was temporary president of Lambuth University. He continues to provide strategy consulting services to a number of colleges and universities. He wrote The 75 Biggest Myths about College Admissions (Sourcebooks, 2008) debunking many of the misconceptions students and their families hold about selecting and entering college.

Joe conceived the Company’s strategy and is the principal founder. Previously he was chairman and CEO of Andrew Jackson University (AJU), an accredited for-profit degree granting university. While at AJU he cofounded and spun off ProctorU, now the world’s premier online exam proctoring organization. A longtime entrepreneur, Joe started in the investment industry, acquired his first company in 1974, and followed that acquisition by founding multiple online-related companies. He is a published author (Dow Jones- Irwin) and has been designated Distinguished Lecturer by the Graduate School of Business, Florida Atlantic University.