Since last week’s post, I’ve been thinking a lot about business models.
Apparently, other people are also discussing new business models in higher education. Building on Jeff Selingo’s interesting post from earlier this week, I was thinking that another possibility might be to create a flanker brand (defined by casestudyinc.com: “A flanker brand is a new product introduced by a company in addition to its existing brand in a particular market category. The new flanker brand can be of a different variation (or size, type etc) of the existing brand. In essence, a flanker brand is a logical brand extension within the existing product category.”) with the online content.
Essentially an online university paired with an on-campus university. Same content, different experiences, different names. However, they would have “MIT inside” (or Harvard, or a variety of other educational institutions).
This way, someone that wanted a top-notch, fully on-campus experience – and could get into one of these schools– would do so. However, the many people that also want a top-notch education and do not desire the on-campus experience – but could still qualify for admission – might opt for “the other” Harvard or MIT experience, done totally online. And, while the content would be essentially the same, the on-campus and online university experiences would be vastly different, hence the “need” for different university brands.
The two different brands would easily identify to recruiters that both sets of students/graduates are ace students, but earned their degrees under very different circumstances and are therefore not exactly the same “product.” Neither would necessarily be “higher quality” than the other.
Such a model would allow the main universities to maintain what they do on campus with little interruption and provide an invaluable service to the thousands of students desiring very high quality content at a significantly reduced price. The universities would also be able to offer "just courses" without certificates or degrees. And we would be giving businesses worldwide the highly educated workforce they need ... and more than a few very successful entrepreneurs.
What do you think? Would this work? Pros? Cons?