Companies come and go and mergers and acquisitions happen – more in education than I think most people expect.
Education, I find myself saying this all the time, is a real, very large and very active commercial market. And one company, Modern Campus, proved it well recently – its mere activity as a corporate entity is attracting attention in any market. By my count, in the past 12 months, Modern Campus has gobbled up five education companies.
The gobbler, Modern Campus, describes itself as an “engagement platform” that “powers solutions for non-traditional student management, web content management, catalog and curriculum management, engagement and student development, conversational text messaging, career paths, and campus maps and virtual tours.
Goodness. That’s a ton.
It’s unclear if Modern Campus is offering these services now because they went on a shopping spree or these things throttled the acquisition engine. The volume and pace were impressive. Either way, what they are doing is a testament not only to the vitality of education as a business – this business can come and go – but to the real demand for educational services that may be looming in the future. horizon.
First, the movements.
Last March, Modern Campus acquired ncCloud, a provider of interactive campus maps and virtual tours. In June, it announced that it had taken over academic catalog and program management provider DIGARC. Modern Campus added Presence, a leader in student engagement and development – also in June. Last January, it secured Signal Vine, which it describes as a “higher education text messaging” provider. A few days later, he announced that he had also taken on Augusoft, which provides software for ongoing management and workforce enrollment.
Personally, I hope Modern Campus lawyers scored a bonus. It’s like they deserved it.
Talking about the growth of mergers and acquisitions, Brian Kibby, CEO of Modern Campus, said what you expect from a CEO on a buying spree. “We are thrilled with these acquisitions and the growth of Modern Campus, and we are extremely proud of how they allow us to better serve the higher education sector. We want to enable every corner of every institution to deliver the personalized student experience that today’s learners expect.
Kibby believes that personalized student attention is essential not just for Modern Campus, but for higher education in general.
“We live in a world defined by hyper-personalization and same-day everything. Companies like Netflix, Uber, Amazon, and DoorDash are setting consumer expectations, and today’s learners expect a similar experience from their institutions,” Kibby said. “Learners today don’t want to search for the right services and programs for them, they want this information to be front and center. They don’t want to spend hours trying to create a class schedule that aligns with their work schedule, they want the school to provide it for them. This personalization model reduces barriers to learner success because it allows them to focus their time and energy on their learning. »
He also believes that the focus on personalizing the administrative side of education will be crucial in current and near-term pressures on education such as projected declining enrollment due to shrinking demographics. And he and his company are clearly betting — investing heavily in the idea — that not only are they right, but the schools are on board.
We shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out if the modern campus approach is the right one. And if a company is positioning itself for the conditions ahead, it’s definitely time to prepare, as the projected drop in enrollment is only a few years away – a steady decline in the overall pool of first-year college students. college age, experts say. by the economic pressures of 2008 and 2009.
The need arises because it is true that many schools will be looking for help to cope with declining enrollment and corresponding revenue at a time of skyrocketing costs and expectations. They will indeed want expert advice, new strategies and internal efficiencies. They could probably do it alone, of course. But in what will be an increasingly competitive, even existential landscape for the next decade or more, schools that find advantages will be advantaged.
“We strongly believe in the importance of lifelong learning to the future of higher education, and we are making acquisitions that enable all colleges and universities to make these essential offerings available,” said Kibby said.
They are definitely making acquisitions – five in a year.
That Modern Campus has been so active speaks to the seriousness of the challenge as well as the viability and dynamism of the education market. Neither topic gets enough attention.